Thursday, 23 June 2016

Sunday's Coming: Hemel Stags

We're loving Hemel's new mascot.
It’s not a good year for Hemel Stags, sitting, as they do, stone cold last in League one with just a single win under their belt.

In the eleven games so far, they’ve shipped 526 points, which clocks in at around 48 points per game on average - making last week’s 62-4 pounding at Barrow slightly worse than an average week. 46-0 down at at half-time, Hemel fluttered briefly through Harrison Brough's try at 56-nil, but merely provided a bit of a speed bump as Barrow seem to have got their season into gear.

Hemel’s win came back in April down at SW Scorpions and, when you look at their performances against fellow developmwnt side, they do have a few points in them (They scored 28 in defeat at Hunslet - their highest tally of the season).

A cursory glance at the Stags 2016 squad shows its development credentials weith players signed from RL hotbeds of Northampton, Leicester, the armed forces, Bedford, Southport and Philadelphia.

It puts quite a bit of emphasis on half back Chad Isles who has NSW Cup experience with the Canterbury-Bankstown bulldogs and fellow Aussie/Maltese international Kyal Greene, previously of CRL Group 6 side Oaks Tigers (which, for you anoraks, is about 40km North West of Wollongong).

If Troy Perkins is looking for a crumb of comfort from what looks to be a bit of a consolidating/rebuilding season after losing half a team to the predatory London Skolars, it’s this:  the Stags conceded fewer points at Toulouse then Keighley - and lost there by a smaller margin.

Hornets come into this weekend’s game on the back of a gnarly, hard-won victory at underperforming Newcastle ThunderFalcons. One change for sure will be to fill the hole left by the departure of Joe Philbin. Dubbed by many as ‘this year’s Joe Greenwood’, the Wire DR utility has put in some sterling performances for Hornets this season - but he’s been snapped up this week by Bradford Bulls to bolster their run at the Championship qualifying 8.

Indeed, with the 8s looming in League 1 too, it’ll be all heads switched on to avoid a potential banana skin at Pennine Way. And with York sneaking above Hornets on points difference last week, it’d be useful to rack-up a few while we’re down in Hertfordshire.

Whilst we appreciate that it’s a fair trip down the M1 - and it’s the third consicutive away trip - if you can get down there on Sunday, please do. The support at Newcastle last week was tremendous and it does make a diference. Bring your singing voice and your flags - and let’s ‘ave it.