JASON HEWITT is planning to come back to the Sheffield Steelers’ line-up with a bang after being damned by ‘faint praise’ by his coach Ryan Finnerty.
The team boss felt the GB forward “played alright” last campaign but “needs to have a big year” if he is continue to develop into a major player .
“He plays his best when he’s in the game getting under the skin of others..he can’t be a perimeter guy” Finnerty told The Star, recently.
The remarks and their implications were well-received by GB winger Hewitt, who is not adverse to handling constructive criticism.
“In a way I enjoyed reading that in the paper, maybe I can do better if a fire is lit under my backside.
“It makes me feel that I want to come back and be the guy. I love that role, agitating and making it difficult for our opponents.”
Hewitt admits that facet of his play wasn’t always on show in the ultimately unsuccessful 2011-12 season.
“The year before last I played on a settled line all the time (with Derek Campbell and Rob Dowd.) But we had so many injuries last season that it (the line formation) was all over the shop.
“Through the Summer, when I am not doing Daddy Day Care with my daughter at home, I am spending plenty of time in the gym preparing for next season. “All being well I will come back fitter and more ready than at any other time so I can do what needs to be done”
Hewitt is one of several Steelers players who cannot understand the hostility of some fans towards the return of goalie John DeCaro: “The fans don’t seem to respect him for some reason” said Hewitt.
“They seem to have a grudge, but they should cut him some slack. At least wait to see what happens at the beginning of the season with him playing in front of a new group of guys. If they still don’t like what he is doing then, they have the right, I suppose, to abuse him then.
“But personally I am pleased he is back. He is a good mixture of a solid goalie, who works hard, and is a good (dressing) room guy.”
Finnerty told The Star yesterday that the completed roster is still some while away.
But he adds: “I’m very excited about the make-up so far, We have a few areas that need addressing and we’ll do that in the coming weeks.
“But I’m excited with what we have, on paper, now. I’m confident with the strength of British contingency; we should be fine rolling with the 10 imports.”
Interestingly, Finnerty believes some of his players will arrive in South Yorkshire “with something to prove.”
For example, he said: “Colin Shields led this league in scoring a few years ago and will want to get back to those days, I will give Shieldsy every opportunity to do so.
“I think he’ll have a big year for us.