Captain Shackley talks 2018

Captain Shackley talks 2018

15th February 2018

The season is just a few days away as Carl Forster and his squad prepare to welcome Oldham Roughyeds to the Recreation Ground this Sunday (18th February) in the opening round of the Betfred League 1 season and new Captain Marc Shackley caught up with Jordan Weir at training on Wednesday night to discuss pre-season, Sunday’s game and what 2018 might entail for the squad.

It was a tough opening to pre-season as we travelled down to the Halton Stadium to take on Super League side Widnes Vikings. Having only travelled down with only 16 fit players going up against a full time professional outfit it was always going to be a difficult encounter. A 62-0 score line at the full-time hooter but Shackley thought the score line didn't exactly reflect the game. "The full-time team, they put everyone for that game and we went with 16, we had a few missing and the young lads played. It was also the first time we had played together. I thought the score line flattered them and it wasn't as bad as it looked." The next fixture saw us welcome Swinton to the Recreation Ground and this time only 15 men were named on the team sheet. "Do or die, we were good but we let it go in the last ten minutes, unfortunately we were players down again."

Injuries saw us have to cancel the scheduled pre-season game against Barrow Raiders and attention switched on to the Ike Southward Memorial Fixture as Workington Town made the short journey to the Recre looking to keep hold of the trophy but an impressive 30-12 victory gave the squad the perfect preparation looking forward to this weekend’s fixture. "The Town game is never a friendly, everyone wanted it and I think that showed in the end as we got the result."Shackley spoke about the pre-season campaign and the challenges him and the squad have had to deal with. "It's been a long pre-season we’ve been in since the start of November it's been tough and the three pre-season fixtures which went okay for us, we competed in them all and they went good for us. Just looking forward to Sunday coming and we will go again. The tough circumstances we had in them games has brought the squad closer and it shows that everyone was willing to put the effort in, to do anything to do win. It shows that if we play 13, 15,16 or 17 we all have a job to do which is to go out there and win."

The squad has a fresh look for the 2018 season, a number of players have left the club including the retirement of club legends Craig Calvert and Scott McAvoy although McAvoy has joined the backroom staff as an assistant coach alongside Carl Forster and Tony Stewart. "The lads have been great, we have a lot of young lads this year compared to the more experience we had last season but the youngsters have been a breath of fresh air, they've come from away and down the road. We've gelled together really quickly and we have a tight bond together, you can see that in the way we train and play." A number of the new signings have seen Marc reunited with former team mates. Callum Phillips, Kris Coward, Jason Mossop have all signed from Workington and played with Shackley for a number of seasons. "They're all good players and good lads, it's great to see they have come here and joined us especially for Kris & Jason signing for their hometown clubs. I've played with both for six years up at Town. To have Kris alongside in the forward pack is great, it's always fun playing with him, he always helps you out so great he's come back." said Shacks.

Shackley has been handed the captain's role for the 2018 season with the retirement of Scott McAvoy after signing a five-year contact to end his career at his hometown club. "Foz rang me through half way through pre-season and asked if I wanted the captaincy. I was chuffed to be asked, I came back not to be captain but to play for my hometown side and to finish my career here but to be giving the captaincy is a bonus. I don't see myself going elsewhere, I've been up to Workington and I didn't fancy the travelling to Barrow so why not commit and stay I'm not going elsewhere."

The season gets underway on Sunday and Marc expects a tough encounter against Oldham. "They're a tough side and they've had some good pre-season results and hammered Keighley last week, They've also gone Dual Reg with Salford. They'll come down the middle and pitch is looking heavy so I imagine that's where the game is going to be played. Looking forward towards the season, it promises to be a tough campaign with everyone playing home and away where as last season some had it easy playing the so called lesser teams at home and travelling to the side they wanted to. Promotion has to be the aim for us this season whether it's finishing top or via the play-offs. The team that finishes top will be the best team and hopefully it will be us." 

Captain Shackley talks 2018