Watson to prioritise Swinton squad over Warrington dual-reg players

New Swinton coach Ian Watson says the club’s players will have first shout on the shirts this season.

After a difficult off-season, the Lions start their Championship campaign against Halifax on Sunday, and currently have a squad of 21 players.

Last season, the likes of Lee Briers, Adrian Morley and Paul Wood turned out for them as they worked their way back to full fitness, as the Lions were linked up with Warrington through the controversial dual-registration partnership system.

A number of clubs have diluted their agreements over the close season, and it seems Swinton have followed suit.

Watson said: “We have got two young lads in Andy Ackers and Jacque Peet  already signed on loan and there will be more who are available to us.

“But we have tried to build our own squad of Swinton players. The Warrington players will complement that and make us stronger.

“If the boys are playing well week-in week-out we won’t have to use them but obviously if we do they will make us stronger.

“But we want to play our strongest possible side.

“Places are up for grabs. If you are playing well then you will keep your place it’s as simple as that.”

Watson will combine coaching with playing this season, meaning assistant coach Marlon Billy will be in charge of matters from the touchline.

It is a position he has been in twice before when the coaching partners took charge of the team on a temporary basis when Paul Smith resigned in 2010 and Steve McCormack left at the start of last season.

Billy said: “As long as I have been assistant coach at Swinton I’ve controlled things from the sidelines. That’s always been the case and me and Watto have a really strong relationship.

“He just gets on with his game and I take care of things from the touchline. It will be no different this season.”

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