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York Acorn ‘can find a fix’
SCOTT RHODES is confident his York Acorn ARLC side can fix up the mistakes that have left them yet to get off the mark in the National Conference League premier division – but they will have to do so without their on-field general.
Tom Hill, the team’s “leader” according to Rhodes, broke a jaw in a freak clash of heads during last week’s 26-18 home defeat by Wigan St Patrick’s, which rules him out for six to eight weeks.
The continued absence of prop Davey Burns and a new doubt over half-back Joe Budd (leg) means Rhodes has to rely even more on young guns in his ranks, starting with Saturday’s trip to West Hull, another team with two defeats from the first two games.
“In the two games we’ve played we have been competitive,” stressed Rhodes. “We’re getting in there but probably just making too many errors.
“Our completion rate last weekend was below 50 per cent and we’re struggling a bit in the ruck – we’re giving too much away, which is why we’re not winning. We’re working on these areas in training. A lot is to do with our preparation. If we get focussed, there’s no reason why we can’t go and perform.”
The absence of Hill and potentially Budd will mean a reshuffle which could see veteran schemer Andy Garger start at half-back and Kev Brayshaw also come into the equation.
Rhodes said: “When you look at our squad, there are probably only four or five players over 24. We had Josh Thompson, who’s 16 or 17, playing on the wing last week. We’ve got a really young team, so with that in mind you have to say we are doing well, but we have to improve. We’ll give it our best shot.”
Heworth have a tough task as they seek their second win of the division three campaign at home to Pilkington Recs.
The St Helens side are newcomers to the National Conference but are among the title favourites given their history in North West leagues, and they have begun term with a bang, with three wins out of three and 148 points scored.
New Earswick All Blacks, who could do with a victory in the Pennine League championship, travel to Westgate Wolves with what is hoped to be a full squad to pick from barring the unavailable Sean Malarkey.
All Blacks beat Westgate 16-12 in the opening game of the season but currently lie down in eighth, with only win since December 1, while the Wolves are sixth with games in hand.