Academy: Interview with Jason Netherton
We catch up with City of Hull Academy under-19s coach Jason Netherton about preparations for the 2018 season ...
Jason, we’re just over a month into the City of Hull’s pre-season regime, how has it been so far?
“It has been a fantastic start by everyone. We are already way ahead of where we were this time last year. The new intake of players have settled in really well and the second and third year players know what is expected of them and have really set the tone for what will hopefully be another successful year.”
After going on such a good run towards the back-end of the 2017 season, it must have been disappointing to fall agonizingly short of the final after a narrow defeat in the semi-finals. What was your message to the players after that game?
“Yes, the defeat was hard to take after the run that we had put together leading in to the Semi Final against Castleford. We were the form team going into the game but ultimately, we got what our performance deserved. A few crucial decisions that we made during the game let us down but my message after the game was to make sure that we learn from it. That is what the academy is about. I told the players to use that disappointment as a motivation to be better both individually and collectively this year, so that when we are in the same position this year we can handle it better.”
Have you faced any challenges since the start of pre-season and if so, how have you and your players overcome those challenges?
“A challenge that a lot of player have faced this year so far is a loss of weight. This has been due to the volume of training that they have had but also it is down to some food choices made by the players. To combat that we have set up an Academy nutrition page for the player to post meals in on Facebook and we also sit down and eat lunch together twice per week where we bring our own food in and critique each other's choices. We have also started providing the players with cooking classes which will help them with their meal preparation.
"These young players are used to depending on their parents to cook their meals for them and they will eat whatever the rest of the family are eating but as athletes they need to be more proactive with what they are putting in their bodies. It is helping some players but is definitely an ongoing thing for us. The Scholarship team are also buying into what we are doing which is fantastic to see and I know Rob Wilson and Nathan Freer are really happy with them.”
There are a few new faces in training that have been promoted from the City of Hull U16s Scholarship squad, how have those boys settled in?
“The new intake have settled in really well so far. It has been an eye opener for them as they have obviously never had to train with this much volume and at this intensity before but they have all jumped straight in and should be really happy with themselves so far. It's only the start though.”
What are the goals for 2018?
“The goals for this year are the same as every year, to improve. We are striving for improvement both as individuals and collectively as a group. The attitude and effort of my players have never been questioned. We are lucky that they always buy into what we are trying to achieve and that is all that we can ask for. 10 of our player will be spending a large part of preseason training with either Hull KR or Hull FC as a reward for their efforts and I would like to see a few more get the opportunity at some point during the year.”