Lokos aim to develop a winning mentality

York Press: Luke Watling, pictured back in his York College days, is in the York Lokos ranks for the start of their new season Luke Watling, pictured back in his York College days, is in the York Lokos ranks for the start of their new season

YORK Lokomotive ARLC kick off their new season on Saturday with coach Simon Moat espousing a new philosophy.

The Lokos began life in 2008 as a joint venture between the former York Groves rugby league team and the York Railway Institute sporting club. The idea was almost to act as an expansion rugby league outfit and bring in newcomers to the sport.

Now, says Moat, the emphasis has to shift towards winning and success on the pitch, starting with Saturday's Yorkshire Men's League group two opening-day derby at home to Heworth 'A' at their New Lane base.

"It's our sixth season now and it's probably time we stood up and got away from the development tag," he said.

"We're more of an established club and starting to win things is as important now as bringing lads into the game and bringing lads through in a development aspect."

They will be boosted this summer by the arrival half-back Luke Watling, the one-time York City Knights prodigy who has maybe fallen off the radar in the domestic game but has been playing semi-professionally in France and has also worked in developing the sport in the South East. Watling joins brother Liam in the Lokos ranks.

Good things are also expected of young forwards Jamie Price, the former New Earswick All Blacks junior, and Jack Turner-Mitchell, who arrived from York RI rugby union team last year.

"The squad is looking okay," said Moat, the veteran former Groves player-coach who has tentatively hung up his boots again but is still signed on as a player "just in case".

"We've had 25 down training on average and a couple of new young players, like Jamie and Jack, have shown up well in pre-season. Luke is also looking sharp, as you'd expect."

Moat has also been cheered by improvement in the three outings so far this year. The Lokos lost at Normanton 'A' in a friendly and to Pennine League club New Earswick in the York & District Cup but they then beat Normanton 'A' in their latest warm-up match.

"We played reasonably well against New Earswick and then had a victory over Normanton, getting better each time.

"Hopefully it will be a good game against Heworth on Saturday. We'll be going with confidence but we know it will be tough. It's a decent division we're in. We're not kidding ourselves. Every game will be a close call."

There are nine other teams in this tier. Lokos play five of them home and away and the other four just once, making for a 14-game season.

"Playing each team is something we would welcome but the Rugby Football League has organised it this way as, taking out (Super League's) Magic Weekend and the Challenge Cup final weekend, there aren't enough Saturdays between now and the end of the season to making it 18 games," explained Moat of the odd format.

The title goes to the table-toppers - there are no play-offs - and there is an option for promotion. Added Moat: "We aspire to be top two."

Meanwhile, York Acorn 'A' go to Milford Marlins 'A' looking for their first win in the Yorkshire Men's League premier at the third attempt.

Scarborough Pirates hope to make it three wins out of three in YML group one as they go to Airedale Cougars.

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