Club talk

On the fourth day of Christmas…

leia

RIP _Carrie Fisher

Day 4 of the ‘Coventry’s Most Valuable Player’ poll results and this time it’s 9th place that’s up for grabs.

And you voted for:

Rob Knox.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I think it’s fair to say that Rob Knox was always going to appear in the top 12, the only question being how high up he would figure in this year’s poll given the continuing injury concerns that follow him around  at the moment and the relatively few starts he’s made so far this season.

There’s no doubt that Rob is a firm favourite with the Coventry crowd, a local lad made good who already has 66 appearances under his belt since his arrival at the BPA early in the 2013/14 season from Barkers Butts.

Indeed, Rob even scored in his first game against Cinderford.

When he’s fit, Rob poses a threat to any National 1 side and his 34 tries puts him top of Coventry’s National 1 try scoring list, 5 ahead of Cliffie Hodgson on 29. He’s a powerful runner, with the ability to create spaces and use his speed to beat opposition defences. When Rob scores, he often does so from some distance out and some of his tries are amongst the more memorable seen at Cov in recent seasons – as this clip from the Macclesfield game earlier this year demonstrates (courtesy of YouTube and Camera Shake):

I’ve watched that clip so many times this evening!

Great stuff…

I’m always surprised at just how big, physically, Rob is and for his size he has both strength, as you’d expect, and agility too. And with his size comes the ability to break tackles, something that was very much a feature of his play in the 2014/14 season when he and Will Hurrell did such damage.

IMG_3241For me, Rob seems to be something of a confidence player and having picked up far more than his fair share of injuries over the last couple of seasons, he seems to have lost this a little of late, something that isn’t going to fully return until he gets a fair few games under his belt.

The decision to give him a run out on the wing during pre-season was an interesting one for me, with the coaches feeling that Rob’s distribution occasionally lets him down – out wide this obviously wouldn’t be such a problem. Having listened to Rowland Winter at training sessions, it is clear that he is viewed as a key player in the squad,  one of the few a potential match winners in the side, but one who needs protecting a bit whilst he remains so susceptible to injury…

I’ve always preferred him in midfield, but that is partly for selfish reasons as he’s likely to see far more of the ball there and the more Rob has ball in hand, the more exciting a game tends to be. However, before his last enforced absence, I thought Rob had two good games and I was beginning to come around to the idea of him out wide – for me, though, I just think it’s a question of Coventry being a stronger team with him in the side rather than out of it.

I might be being unfair here, but at the moment I’m not altogether sure we have found our best centre pairing part  – I still hope that Rob might feature there again before the end of the season.

It wasn’t until I looked at the stats (courtesy of Statbunker) that I realised just how disrupted Rob’s last two seasons have been:

Last three seasons by National One appearance -Robert Knox

Competition Club Start Sub CO Off MP MAS T DG C P Points Yellow Card Red and Yellow Card Red Card
National One 16/17 Coventry

Coventry

7 4 5 1 508 200 5 -(0) -(0) 25
National One 15/16 Coventry

Coventry

17 1 4 1258 9 9 -(0) -(0) 45 1
National One 14/15 Coventry

Coventry

29 1 2 6 2161 72 16 -(0) -(0) 80

 

I sometimes look at the present Cov squad and wonder how many of the current batch of players would hold their own in the Championship  – a fully fit Rob Knox is certainly one who would and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s interest in him from clubs in the league above us after Christmas, given that we won’t be going anywhere next season.30 appearances in 2014/15 and just 24 starts and a further 5 as sub in the next season and a half…small wonder that Rob is struggling to find the form of a couple of seasons back.

However, having had a difficult 18 months or so as a result of injury, I would like to see Rob back with us in September and being given the chance to perform as we know he can. The competition for places will be that much greater in the Championship than it is in National 1 and there’s no guarantee he would see regular rugby, whereas if he stays fit then there’s every chance he would with us.

Rob is one of those players who, when he has ball in hand, always creates a stir of anticipation in the crowd. We know what he can do, the hope is that he repeat it each and every time he has some space. For him to appear 9th in the poll having made just 7 starts this season, well under half, is evidence of the belief Cov supporters have in him. 5 tries this season puts him second in the list of leading scorers behind loanee Owain James, one ahead of James Stokes even after all the disruptions to his season.

I would tentatively suggest that a fully fit Rob Knox, having played in most of the games since September, would not only be leading the try-scoring table, he would also be in the top 3 in the poll. Those who haven’t seen a fit Rob Knox are in for a treat when he does finally return to full fitness. Maybe, just maybe, the three weeks of inactivity over Christmas will have been enough to get him back into contention for a place in the next couple of games.

If that is the case, and he remains fit enough to get through the rest of the season, then it will be like signing a new player.

Well done, Rob. Here’s to an injury free 2017.

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