By Dan Senior | Photo by Simon Hall
Head coach Richard Marshall spoke to the media after yesterday's 26-0 victory over Dewsbury Rams. Here's what he had to say.
Richard, that was a great win - how do you assess it?
I felt like that was a positive response to last week. Although we won against Swinton, we weren’t too happy with the manner of it. But, today we ticked a lot of the boxes that I questioned, and we came through the other side. I think Dewsbury are a strong team, and even though they had some young boys in on loan they’re still a good team. But, wow. Those conditions were certainly a leveller, at times but I thought we handled it really well. Our kicking game led by Scott Murrell was miles better than it has been previously. We looked threatening with the ball, and I think we forced six, maybe seven repeat sets, which is something that we wanted to work on. In the first-half we were building pressure for ten minutes on the opposition’s try line and didn’t quite score, but you don’t have to. You have to build pressure and take some energy. There were a lot of positives to come from that.
How do you feel the players coped with the conditions?
Really well. We looked at the game plan in the week, and we came up with something we thought would work. The players evolved as the pitch and the conditions worsened, too. As with anything in life you have to adapt to your surroundings to survive, and I thought our team adapted really well. Our defence, I didn’t see us conceding. Even at the end, they got a couple of lucky bounces off kicks where the ball held up, but Steve Tyrer jumped on the ball on the goal-line. Wow. It was those little moments within the game where we just had more people in the frame. We were on today, we’ve just got to recapture that over the next month.
Was the defence the most pleasing aspect this afternoon?
Personally, yes. We’ve been conceding lots of point from variety of areas, but we didn’t concede any today. I’ll take that, the boys really worked hard in that area. Our forwards manned up and we were solid. They just managed to rattle the opposition. They had Liam Finn coming in and a real strong half-back, so we had talked about kicking game they’d bring. We knew about Rob Worrincy and how strong he is, too, but we nullified all their threats. But, we can’t get carried away. Last week we were only great for twelve minutes of the second-half, and although this week we put an eighty-minute performance together, we’re still not at our best. We handled the conditions and the play really well today. A pivotal moment was our try before half-time, that was an important score. It was probably one of the best we’ve scored, with the ball going through the hands, on the last tackle, and pushing it out wide. In those conditions, our skill level was really good today.
You must be pleased with Ed Barber’s efforts?
He’s just reminded me that last time he got a hat-trick I dropped him the following week! He’s been great, Ed. He’s had some adversity to overcome off the field as his Father passed away. He was a great bloke, and probably the first person I went to after games. He’d give you an honest appraisal of how the team went, and his son, too. But, Ed and his family have come through that and we wish them all the best over the next few weeks. His dad will be really proud of him there, as am I. He didn’t have to play either, but he did and he was outstanding for his team.
How do you feel Reece Chapman-Smith did at fullback?
Good. I thought there were some bright moments. I don’t think it was a day where you were going to see the best out of Reece, or whoever played there, but he did his job really well. He took a lot of pressure of the forwards and took his kick catches well. He’s still a bit raw and naive in a few areas, but he contributed to our success today. Ben Johnston’s got a dead-leg and had to come off the field, so Reece slotted in at half-back. He’s a confident young man, and I feel we’ve got a bright future. He took the opportunity well, and I’m sure he’ll bring the best out in QLT, and vice-versa, over the next few weeks. QLT handled it well, as a true professional, and he’s helped Reece out in a few areas this week. That’s what we’re about – we’ve got a team first mentality where nobody is bigger than the team, including me, and I thought everyone really rose today.
How are the lads looking injury-wise?
Ben Johnston went off with a dead-leg. He’s only just coming back from a three-month lay-off. We threw him in last week and he did a good job, but he struggled on in the second-half today. I saw him limping at half-time, so we kept him warm in the changing rooms and got him on a bike, but it obviously didn’t settle down. Hopefully it won’t be anything too serious. We gave Simon Grix every opportunity, but he wasn’t quite right. He’s got a stomach issue. I don’t think he’ll be off for too long, but we’ll have to see. Shane Grady came off with a bit of a knee strain, and he’s been having some trouble with the knee he was operated on. Because of the changes, I thought our bench coped well today. Liam Cooper hasn’t had a lot of minutes, but he came on and did a good job. Brandon Moore got the most minutes he’s had this year, and he performed well, too. I’ve got a headache in terms of selecting the team, but we’re in a good spot off the back of that performance.