- Matt Peet talks pre-season, squad numbers, fixtures and more.
- Head Coach also provides an injury update on Oliver Partington and Zak Hardaker.
- Peet: “It feels like a squad with depth, as well as some fresh class and talent.”
With the first few weeks of pre-season done Head Coach Matt Peet discusses how preparations have been so far as well as much more.
“I’m really enjoying it,” he said. “The lads seem to be applying themselves, working hard, forming good connections, both players with staff and players with one another. It’s been as good a start as you can have three or four weeks – I don’t think it really feels like a grind yet but the players might say different.”
The Warriors recently announced their 2022 Squad numbers, something which Peet feels shows their depth: “It’s certainly a clean slate, I think some of the numbers given out are a reflection on last year, some are looking forward to this year but I think what it does represent is how much depth we have. Quite a lot of our younger players have played 40 or 50 games already, you’re looking towards our 20-30 numbers and there’s players there who are well established.
“It feels like a squad with depth, as well as some fresh class and talent.”
He added: “There’ll be competition for places, I think squad numbers aside it’s clear that in that forward pack this year, with the additions we’ve made and those players growing in maturity, there’s an expectation that they’ll be fighting for positions which can only bring the best form out of those lads.”
“I feel the excitement, the players are talking about it, it seems like there’s a good atmosphere in the place and how we’ve been out and about – it feels like there’s anticipation about the season. It’s building gradually, we are concentrating on the day-to-day tasks but with one eye on what is an exciting season ahead.”
Peet is particularly looking forward to the back-to-back games in France and the opportunities the trip poses. He said: “We’ll go out and stay out and I think fans have got the opportunity to do the same thing. It feels like something new, it’s exciting, players will get to spend some time with one another, it’ll give us some good time on the training field but most importantly we need to go over there and perform – twice.”
Warriors Unite is a programme where the players and staff go out into the community at the end of each week to give something back. The initiative is something that the Warriors boss is keen to get everyone at the Club involved in: “We said right from the start that this year, obviously we’ll have goals on the field but we need to be about something bigger than just the performances at the weekend. We want to make our mark on the town and that’s got to start with us getting out amongst the fans, amongst the community clubs, schools and building some good relationships and connections.
“So players have been out and about on Friday afternoons, hitting eight to ten venues every week and hopefully the players are leaving a good impression on the people that they’re meeting. There’s lots of benefits, our players are out of their comfort zone, they’ve got to communicate, they’ve got to present to different people but only after a good weeks’ training.”
The Warriors will play Newcastle Thunder and Warrington Wolves in pre-season friendlies in January ahead of the 2022 Betfred Super League. On the fixtures, Peet said: “It’s an exciting mix, we expect there may be some players who play a little bit in both games. The stronger team, in general, will probably go to Warrington, with a younger team at Newcastle.
“I spoke about the depth in the squad, there’ll be some experienced lads in both teams and I feel that traveling up to Newcastle, they’re an exciting club, it’s got a good feel about it that game.”
Meanwhile, Peet has given an update on both Oliver Partington and Zak Hardaker.
Partington rolled his ankle following a collision in training. The forward is currently undergoing rehab on the injury and is expected to be back up to match fitness before the start of the season and is already working hard on his recovery.
Speaking on the injury, Peet said: “There was a clash during a skill game, a bit of a coming together, which resulted in Oliver rolling his ankle. It’s a shame for him but hopefully, he can put the work in and we are confident that he will be ready for the start of the season.”
Throughout the current off-season Hardaker has had a return of a previous issue in his neck. He was out for a period midway through the 2021 season due to a slipped disc and the same problem has reoccured. Hardaker has now had an operation and is expected to be fit and ready for the start of the 2022 campaign.
Peet commented: “I am pleased we have been able to get the best option for Zak and for him to attack the season fully fit.”