David Clegg Meets With U19s Head Coach, Garreth Carvell, Who Shares His Thoughts On Saturday’s Away Fixture At Huddersfield
After last weekend’s break, in which the U19s travelled down to South Wales for a friendly match with the South Wales Scorpions, league action resumes this coming Saturday, with yet another away game, this time at Huddersfield.
After a disappointing performance at London, two weeks ago, the quick turnaround from the Bank Holiday Monday to the Saturday, was just what the players needed to regroup and get themselves up for last weekend’s excursion to the principality.
“It was good to get the boys back on track after London,” concedes Head Coach, Garreth Carvell, “which was, by our standards a poor performance.  Quite a few of the lads were disappointed with it; I was especially so.  Therefore having that friendly enabled them to bounce back, and all in all, it was a much better display.”
What made it all the more satisfying was the fact that their opponents, being in the Championship operate as U20s, so for almost the whole of our team they were up against lads twelve months older than themselves.  The one exception, in Salford’s case, was the inclusion of first team squad member, hooker, Matty Wilkinson, who has been turning out recently, in the colours of North Wales Crusaders.
“The extra year meant that we were up against a big pack, rather like we had been the week before, at London,” Garreth explains.  “Matty Wilkinson played really well, and the boys quickly got used to his style of play, and the energy levels throughout the team went up accordingly.
”He has a smartness and good game sense about him, which really made our pack dominate.”
A resounding 40-6 victory was the outcome, but it was the performance overall which had most pleased Garreth.
“It was good to see them producing many of the things we have been practising in training,” he enthuses, “because, so often, they are a little bit over-anxious at using these things in a game.  Consequently, at half time, all the talk was about them chancing their arm and just trying things out, but then being prepared to back up anything which went wrong, with good defence.  That they did so made the trip, down there, all worthwhile.”
Two players who were making their debuts, Declan Hidden and Brad Whelan, both impressed the coaches, but it was the improvement across the board, which Garreth also found gratifying.
With Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield looming up, another tough test against Super League opposition awaits them, though they will be buoyed by the return from injury of Lewis Hatton, Alex Gaskell, Adam Jones, Harry Madders and Jack Cottington, all of whom were missing for the game against London, while the big shoes of Matty Wilkinson will be filled by either Aaron Moore or Connor Adams.
“As long as we play with enthusiasm and energy we are quite capable of coming out on top,” predicts Garreth.  “It has been the energy battle which we have seemed to lose out on, every so often, and winning that is an absolute must for this game.
“ There will be individuals in our side who are looking for a contract with the first team for next season,  others who are wanting to extend their contracts with the Academy, and others who are wanting to get in our starting line-up, so they should all be extremely well-motivated.
”The confidence we got out of last weekend’s game should stand them in good stead because it was quite a physical challenge for them down in Wales.  It was well worthwhile going, and something we’ll probably do again.”
Match Officials:
Referee – Mr N Bennett
Touch Judges – T Ambler, B Darlinson
Venue – DRAM Centre, Huddersfield, HD5 9QJ                  KO 2pm