Hudgell wants improvement in Hull KR discipline after ‘wasted year’

Neil Hudgell has pulled no punches when it comes to assessing Hull KR‘s 2014 campaign, with the club chairman branding it a “wasted year”.

Hudgell believes that there were plenty of mistakes made by the club over the last 12 months or so, not least when it came to preparation and discipline.

“It’s been a wasted year, without doubt,” he told the Hull Daily Mail.

“Both Widnes and Castleford, clubs of our size have shown what can be achieved with the right approach, preparation, and attitude.

“I’ve done ten years as chairman now, so I think it’s time to say that’s a line in the sand.

“We have achieved the position of becoming an established Super League side in that decade, now we start again and look at how we can move forward from here.”

Hudgell is clearly angered by the various lapses in discipline which occurred at the club, especially in regard to alcohol.

Jonny Walker and Wayne Ulugia were both released from the club after incidents involving going out drinking, while rumours of gambling have also emerged from behind the scenes.

With more application, Hudgell feels that the players in place at the start of the year should have made the play-offs, and maybe the top five.

There will also be a renewed focus on discipline and testing and tough pre-season preparation.

“I still believe that had we applied ourselves consistently enough we could have done that,” he added.

“We had poor luck with injuries and some tough calls, but 90 per cent of the blame for not performing falls at the door of the playing group.

“Once you have half a dozen players who cut corners, are not prepared to sacrifice going out on the drink, and not do the extras, you are going to be in bother.

“I have to say, and I am not going to pull any punches, there was some dishonesty within the playing group last year. Not all I hasten to add.

“We have some very good pros. Just a few who brought the rest down with them. Too many words not enough action, certainly not of the right kind for me.

“I was sick of reading messages of apology to fans on social media, and then following it up a few weeks later with the same things. Fans sense that too, and they haven’t been fooled by any of it.

“It is the first time since we made Super League that they have turned on some players and performances. That’s probably the most worrying aspect of our failings this year.

“We are a loyal club, and it takes a lot for our fans to turn like that.

“We actually rewarded failure last year. Weekends off were given after the loss in round one of the cup, and again at the end of the year, when the players disappeared off even before the play-off series began. That won’t happen again.

“I think our pre-season was poor and soft. We fell away in the second half in way too many games. Some of that must be down to basic fitness. I expect less emphasis on sports science, and more on hard graft.

“The sunshine of Tenerife for pre-season is unlikely to be repeated.”