Joint Team Captain, Lee Mossop, Explains The Workings Within The Team Leadership
With the return down under of skipper Michael Dobson, at the end of last season, speculation as to who would replace him grew as the pre-season drew towards its conclusion, and there will have been a number of senior players who will have been eagerly awaiting Head Coach, Ian Watson’s decision in this respect.
When it came, though, it was, as we all now know, to be a group affair with responsibility shared among the foursome of Weller Hauraki, Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop, and Tyrone McCarthy, with the middle two of these, jointly, being team captains. In order to ascertain how all this is intended to work, I turned to Lee Mossop who had had prior experience of a similar setup at Wigan, when he was one of a group of five senior players who made up their leadership team, under then Head Coach, Michael McGuire.
“Basically, we have a Club Captain, Weller Hauraki, who will be our figurehead and the person who will take on much of our promotional work,” Lee explains. “Then Mark Flanagan and I are joint team captains, so we will try and set standards in order to meet the team’s needs.
“That won’t be down just to us two, though, because Ian Watson has deliberately signed senior players who will all make a contribution themselves.”
With his earlier similar experience at Wigan, Lee was an obvious choice for a significant role in the new Salford setup.
Out on the field, during a game, Lee and Mark just decide between them, according to the circumstances at the time, just which of them will take responsibility of, for example, speaking with the referee.
“With being a front rower, I tend to be going off midway through the first half, while of course there is Weller who is intended to be on for the full eighty minutes, so between the four of us there is always going to be one to take on the responsibility,“ he points out. “In some respects it sounds more complicated than it actually is.”
“The only difference, at times seems to be calling heads or tails at the toss,” he wryly adds.
“I also like to encourage the younger and less experienced members of the squad, by chatting to them during the week in the run up to the game. The whole role is really enjoyable, and it is a privilege to have been given this opportunity.”
There had been some little intimation to Lee, about his taking on such a role, during last season, but then that serious shoulder injury side-lined him and stymied its progress at that time, and it was not until part way through the pre-season that he was formally asked to take on the role.
“It was quite close to the start of the season before it was announced to the rest of the squad,” he reveals, “and then I just felt what a great honour it was to be leading such a great bunch of men. They have all really bought into the system, which has again made it a lot easier.”
Not that it was to be an easy start to the season, with the fixture list throwing up some extremely tough early encounters.
“Anyone can do the job when everything is going smoothly and winning all the games,” Lee reflects, “but we’ve had a tough start to the season. We are not wavering, though, in our belief of how hard we had trained during our pre-season and believe that, in the games we have been beaten in, we were not far off in the majority of them.”
When you look at the matches we lost in those early few weeks, however, they were all games we lost last year, yet we still finished in the top four, so it is quite within the realms of possibility that we can do just as well, if not better, this season.
“Our goal for the season is to do better than last year,” Lee divulges, “so if we want to be up amongst the leaders we’ve got to start beating the teams we defeated last year.”