KIERON DAWSON is optimistic about Worthing Raiders’ future, with a talented pool of young players coming through the club.
Raiders head coach feels that, with the talent coming through, the club are in a similar position to five or six years ago – but he just wants some more experience to add to the promising youngsters.
After a frustrating recruitment process in the summer, Dawson is confident Raiders will come out on the right side after a difficult season so far.
He said: “We need to get a run of results together. All of the England boys last week commented about how young the squad looked and where are all the senior players?
“It’s a tough period. Losing Jamie Redmayne at the start of the season was a big blow because we’d already lost Matt Miles, Charlie McGowan, Rob Smith for a while and Stan South – players of that calibre you can’t afford to lose.
“We didn’t replace them but we tried our best. I can’t criticise the club, I can’t criticise how we recruited as we talked to players, we brought players down here, we wined and dined them but a lot of it is down to location.
“It’s tough to get to and we’re competing against all these teams in the south. Unless we can give them a package, which we can’t afford to do and I wouldn’t want to do because that’s not to me what the club is about, it comes down to location.
“You look at us and 180 degrees of our catchment area is the English Channel, so it’s difficult but we know this crop of young players we’ve got are where the club was five or six years ago. First and foremost, we’re going to bring them through. There’s plenty of talent here and the England players said that last week so, once they come through, we’re optimistic.”
Dawson had hoped to be pushing for promotion this season but now he is looking more longer-term and said: “It is a bit more of a long term job now. We lost Jamie and then we lost Finlay Coxon-Smith, along with the other list of players, so we had people like James Arthur and myself playing, who have gone to the dark side of coaching.
“There’s a lot of young talented players here and there’s a couple of older players but there doesn’t seem to be those players in the middle. However, in the next few weeks, we get Rob and Finlay back, while Ben Loosmore and Joe Govett will be back available, so they’ll add steel to the team.”
With promising youngsters coming through, Raiders’ link with Worthing College’s rugby academy programme is bearing fruit and Dawson said: “Worthing College are supplying most of the second team. Rob Fogerty was a bit gun shy in his first couple of games but was outstanding against Old Albanian.
“The talent is there, we just need some experience and to get some injured bodies back on the pitch.”
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