Sheffield Steeldogs: Ben Morgan delighted Dogs are thriving in new campaign
Sheffield Steeldogs have made a strong start to the new National Division season, winning their opening game against new guys the Leeds Chiefs and beating the MK Lightning following their step down from the Elite League.
Steeldogs coach Ben Morgan, reflecting on the opening fixtures and this weekend’s home double header against Hull Pirates and The Raiders, said: "I’m delighted with two wins from the opening two games.
“Naturally you want to get off to a good start and whilst it’s still very much a work in progress in terms of lines and special teams, we are now at a point where we can see which combinations are clicking and guys are cementing their roles.
“We aren’t getting carried away by being top of the division but it’s a good start to kick on from.
“I think we can expect some fireworks when we play Hull.
“It’s always going to be a heated match between the teams, the rivalry is never going to die down despite some players moving on from both teams. It should be a fantastic spectacle for the crowd and it’s top of the league clash.
“I think Hull will be one of the teams at the top end of the table come the end of the season. Their team hasn’t changed much so we know how they play and what to expect in terms of physicality and mentality so we will need to step up and improve again as we have week on week so far.
“The guys are already talking about the game and looking forward to it - and for the new guys who’ve joined the team, they know just how important it is. We know a few of the guys at Raiders who’ve played elsewhere in the South but it’ll be like the Leeds game where they’re something of an unknown - we’ll just focus on doing what makes us successful.”
Morgan has been impressed by the on-ice product adding: “The standard so far in the new league has been very, very high and if it’s any indication for the season ahead, then there are going to be lots of close results through to the end of the season.
"There has definitely been a move up a level or two in terms of quality and I don’t think that is just down to recruitment, I think it’s the mentality across the league, guys come to the rink every week knowing there’s going to be no easy games, that they can’t coast.
"You either go 100% or the cracks will start to show and the opposition will take advantage. I’m seeing guys on our team who are stepping up, whether they’ve been here 1 or 2 years or 5 or 10 years, they are completely up for the challenge. If we can maintain the good start and keep delivering then we should be in a good place at the end of the season”.
Steeldogs play the Hull Pirates on Saturday (28th) in a 7:30 faceoff before playing the (London) Raiders on Sunday at 4:30. Both games are at iceSheffield.