West Wales Raiders’ returning centre Rowland Kaye is hoping he can continue to use the winning mentality he picked up in France to help the club go one step further in their quest for a victory.
The Raiders picked up their first point of the campaign in a nailbiting 24-24 draw with Doncaster on Saturday and Kaye believes it is only a matter of time until one point becomes two.
Kaye played in two out of Raiders’ three games in 2020 before the season was cut short and earlier this year decided to look for a playing opportunity in France. That led him to joining Carcassonne for the second half of their Elite 1 season.
Carcassonne finished top of the league but narrowly lost out to Lézignan in the Championship Final – a game Kaye did not feature in.
“With Covid and everything that was happening here with no games being played I went out to France looking for a chance to play,” said Kaye, who was part of the West Wales team that picked up their one and only win against Coventry Bears in 2019.
“I ended up joining Carcassonne in February, and got four months with them before end of their season.
“It was a great confidence booster for me to get five or six games for them and winning all the games I played in. That really helped me get the confidence I needed so hopefully I am bringing that, and some leadership, back to the Raiders and help push on some of the boys that are here.
“From being on the end of losses over here and wins over there I know what feels better so I’ll be trying to bring that winning mentality back over to the Raiders, especially as we have a fairly young and inexperienced side. I am now classed as one of the more senior players within the squad so hopefully I can help bring that mentality to them.
“Playing in that Coventry game, I don’t think I have ever felt that s/Volumes/Server/COPY DESK/210809 To Set/P 12-13 League 1 News.txtame sense of relief, confidence and enthusiasm again and I know for sure we can put up a good fight in the last four games and push for that win that we all desire.”
As well as Kaye, former favourite Steve Parry has also made a return to the club and made an immediate impact, scoring two tries in the draw with Doncaster.
BARROW RAIDERS coach Paul Crarey was left surprised when he found out he wouldn’t be going up against Gary Thornton when Hunslet travelled to Craven Park over the weekend.
Thornton was sacked by Hunslet last month and replaced with Alan Kilshaw, but Crarey believes 2021 has been a challenge for all coaches so was shocked to see Thornton pay the price for that.
“Hunslet were still a very good side when Gary was there,” said Crarey.
“We had a pre-season game against them and we didn’t win the game until the last 10 minutes. Then when we went there in the league it was locked up until Jamie Dallimore broke the deadlock with a solo try and we broke away a little.
“Gary was very unlucky to get finished there. He did really well under the circumstances. Like everyone else they didn’t get back into training until late, then with Covid sessions were limited.
“Anyone who gets finished with the pandemic still on the go will be very hard done to because no one has had any chance to see what they can do with their top squad available week after week. There has been so much disruption this year that it has been difficult for everyone.”
Barrow went into that game against Hunslet with more Super League experience in their ranks following the signing of Jake Emmitt.
The 32-year-old has made over 250 career appearances during spells with St Helens, Castleford Tigers, Salford, Leigh, Swinton, Keighley and Toronto. He has most recently been playing union with Lymm RFC, and is excited about returning to league action with the Raiders for the rest of the year.
“After Paul rang me telling me about the place, the team and the goals the club are trying to achieve for the rest of the season and beyond, it got me excited about playing again,” said Emmitt.
“I’m hoping I can come in and just help with what the team have been doing already on the field this season.”
HUNSLET coach Alan Kilshaw has one very clear aim in mind heading into the latter stages of the season. And it is one he knows will have a big impact on their end of season play-off push.
Prior to getting the job following Gary Thornton’s departure, Kilshaw spotted one major area of the game he needed to work on with his squad.
“Once the job was available I did my preparation and watched the previous four or five games,” said Kilshaw.
“I identified a few areas I felt needed some improvement and that’s what I got started on when I arrived.
“It didn’t need Craig Bellamy to work out we needed to do some work defensively. We’d scored 44 points at Coventry but lost. So for me that’s an area that needs focus.
“There is no major problem with our attack, but we need to to improve that defence and make sure that gets tightened up for the rest of the season.”
Meanwhile the club have confirmed they won’t take any further action against Zach Braham, who has signed for Doncaster following his release by Hunslet for personal reasons.
“This breaches the agreement we had with Zach and contradicts his reasons for requesting and requiring a release from Hunslet,” read a club statement.
“The RFL have agreed that the conditional release was unambiguous and that it is enforceable. However, under their own rules are powerless to decline a released players registration request by a new club.
“As the only course of action available to the club to enforce the release conditions would be to seek injunctive relief through legal channels, we have chosen to take an alternative course of action and focus instead on Alan and the squad investing our time, energy and limited resources into positively affecting the fortunes of the Myrtle and Flame for rest of the season.”
NORTH WALES CRUSADERS coach Anthony Murray has been delighted with the way his players have responded to a challenge laid down to them last month.
Prior to Sunday’s trip to Coventry, the Crusaders had won three straight matches against Keighley Cougars, Hunslet and West Wales Raiders.
Now Murray is hoping that his squad can further build on this run of good form and cement their position in the play-offs.
“I set the players the challenge of being able to back up those wins,” said Murray.
“We’d not been able to do that this season. We’d win one, lose one, win one, lose one – we just couldn’t back up a win.
“I challenged them to do that and they’ve been doing that. I am delighted by their response and those wins have put our season back on track and in a position to aim for the play-offs. We will continue to work hard to achieve that goal.
