It’s going to be a tough job, that, selecting the side that takes to the field on Saturday to face Hull Ionians in the opening round of the National One 2017/18 season.
Going to be a tough old season, too…for the supporters as well as the players if it all goes to plan. Fortunately, I gave up playing the guitar years ago as I’m not convinced I’ll have much in the way of finger nails left come next April.
And it all kicks off on Saturday.
A few of us have been mulling over the team these last few weeks now, adding a player here, removing a player there depending on how the team has performed in each of the pre-season friendlies. At training we’ve swapped thoughts, given reasons as to why it’s Fenner not Maisey (thanks Sam!) and Tolmie not Nilsen one week and explanations as to why we’ve backtracked the week after.
To me, it’s always one of the most enjoyable aspects of pre-season, deciding on your side after weeks of deliberation, wondering how it will compare with the one eventually selected for that opening league game. And usually there are a fair few differences between the two.
With so much competition for places, there are going to be some interesting names failing to make the players’ coach on Saturday. There will be some disappointed players that’s for sure and one of the many tests for the coaches in the weeks is whether or not they can turn a player’s disappointment into a renewed energy and a desire to break into the team and make the position his own. That healthy competition for places is vital if standards are to remain at levels high enough to compete with the best teams in the league. Good man-management is going to become increasingly important now the season is starting for real.
However, I still think there’ll be a fair bit of rotation in the first half dozen games before the side starts to have a more settled look about it and I reckon the team to face Moseley next weekend will have a somewhat different look to it compared to that of this week’s.
Not massively so, but I think the coaches will see Mose as one of the really big challenges at home this season, if not the biggest given the local rivalry, and they won’t want to reveal too much to Moseley by picking the same, or a very similar side, the week before.
Or maybe not…either way, we won’t have to wait too long to find out now.
Today’s post is your opportunity to pit yourself against the coaches by selecting your own starting XV for Saturday’s trip up to Brantingham Park. Your selections will also be added to everyone else’s to provide a ‘Blog XV’ which will be the team made up of the most popular selections in each position.
Anyone who has taken part in previous polls will know the format – just vote for your choice of players in each category by clicking on the white circle against their name, taking into account the number of selections you can make as indicated at the top of each category.
It’s that simple.
In the front row and back row categories, I’ve added a number in brackets against the names of some players to indicate their preferred position in the case of the props and wing forwards, just to make life a little easier.
I’m hoping I haven’t missed anyone out – if I have please do let me now asap. I’ve also included Kwaku Asiedu and Cameron Gray from the Development Academy as both have played in the senior squad in the last couple of weeks…there should also be a space to add an alternative name not in that particular category, should you feel it appropriate.
Some names appear in more than one category.
For instance, there might be a difference of opinion over James Stokes, with some choosing him at 15 whilst others might follow RW’s lead from Saturday and want to play Tony Fenner at full back and put James out wide. Others might still prefer Rob Knox in the centres, instead of out wide. And so on.
Hope that all makes sense.
If RW decides to pay Nile Dacres or Tom Jubb in the back row, then I’m scuppered, but then that would also be true of 99% of those taking part.
The bench will be made up of the best of the rest – ie the next most popular choices in each position, allowing for a 3:2 split in favour of forwards and players who can cover a range of positions (as in in the case of those outside of the specialist front row replacements).
I’ll leave the polls open up to the end of Thursday and put the team in Friday’s post to coincide with the official team announcement.
It’s only for fun obviously and to help pass the time until the team is actually announced – and in fairness, Nick Walshe was very interested to listen to supporters go through their own starting XV at training last week, something RW has done in the past too. I know it’s not for everybody, but these polls always create a bit of interest,so please do give it a go if you can spare a few minutes over the next couple of days.
Many thanks in advance,