Defence coach Graham Steadman is expecting major improvements in the Newcastle Falcons ranks following a frustrating campaign last timeout.
The Yorkshireman watched on intently from the side line as the northeasterners failed to end the season in the same fashion as they started. Wins at Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors coupled with a victory at home to London Irish early on in the season proved to be enough to secure the Falcons’ top-flight status in their first season back in the big time.
Typically candid in reflection, Steadman said: “Last season was definitely one of frustration and we certainly under achieved, losing eight games by seven points or less.
“Having been competitive in those games it was disappointing not to come away from matches with more wins.
“The pleasing thing on reflection is the fact that everyone stuck together through a very testing time, particularly during the last four months – the form that Worcester were showing towards the back end of the season applied quite a bit of pressure on us, but thankfully everyone kept their nerve and the bonus points that we picked up on the way really helped our cause.”
The close season has not only seen a shake-up on the field, there has also been a change in structure off it with John Wells stepping up to the plate as the club’s new head coach following the departure of Peter Russell.
Steadman, who like Wells worked on the international stage, is excited at the prospect of a solid pre-season at Kingston Park.
He said: “With a change in the coaching regime and John fronting it, I’m very much looking forward to working with him, and the early signs within the camp are certainly positive.
“It’s early doors and we’re only two weeks into pre-season, but first impressions are always a good indicator to me and the lads have impressed me and every one of them is looking forward to getting to work.”