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Sunday, 31 August 2014

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Whitehaven turn down St Helens players for York opener

Whitehaven have turned down the chance to take three first-team squad players from Super League giants St Helens, including a leading name, for their opening Championship clash with York City Knights.

Dave Woods photo
Dave Woods

Many pundits have signalled the partnership with Saints as key for Haven in their return to the Championship this season, but coach Dave Woods has kept faith with his own squad, in recognition of their storming pre-season effort.

“It was a tough decision, but we have to give our players the first opportunity to show what they can do,” he said. “We owe it to the players who have worked so hard, to see how they perform.”

It has been agreed that Saints players who turn out for Haven will have two sessions with the Cumbrians during the week ahead of any game. And Woods believes the link could pay dividends for his club this year.

Knights’ new coach Gary Thornton has set his sights on changing the culture within his squad, after York struggled in the Championship last term.

He said: “We want to get off to a good start and get rid of the losing culture. We’ve got to sweep that under the carpet and start afresh. We’ve been keen to make sure we don’t have any hangovers from last year.

“We’ve got some good characters on board, as well as those that were already here, and I’m pretty pleased with how the team’s coming together.”

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