Aberdeen Warriors have managed to gain home advantage in the 2016 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup as they take on the prime of Student Rugby League Northumbria University.
This will be the third time that the Warriors from Aberdeen will have been entered to the prestigious knockout competition and are hoping to make it third time lucky in getting beyond the first round. In their previous two encounters they were put out early however they showed a big step up in their ability last year against a good Skirlaugh side which is something head coach Craig Parslow is looking for again.
“This year has a different feel to it, the players seem more focussed and determined to do one better than last year, training has started earlier to give us the best prep we possibly can get. With this now being our third time entering round one we know what to expect as a club.”
“We have managed to draw in some new players into the club that have some great experience and will help lead on the park. We still have our core players of which some will be making their third appearance with others having their first in the Challenge Cup however all are relishing the opportunity to take one of the 17 jerseys to represent not just Aberdeen Warriors but also Scotland Rugby League and be able to show that we have some real talent up here” States Parslow.
Parslow has also bolstered his current Coaching and Management team and welcomes the experience of his Scotland “Club XIII” coaches Alex Bibby and Raymond Festorazzi (both formerly of Ayrshire Storm) along with a new comer to the Rugby League world the new Team Manager Mark Littlejohn.
“Having worked with Craig and Alex with the Club XIII it wasn’t hard for me to say yes to joining the Warriors staff, I have worked with some of the players previously and played against most of them so I have a good on and off-field relationship with all and hopefully my first hand experience of playing in this competition will be of use to the boys” states Festorazzi.
This is the first time a round one draw in the Challenge Cup has been taken to Scotland and there is no better place to hold it than where Rugby League in Scotland began, Aberdeen.
The weather in Aberdeen of late is a tad wet with training facilities being waterlogged therefore training is becoming an issue and is causing everybody in the city some anguish. Aberdeen City Council CEO Angela Scott has rallied behind the club and is offering some fantastic support to enable the players to prepare as best as the can to give them a winning edge come game day.
With the Warriors usual venue of Woodside being unavailable due to a scheduling clash with Aberdeenshire RFC who have a Scottish Cup game on the 30th the other rugby union clubs in the city are also rallying behind the Warriors to ensure a venue is in a fit state to hold the fixture.
Round 1 of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup will take place on Saturday 30th January Venue TBC.