Preview: Perkins calls for more from Stags ahead of Knights clash

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Barrow Raiders at Pennine Way. Picture (c) Kevin Read
Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Barrow Raiders at Pennine Way. Picture (c) Kevin Read
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Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins has warned his players that they need to improve their skill level if they are to get the better of York City Knights at Pennine Way on Sunday.

Looking back at his side’s 38-10 defeat to Barrow Raiders last weekend, Perkins said: “I thought we battled hard last week and showed character when times got tough, but again we probably conceded a couple of soft tries and turned over too much ball and that made our job a lot harder that it was already going to be.

Our skill level has got to be a bit better to give ourselves a chance of competing against those better teams

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins

“The better teams make you pay and that’s what we’ve got to improve on. Our skill level has got to be a bit better to give ourselves a chance of competing against those better teams.

“We were our own worst enemy at times but we only conceded six tries overall which isn’t too bad considering we defended for long periods. We showed a lot more desire and character in defence, which is what we lacked a while back.

“This week is another big challenge for us, they’ve got a couple of outside backs from Castleford, which has given them a bit more out wide.

“But again we’ve got to focus on our completion rate, which has to be a lot better. Our defence hasn’t been too bad but you can’t tackle for long periods because you end up leaking tries no matter who you are.”

Brooke Broughton is doubtful with a leg injury but James Woodburn-Hall is likely to return for Hemel.

The Knights, meanwhile, had a good win against London Skolars last week. Coach James Ford said: “We were good in contact and our kicking game continues to improve.

“As a group we identified that we could have been a little more cohesive on our edges and we’ll be looking to be much more clinical this week.

“Hemel go really well at home and the tight field suits their style. We’re expecting a tough game.”

Ryan Mallinder and Pat Smith are unavailable but Brad Nicholson, Micky Learmonth and Kris Brining are included in the squad.