Swinton have endured a tough 2013 so far, with one of the only constants being the reassuring presence of playmaker Ian Watson at half-back.
The Welsh international has even spent time in charge of the Lions this season after the departure of Steve McCormack, in what Watson says was a tough start to their Kingstone Press Championship campaign.
He said, “We lost a lot of players from last year’s squad including the quality of Adam Higson and Tom Armstrong. I feel then that the recruitment at the beginning of the season hindered our ability to build on establishing ourselves as a Championship side.
“Since Gary (Chambers) has come in he has tried to correct this by bringing in quality players who want to fight for the cause such as Jack Cooper, Matt Sarsfield and Craig Harvey, which is helping to build some continuity.”
Watson also explained that the much publicised dual-registration with Warrington took some getting used to – although he is a big fan.
“We have had to find our feet with the new dual reg system. As with any changes at a club there have been teething problems because not everybody likes it.
“I have to say its been a very positive move for both clubs, financially and with building relations. The one problem with the dual reg has been getting continuity in the side, but I believe that would not have been a problem if we had recruited a stronger squad at the start of the season.”
The system Swinton and Warrington have is very similar to what goes on with a number of clubs in Australia, and Watson thinks that taking inspiration from the best in the world can only be a positive for the Lions.
“Warrington don’t pressure the club to play anyone as I know from the short time myself and Marlon Billy took charge. They provide you with their thoughts but the call is with the Swinton head coach, although then again who would turn down the opportunity to play the likes of Lee Briers and Adrian Morley.
“Also Warrington provide us with a lot of access to things players could only dream of having at hand, so in return the club provide them with a development tool for youngsters and also injured first team players who are returning.”
As for the rest of the season Watson says, “As long as the players who come in are going to put their heart an soul into the Swinton club then I believe that we will maintain our Championship status and hopefully push into the play-offs.
“To do this we will also need the Swinton supporters following the club as much as they can so we can create a strong club unity.”
To win tickets to Swinton’s next home Kingstone Press Championship match, against Keighley on Sunday 14th July, click here.
Kingstone Press Cider has teamed up with LoveRugbyLeague to celebrate all things great about the rugby league Championships. For the rest of the season, ‘Championing the Championships’ campaign will put a weekly spotlight on each Championship and Championship 1 club to focus on their most memorable moments, look back at the clubs heroes and reward the loyal fans. Read more.