HEAD coach Tim Rumford has begun bringing new blood into Heworth ARLC from outside of York - in a bid to change the "losing culture" at Elmpark Way and help the local starlets in the ranks.
The Villagers, after several years in the doldrums, were hoping for significant improvement this year but last week's 50-20 reverse against Woolston Rovers was their fifth loss in seven in National Conference League division three outings this season - and seemingly the last straw for Rumford.
The former Castleford academy coach insists the long-term aim is to bolster the talent in the Minster city but believes he has to look outside the area to do so. He has now signed Leeds-based former Bradford and Castleford acadmey player Matthew Harding, who has semi-pro experience at Hunslet and Gateshead, and Matthew Fox, a utility pivot also from Leeds, and he says more could follow. Jonny Payne, from Cas, is already a key man at Elmpark Way.
"We want to look after players coming through but getting good hidings every week is not the environment to develop anyone," said Rumford, whose team have not shipped a half-century of points three times already this term.
"We need to get experience and ability around them to help them.
"The coaches here at under-16s, 17s and 18s level have clearly done their job well and it's our responsibility to make sure these players have the environment in the first team where they can come through without it being backs to the wall every week.
"We've conceded 110 points in our last two home games. There's no hiding from that - it's not good enough.
"I think at Heworth we've got a mentality or a perception that it's all right to lose. It's not all right. You can tolerate losing but there are too many people here who accept it too easily. That's not me or the coaches and there is a group of players that understand what we're trying to do but there are not enough like-minded players so we're having to look outside the York area.
"This is a short-team measure to protect long-term goal of developing good players and a good squad.
"It's disappointing we have to look out of the area but there's only so long that you can keep going at the same level. We need to bolster the squad to be fair to everybody.
"We have got a core of really good, committed, honest players. To be fair to those lads and the young emerging talent coming through the juniors, I feel obliged to bring in some experienced, good players to help them and to do them justice."
He added: "We've got good facilities. The committee have also recently built a wrestle room, a padded room to do contact training sessions, and players have raised a lot of the money for that, which is great.
"I don't think we're far off. We're maybe short of two or three quality players in key positions that would allow us to compete with the top teams in our division."
Heworth have no league game this week but instead entertain neighbours New Earswick All Blacks in a friendly tomorrow night, kick off 7.30pm, where they will field newcomers and potentially have a look at 'A' team players, too, as the second string have no game either.
Meanwhile, All Blacks, whose Pennine League campaign is over, will use the game to blood some under-18s ahead of their next winter season and to warm up for their York & District Cup semi-final atYork Acorn next Wednesday (6.45pm).
Acorn, who got back to winning ways in NCL division one last week with a rare away victory at Dewsbury Celtic, also have no game this Saturday.
Acorn 'A' go to Milford Marlins 'A' in the Yorkshire Men's League premier division.