NEW Coventry Bears director of rugby Alan Robinson says his side took valuable lessons despite tasting defeat in Sunday’s trial outing against Keighley Cougars.
Zak Fellows and Leon Harber both scored tries in the 68-10 loss – with Bradley Clavering converting the latter for a youthful Bears side.
While the defeat may appear a discouraging one on paper, Robinson admits he has learnt plenty about his squad from the West Yorkshire visit.
“Overall, we took 19 players to this game, including players who have not played this level at all before,” he said.
“Cougars had 23 with pretty much their best team on the field at times throughout the game.
“We defended back-to-back set plays, only to drop concentration and allow them to score. We also struggled to get field position from our kicks and inexperience showed in certain areas positionally.
“But that’s why we have come to play today, it’s all part of our preparation.”
In what proved the final pre-season fixture, following outings against the Prison Service and London Broncos’ reserves, the Coventry chief believes the latest warm-up will be key to deciding his squad for the upcoming campaign.
“Myself and Rich Squires [assistant] have learned a lot today about certain players and this will form the decisions we make leading up to the season,” Robinson added.
“It was a very valuable game to play at this time of the year and will stand us in very good stead.”
With a month in between Sunday’s final friendly and the start of the Betfred League One season at home to Rochdale Hornets on Sunday, February 16, Coventry still have the small matter of a Challenge Cup tie to look forward to.
The cup game, set to be played a week before the league season kicks off, will be decided in this Sunday’s draw – with potential opponents ranging from a fellow League One opponent in London Skolars to Sherwood Wolfhunt of the North Midland league.