After a disappointing 31-0 loss to Leeds Beckett last week, the UCLan Rams must turn their form around for a crucial Play-Off against league winners Sheffield Hallam.
At their final training session before the big game there was sense of closure as coach Luc Kinder laid out the simplest of ultimatums “win and we’re back here next Tuesday, lose and we’re not”.
It is hoped that the enthusiasm for not wanting their roller-coaster season to end, combined with a few tweaks and alterations, can make the difference in the match on Sunday.
“The biggest thing we’ve done offensively, is that we’ve dropped in a new formation that we think will help us and we’ve popped in a couple of different players where we’re not going the same way every time,” said Luc.
“We’ve got stuff where we’re going backside, we’ve got stuff where we’re changing our aiming point on players.”
After suffering defeat in the Play-Offs in previous seasons the Rams will be hoping they can overcome this mental block and the changing face of the squad could improve their chances of doing this, with less players in the team who’ve experienced this heartbreak.
“I don’t think its been that sort of monkey on the back thing, Play-Offs are a completely different animal”, emphasised Luc.
“Once you get to the Play-Offs it’s a new team, even if if you’re playing the same team as you played in the regular season. They’ve put in a lot of stuff like we have, they’ll make adjustments. At the moment we’re positive going into it and I think the outlook for the weekend is positive.”
The Rams will also look to their previous away win at Sheffield Hallam and will hope to use this as inspiration, even though they would’ve preferred to have been at home.
“We’ve played better away then we have at home this year, which is a bit of a questionable thing,” joked Luc.
“It doesn’t really affect us in the same way, we set up to ensure we’re there the same amount of time beforehand, so we get the journey out of our legs and get ourselves set up for the game and in the right frame of mind.”
This match is certainly too close to call, but the Rams have it in them to shock Sheffield Hallam again and you definitely wouldn’t bet against them.