Kilshaw wants Hornets to be striving for promotion

New Rochdale Hornets coach Alan Kilshaw is determined that his team will be aiming to reach the Championship in 2016.

Kilshaw has been coaching in Australia with the Sarina Crocodiles in Queensland, a club to which he brought success, for the last three years.

“We have to be challenging for promotion,” he said.

“In the long term we want to be getting into the Championship and being sustainable while hopefully developing a core of local players at the club and then adding some real quality players around them.

“In the short term we will just focus on the process which means we have a good pre-season and go week-to-week, putting some fundamentals in place and progressing as the season does.

“We will go short term and set some goals which will remain internal and hopefully achieve those.

“If we can retain the majority of the squad, which we will do, and add a few players to offset the retirements and players that we are going to lose then I will be very confident of improving on last season. 

“When you look at it they were only one win off (the play-offs) and they probably underperformed last year and if they got into the top five anything could have happened.

“I am confident that we can be challenging but you need a certain amount of luck throughout the year with injuries and suspensions.

“I can’t stand here and say that we’re going to get promoted but that will be the aim and we will be having a good go at it.”

Kilshaw is also optimisitc that his experience Down Under will help to drive the Hornets to success.

“I spent a bit of time in Sydney and visited some of the NRL clubs, St George (Illawarra Dragons), Canterbury (Bulldogs) and the (Sydney) Roosters, so I picked up a lot off them,” he explained.

“The (Mackay) Cutters were twinned with the (North Queensland) Cowboys who won the NRL competition and were the benchmark so I picked up some techniques from those clubs.

“On a personal level I developed my man management skills and I wanted to go out there and challenge myself and make mistakes which I can learn from.

“I wanted to find out what works and what doesn’t as a head coach and I have sort of had that apprenticeship now and I’ll bring a lot of what I have learnt from Australia into this group.

“Once I realised I wasn’t going to make it as a player at the highest level then I wanted to be a coach. I live and breathe rugby league, I do a lot of reading on the game, I learn from other sports, I visit a lot of clubs and I’m always looking for that edge.

“Moving to Australian and being the only English coach, or Pommie as they call you over there, that was tough.

“Rochdale are probably at a similar level to Sarina but there is more scrutiny over here and probably bigger expectations because it is a big club. So I would say that it is the biggest challenge I have faced.”

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