Preview | Sandwell Steelers v Coventry Jets

Preview | Sandwell Steelers v Coventry Jets

With the off-season nearing it’s end, we’re priming ourselves for our first outing of the 2017 season. This Easter Sunday will see us battle against the Coventry Jets, a newcomer to the Division One Tier. Last season the Coventry Jets plied their trade in the Premiership North, but were relegated following a 1-9 season. This fixture will aim to be ‘Eggstra-Special’ as it will be the first time the two teams have faced off. Preparations for our fellow NFC 1 South opponents have been ramped up, as the Coventry Jets will be looking to bounce back from a poor start to Division One life, following defeat at the hands of the Nottingham Caesars.

After a successful pre-season it all comes down to this weekend, where the Steelers will see a lot of new and old players donning the grey and gold jerseys both on offense and defence.

Quarterback Callum Davidson, a GB hopeful will be in command of the Steelers offence for the very first time. An offence that during pre-season has been firing on all cylinders. Accompanying him in the backfield will be RB James Jones-Cross, a recent graduate of the Birmingham Lions Junior programme. James will be looking to obtain as many yards as possible on the ground, in what will be his first adult football game. James has been scintillating with ball in hand, with his pace and quick decision making to find a gap to exploit have been stunning. WR Joshua Lawrence is also in a similar position following his graduation, unlike James though, Joshua will be looking to score as part of the Steelers aerial attack. During pre-season Josh has looked electric, with some outstanding highlight reel catches both sides of the ball have been impressed. Finally on offense, the retirement of veteran Lineman Carl Lewis has left a huge gap in both skill and experience, however the 2017 class have been steadily building a rapport and a confidence in both the passing and run game . Newcomers to the line have settled into the brotherhood and have already brought into the sacrificial life of a lineman. Throughout the pre-season, offensive players and coaches have brought into Offensive Coordinator, Coach Butler’s mantra of #ForgeAhead which demonstrates the unit’s attitude of working towards a common goal no matter how hard the going gets.

 

Photo courtesy of: Whizzyfingers Photography.

Things on the other side of the ball are looking promising as well, with most of last year’s playmakers still at the heart of the Steelers defense. The loss of Ovie Omueda leaves a big hole to fill on the defensive line, but the experience of Adam Bates and Sam Rafferty should be enough to lead the line to numerous sacks, hurries and tackles. Linebackers Jake Hill and Alex Mackenzie-Grist are looking to build on their successful seasons last year, with a combination of brain and brawn to keep the Jets offence contained. Finally we get to the ‘self-proclaimed’ most attractive secondary in all of Britball. This weekend will see Gareth Thomas, who is a recent transfer from the Birmingham Bulls play his first game in a Steelers shirt along with Paul Zinkus, who is a testament to the incredible coaching levels of the Birmingham Lions University team over the many years. With Gareth and Paul lining up alongside veteran bruiser Rob Jones, it fits in nicely with Defensive Coordinator, Coach Andrew’s mentality of being a hard hitting defense and buying into the #BeTheHammer ethos.

Photo courtesy of: Whizzyfingers Photography.

Head Coach Ross Barrow is excited going into this weekend’s game. “Pre-season for the Steelers has been productive. Following a lot of retirements and losses to key positions, we feel confident that our recruitment and coaching has been able to bridge the gap in experience with an excited and talented group of players. Coventry have been a team playing Premiership football for many years, so they’ve experienced the physicality and skill required to perform at the highest level, so this will be a great test for the guys to see what they’re made of”.

The fixture will be held at Tipton Sports Academy, Wednesbury Oak Road, DY4 0BS. Gates open around 13:30 with Kick Off at 14:30. So if you fancy something different, why not come down and support us this Easter Sunday?

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