Swinton will be ready for action, says Watson

Ian Watson believes Swinton will be ready for action when the Championship season kicks off next month.

The former Wales international and current Swinton scrum-half has been appointed player-coach for their upcoming campaign

And while the Lions have been dealing with their financial affairs off the pitch, Watson has been building a team for on it.

“Keeping the squad together has been incredibly hard work,” said Watson. “We had nobody two weeks into December.

“We have been patient because we wanted to sign the right kind of person. “We wanted competitive players who will never give up and will always fight for us.

“I’ve concentrated on the pack, because without a decent pack you are not going anywhere in this league.

“We have been training really well and there is a good feeling about the place.”

A squad of 15 players – including Watson – has been signed up, with three more contracts waiting to be returned and a small group of trialists training with the team.

There are five new faces in the squad: Zac Johnson, Anthony Bowman, Luke Menzies, Danny Helliwell and Johnny Brown.

Mike Morrison and Dale Cunniffe have returned after a season playing in Australia while James Brown, Jack Cooper, Darren and Ritchie Hawkyard, Mick Nanyn, Josh Barlow and Kash Watkins are returning from last season.

Swinton will continue their partnership with Super League Warrington but Watson said: “I want to get a decent-sized squad together of Swinton players. Players who are not going to give up that shirt easily.

“Last season we did not have enough of our own lads signed on at the start of the season and we ended up in a sticky situation.

“We lost our first couple of games and ended up playing catch up.

“This time I want our own squad in place so that the Warrington players we can add will be a bonus.”

The Lions coach believes the Warrington partnership will be crucial this season and praised the Super League club for their support.

He said: “Warrington opened their training facilities up for us and I cannot speak highly enough of Ben Lazenby who could not have done more to help us.

“Warrington could have walked away but they did not want to see Swinton go to the wall and that’s a massive positive for us.

“They have helped us all the way with a new physio and a strength and conditioning coach.

“It will be the second year of our partnership with Warrington and I know they thought it worked really well last season.

“This year it should be even better, players know how it works, and the transition should be easier.”

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