Danny Barton Assesses The Fortunes Of His U16s Squad Over The 2018 Season
With their 56-22 defeat of Featherstone last weekend, the Red section of the U16s squad simultaneously brought down the curtain on their 2018 mini-season, whilst bringing the overall tally of wins to a most creditable seven out of eight outings, with the one loss coming with the visit by the Black group to Leigh.
For Player Development Manager, Danny Barton, this was an extremely satisfying outcome, and just reward for all the work, which he, and his coaching staff, have put in with the players during the build up to, and during the season itself.
“Winning so many of our games has completely surpassed the expectations I had at the start of the season,” he divulges. “The players have really improved from where they left off last year, and we now need to take that forward into next year.”
He is convinced that much of the success has come as a result of the culture which the coaches have engendered within the group.
“It’s all about providing the environment in which to get the best out of each of them,” he believes, “and that is what we try to set up all the time, by giving them little clues and tips of how to go about things, rather than being overly directive.”
Despite such a high success rate, Danny has no difficulty in singling out two of the matches which gave him greatest satisfaction.
“Going up to Newcastle with the Red side, to take on a particularly strong and physically superior home side, was great,” he considers. “We went 12-0 behind, but from that point on the lads really dug in well, and turned that deficit into 40-18 victory.
“Likewise, when the Black team defeated Featherstone, upon their previous visit here, they, too, had had to stand up to some really big players.”
Now that the season has come to an end, the task of keeping in contact with, and monitoring the progress and performances of the players with their amateur clubs begins.
“We had a meeting with them all and their parents, last Monday evening, when we outlined the details of future arrangements, and were overwhelmed with the uptake from them,” Danny explains. “This means that the majority of this U16s squad will be progressing to join the U19s College Academy in six months’ time, for their pre-season training.
“There will be a good nucleus of talent there, some of whom we feel will be capable of progressing into the first team.”
Before then, however, the whole group will be returning at the end of March for their Awards Evening to celebrate what has been a wholly successful season.