Skolars have learnt their lesson

London Skolars centre or winger Iliess Macani believes lessons have been learnt at the club after last year’s season of two halves.

As the 2019 season hit the half-way point, the Skolars were flying high in second place and hopes were high that they would be in the race for promotion come the end of the year. But a dramatic U-turn in fortunes saw them finish eighth, six points adrift of the play-offs.

But with the club this year marking its 25th anniversary, Macani is hoping the players will be celebrating on the field as well.

“We are all working really hard on being better than last year,” said Macani.

“We had a great start last year, but then faded towards the back end of the season. We feel we have learnt from that and we’re all going to try and do better this year.

“Our form in the second half of the season came down to a bit of inexperience. A lot of the players haven’t really been in that situation before, where you have to grind out games and build pressure on teams and be able to dominate. We’ve worked on that and hopefully we can come back better this year.

“Also it was the first time in a long time that we were up at the top of the league and a lot of people weren’t used to that. There was a lot of buzz around and some people got a bit carried away and sometimes stopped focusing on what we still needed to do on the pitch.

“But we’ve spoken about what went wrong last year and we have set out our markers for this year. There are smaller plans that will keep us in check throughout the season and hopefully that will see us build on our performances.

“It’s a big year for the club and we want to go out there and really stamp our mark on it.”

Macani will be joined in the Skolars’ squad by Wales international Dalton Grant, who has signed for the club after leaving Bradford Bulls.

Grant, who has also played for Barrow, Dewsbury, Crusaders and London Broncos, will also work as a community coach for the club until the end of the 2020 season.

“We are really excited to have Dalton onboard,” said coach Jermaine Coleman.

“He has had some fantastic experiences at the teams he has played for and the competitions he has played in. He is going to bring a great deal to the team.

“Our back line will be really dangerous this year. As long as we can play to our strengths, he is going to have a massive impact on what we do this year.”