“We’ve kept that momentum going and now we just need to focus on performing well. Hopefully that’ll put us in a position to get what we want out of the remaining games.”
DONCASTER saw three new faces make their debuts in the 24-24 draw at West Wales on Saturday with Liam Tindall, Jake Sweeting and Zach Braham all featuring.
Tindall and Sweeting, who has already played for Hunslet, York Featherstone and Castleford this season, have joined on loan from Leeds Rhinos and Featherstone Rovers respectively. Braham has rejoined the club for the rest of the year following his release from Hunslet last month.
A last minute try from Tom Halliday rescued a point for the Dons and coach Richard Horne was left disappointed by the result, knowing that their failure to manage the game was a big factor on the day.
“Overall, the performance wasn’t of the standard that we expect from ourselves.” said Horne.
“Take nothing away from the Raiders, they started really well, they were big and powerful and caused us problems but we didn’t help ourselves. We kept gifting them turnovers and easy field position and from their they bundled their way over.
“We looked vulnerable and fragile every time we were on our line and that’s something we need to look at.”
ROCHDALE HORNETS have strengthened their options in the outside backs by signing Tom Ashton from League 1 rivals Hunslet for the rest of the season.
The Hornets have paid an undisclosed transfer fee for the former Oldham and Sheffield Eagles player, who began his league career with Leigh Miners. The 29-year-old, who has also played rugby union for Preston Grasshoppers, Sale and Scotland under-20s, scored against the Hornets for Hunslet earlier this season.
“Tom is a big, robust, powerful centre who will add much needed strike out wide for us,” said Hornets coach Matt Calland.
“He played really well against us when Hunslet beat us earlier in the season. He’s local and really keen to play for us.”
Ashton went straight into the squad to face London Skolars on Saturday, and was joined by another new outside back in Cain Tyrer, who has joined the club on loan from Newcastle Thunder, while AJ Towse, Myles Harrison and Toby Warren have also joined on initial one week loan deals from York City Knights.
COVENTRY BEARS director of rugby Alan Robinson has never been one to go rushing into short term loan signings for the club.
Bradford Bulls prop Bradley Ho played nine game on loan for the Bears earlier this season and was back in the squad for Sunday’s visit of North Wales Crusaders.
But other than that, loan signings have been kept to a minimum, with Robinson preferring players who are invested in what the club are trying to achieve over those simply looking for game time.
“It’s very difficult when you’re bringing in players from other clubs because you’ve got to find the right person for the club, they have got to want to come for the right reason and they have to buy into to what we want to do,” said Robinson.
“I’m not someone that is going to bring someone into the club just for the sake of covering a position. If someone comes in it’s got to be for a reason and it’s got to benefit all parties.
“That’s always how we’ve used it. We don’t think ‘oh we’re short’ so we need to get someone in on loan. We thought very much about what we need as a club and how we can improve ourselves. When we brought Brad in from Bradford it was based on that, and that was the right thing to do for us.
“When you do that, it does work in your favour then, rather than just having a guy that thinks he’ll just come in and play for a couple of weeks and then leave again.”
WORKINGTON TOWN coach Chris Thorman is confident his squad of players will have used their extended time off wisely as they prepare for one final push in their aim for promotion.
Town returned to action against Keighley on Sunday after a four-week gap, due to numerous Covid-19 enforced postponements.
“Rugby League is the toughest team sport on the planet and you don’t very often get three or four days off, never mind a few weeks,” said Thorman.
“We have used that time off to recover and look after the body.
“Apart from the guys that are still long-term injuries, we’re niggle free.
“Anyone who has watched our games will see how fit we are. Those standards haven’t dropped just because we haven’t been playing. The lads have all been taking care of themselves and they’ll all continue to work this way and hit the standards we set for ourselves until the very end of the season.
“I have also used the time to try and make improvements. It has given us a bit of time to work on our weaknesses, that we might not have ordinarily had.”
KEIGHLEY COUGARS will hold their second Cougar Pride event on Sunday when North Wales Crusaders travel to West Yorkshire.
The club held a similar and successful day in 2019 when the visitors were West Wales Raiders and that was the first time an event of this kind was held in both professional Rugby League and professional sport in this country.
Once again the club will wear a specially designed pride kit, which has been designed by Ryan O’Neill and his husband Kaue Garcia, who are one of only two openly gay sports club owners in the world.
“The club are confident the colourful Pride party we plan to have organised, similar to that of two years ago, around the match will continue to help us in our mission to rekindle the spirit of Cougarmania which helped sweep the team to glory back in the early 1990s,” read a club statement.
“Keighley Cougars have always been known as leading the way and continue to do so, celebrating the movement and supporting the fight against homophobia as shown by the flag worn by the players on the sleeves of this season’s jerseys.”
LONDON SKOLARS coach Jermaine Coleman doesn’t see why the club’s relationship with London Broncos will alter, just because of a change of coach.
Danny Ward left his role at the Broncos last month and was replaced by former Coventry Bears boss Tom Tsang.
Tsang and Coleman already have a relationship in place from coaching in League 1 at the same time and the Skolars man is keen to build on that.
“I’ve spoken to Tom and we’ll still have the same relationship between the clubs,” said Coleman.
“I’ve known Tom for a number of years and I think that will lend itself nicely to that relationship building and we’ll continue to work together when we can.”
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