New Shaw Cross Sharks captain Dec Naughton says that it will be “a privilege” to lead the club this season.
The experienced forward has been handed the duties ahead of the NCL Division Two campaign, which kicks-off this weekend.
Cross face Clock Face Miners at Shark Park on Saturday (kick-off 2:30pm).
The Sharks have a new skipper in Naughton, and he has called for the squad to pull together after a difficult 12 months.
“I’ve been at Shaw Cross for about ten years now and this is a privilege to step up,” he said.
“We had a bad season last year but hopefully if we’ve got a full team together this season we should come out the back end of it.”
“I’m trying to keep that positivity up, no negatives, because that’s what seemed to let us down last season, everyone being negative and everyone having a say in something instead of just trying to get on with it. I think it’s just about time we pulled together.”
The Sharks also have a new head coach in Mark Barlow, and Naughton says that his arrival has improved things ahead of the new campaign.
“It’s good now that the new coach has come in. He’s brought a bit of structure,” he said.
“We’ve got all the lads turning up now that we’ve got leaders in Mark and myself, and it feels like something is coming back that we haven’t had for a while and hopefully, just before the season starts, we should be there.
“I do know Mark myself and he’s a good rugby league player and he does know what he’s on about.
“But the lads have got to put in the work as well. We’ll see how we go, but I think things will go alright and we should get back up to that Division One next season.”
Following last year’s relegation, a number of young players have come in to freshen up the squad over pre-season.
Naughton believes that they have all done themselves justice, and is positive overall with how their preparation games have gone.
“We haven’t had a full team yet with some injuries and we’ve got a young side coming through, but it’s all positive really,” he reflected.
“We beat Dewsbury Celtic, quite easily to say we had a young side, and against Haydock (in the Challenge Cup) we seemed to get over the top of them but maybe just lacked a bit of experience with the youngsters.
“I feel positive coming out of that game even though we lost, just because we got a feel for it, it’s a new team gelling.
“We’ll see how the season kicks off, but I think everyone who’s stepped up so far has not looked out of place.”
“We’ve got this week’s training before Saturday and hopefully we get some good numbers and can kick-off in winning ways.”
Updated 20:37 - 25 Feb 2019 by Stephen Ibbetson