Harlequins set for struggle

It was a bold comment to make for his side, but Harlequins coach Brian McDermott has got the full backing of his side, in his prediction that his side could win the Grand Final.nnThe hacks may think it was an utterly ridiculous statement to make, and from a personal point of view, I think it would take something special to make Harlequins a mid-table side to a Grand Final winning side, but captain Rob Purdham has also insisted that the Harlequins will be fighting at the top of the table, not the bottom.nnAnd based on their recruitment, I would say that – from my view – it is very unlikely, and they should prepare for a scrap near the foot of the table rather than at the pinnacle.nnThey may have brought back Luke Dorn to the capital after spending time in the North with Salford and Castleford respectively, to add to their captures of Australian’s Chad Robinson and Luke Williamson, but can this trio really help the cause of ‘Quins?nnDorn was the Tigers’ top try scorer last season and was impeccable in his role; Robinson and Williamson have not really set the NRL alight, and sets the tone that Super League is attracting a stream of average Australians.nnThey have also attracted Ben Kaye and Jason Golden from Super League sides Leeds Rhinos and Wakefield Wildcats.nnKaye is a decent prospect and following the nurturing that the London club have done to aid the likes of Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s chances of England honours, he can expect a similar process.nnAs for Golden, he is not entirely an unknown presence in Super League. Although, he has found it increasingly hard to break into the Wakefield side in recent seasons, when he has, he has performed well above his station and has impressed.nnUndoubtedly, Harlequins are also the ones delving into the National Leagues to add to their squad, following eleven players leaving the club for pastures new.nnLuke Gale and Mick Nanyn join, while Matt Gardner also joins the club from – the then NL1 side – Salford.nnNanyn is proving to be the one player with the most discussion on the forum. His bulky frame has often provided him with the strength and quality to prove a massive hit in the National Leagues, but the question is whether he can maintain it on a much fitter, faster stage?nnOne aspect of Nanyn’s signing that could potentially pay massive dividends throughout the season is the fact that he is a recognised – and a fantastic one at that – goalkicker, which is all important in converting the four pointers into six.nnBut aside from that, it has to be asked whether Harlequins possess enough quality in the middle of the park to turn defences around and provide the platform for both the forwards and backs.nnSuper League is all about building pressure, and if they fail to do that often throughout games, they could find themselves struggling.nnBrian McDermott is an extremely good coach, so I guess we’ll just have to believe him when he says he believes ‘Quins can win the title.nnMark’s Final Position Prediction: 12th in Super League table; Challenge Cup Fifth Round.nnPlayer to Watch in 2009: Mick NanynnnFan’s view:nn The Harlequins’ fans view is written courtesy of Barnaby Shiels-Reddin.nnAfter three full seasons as Harlequins Rugby League, expectation at the club can best be described as “mixed” when looking ahead to Engage Super League XIV. nnOff the pitch David Hughes is back at the helm due to the loss of our CEO and then more recently, our Chairman. It is hard to articulate the fondness and esteem he is held in by fans of London Rugby League, as without his continued support, there would probably be no Super League rugby for us to watch. That said, with a new licence application due in under three years, we need to attract more people to watch the game, something we are sick of being reminded of by our northern brethren. nnOn the pitch, the fruits of nearly 30 years hard work are now being reaped and as such, Quins RL fans can look forward to a season where we will see our two cockney England internationals cement their place as rising stars of the English game, as well as seeing more “local lads” coming through the ranks. nnWe welcome back Luke Dorn, with a certain amount of curiosity, as not many of us are sure what his best position will be this year. When he last played in the capital, he proved an explosive support player as he did last year for Castleford. nnWith regard to our other “new” players, all are considered “workmanlike” and it remains to be seen who shines. nnTo summarise, Harlequins Rugby League has a squad that will be able to stand toe to toe with most teams this year and we as fans fully expect a top 8 finish and a play-off game, probably away from home.

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