Leeds Carnegie fans are used to riding the rollercoaster of fortune. Some seasons we are up (in the premiership) and in others we are down in the Championship. In the past we have almost always bounced back immediately after relegation and became something of a yo-yo club. Last season all that changed……
Having committed a substantial sum of money to the acquisition of players for Back and Key the club found that there was little return on the investment in terms of league position. The club’s main backer has decided that the rugby union side needs to be financially self-sufficient and that has meant that we did not bounce back last season. In my opinion last season had all the bounce of a dead cat. We finished the season mid-table and that was largely down to the loanees from our neighbours over the hill.
Pre-season recruitment has been frugal to put it mildly. We are short of props and lack cover at 10. Newcastle, with its AP squad largely intact, has been relegated at a late hour. These facts go a considerable way to tempering our expectations for the coming campaign. Last season was a steep learning curve for Diccon Edwards. We look forward to seeing just how much he has actually learnt from that experience. This season the players that he has at his disposal are all his men and as such we can reasonably expect them to play for him with a degree of passion and commitment.
The addition of a dedicated forwards coach will be a big plus for the team, particularly as Dave Baldwin already has a good reputation as both a player and a coach. Edwards has already expressed his liking for the new setup (including Chris Gibson as DoR) which will enable him to focus on coaching the players.
What of the players themselves? We have a nucleus of young players who have the potential to go far in the game. It was only right that Diccon picked one of them, Jacob Rowan, as team captain for the coming season. Jacob showed last season that he has the skills to lead the side to better things. He will be pushed all the way for the 7 shirt by Chris Walker who was another young player to catch the eye whenever he donned the shirt. There are also the players who signed on last season, such as McColl, Hemingway and Burrows who now find themselves “veterans” after the close season departures. All 3 showed glimpses of their potential and they could have a much bigger impact this time around. Of the new signings Ben Hooper has the pedigree to become a legend – his scrimmaging may well be crucial. Calum Green has Tigers on his CV & the lads from Donny and Pirates will want to make their mark.
My expectations then are that we will be a competitive team. Our defence will improve and our finishing will sharpen. I expect the perceived gaps in the squad to be filled with loanees. Can we win the Championship? We can but it is unlikely. What I expect is what I hoped for last season – progress within the regular season leading to a play-off place. After that anything is possible as we saw with London Welsh last time. Great expectations? Not really. Progress? Hopefully.
Date Joined: Oct, 2011
Location: Sitting Sunny Side Up
Re: Great Expectations Part 1
A lot will depend on our start. We always talk about improving during the season as though all the other teams stand still. I think LW's performance last season shows that others can improve too. We need to start well and then improve during the season at least as well as the other teams improve.
My guess is that we will finish 4th but lose in the play-off semi.
I wasn't born in Yorkshire, but I got here as soon as I could
I hope we can recapture some of Stuart Lancaster's flair for welding together a group of players who then exceed our expectations. There is general agreement that we need to strengthen the props and 10 but I would rather see a steady building of squad than trying for too much too soon.
Agreed, but I think it's fundamental to at least get a solid scrum to give a usable platform for the half-backs and beyond. And a confident 10 will give the backs both options and time.
For whatever reason Joe did not always deliver last season and it would be unfair to even think of giving Joe Barker the backup 10 (?) the nod over him. I cannot believe that there are no other 10s out there that could be approached, even short term. Staunton? Socino?
Date Joined: Jan, 2005
Re: Great Expectations Part 1
Good article TT, next year is going to be tough but the team need to come toether big style. There was a lot of ill-feeling last year which led to massive breakdowns internally and fractured the squad. In the past there was a "Them and Us" attitude when it was them (the other 11 teams in the prem) vs us. Over the past few years the "them and us" culture was something that was internal. Last year this rose to a new level and a lot of people need to learn from this and, in some cases, grow up.
I am hearing more positivity this year and very good things about Dave Baldwin is doing a good job. Our issue last year was that the divisions meant that we, as a squad, weren't pulling together as one, this year needs to be different.
Re fly-halves, I believe Joe is capable of being the best 10 in the league (well, behind Gopperth) and a strong squad and good service from 9 will help. There are not too many top drawer 10's out there, Staunton is leaving rugby and apparently going into teaching and I believe Socino was homesick and wanted to go home.
This year will be tough, no doubt about it, but we need to rebuild from first principals. Last year was an abject failure as was the season prior, this year will be consolidation and next year will be the push....providing finances are in place.
The time for reminiscing is after rugby. Then you can sit down and get fat.
good article tt and i agree with rocky vis flyhalfs
if the front 5 hold their own we will see a different jo ford espicially if he has some power in the centre
dont underestimate the influence baldwin will have-he knows his stuff and understands the prerequisites of forward play
I was as negative as anyone about last season and the impact of DE, but I admit to being intrigued about what the new season will bring. It's a freash start for all involved with the team and i'm full of hope that lessons have been learned and we will see some clear progress being made. A lot of senior players have gone and they were without doubt the players most unhappy with the goings on last season, it is going to be very interesting to see if there is a noticeable difference this negativity had on the squad and whether it was justified or not. Onwards and upwards!!
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