Mancunians’ goal kicker and Hooker, Luke Turner is relishing being part of the squad in 2016 and is confident that the club is back on the up after a bumpy couple of years.
Mancunians’ Rugby League squad has seen four different coaches take charge of the first team in the last two years but Turner says that the present coaching team have given the place a lift. “We’ve had a few different head coaches over the last two years and that hasn’t been easy for the players. I really loved playing for Mark Brennan who was coach when I first signed for Mancunians in 2013 and it was a shame when he couldn’t continue. His departure brought a few ups and downs for the club, but now it seems a lot more settled and getting to be a very good place again with Saq (Saqib Murtza) and Lucas (Onyango), so I’m looking forward to the future.”
Turner kicked six out of seven goals against Fitton Hill Bulldogs on Saturday and was relatively pleased with his own performance, and says that the composure showed by the team when they fell behind has given them even more confidence than they had before. “The way we came back into the game after being behind to a team two divisions higher was fantastic and showed great character from us. We finished the game very strongly and I think that’s a very encouraging sign for the rest of the season. All the boys were outstanding, but I would like to give a special mention to Jesse (Fay), not only for scoring three tries but his constant work rate and his willingness to keep his hand up for the hard carries all the way to the last minute.”
Like many players often are, Turner is hard on himself for missing just one goal kick out of seven attempts against Fitton Hill on Saturday but, overall remains positive about his performance. “I was disappointed to miss one conversion in the second half.” Said Turner, whose day job is Head of Sports Science for the Girls Centre of Excellence at Manchester United. “I still think I can be better, especially jumping from dummy half more and just controlling the ruck and marker area more effectively.” He said. “I think the main difference between the two sides, was the way we finished our game so strong. We were a bit off in the first half and came away from the game plan, but for us to find our way back to it and not get caught up too much when tempers flared showed some good discipline from us. We didn’t panic when we were behind and we showed good composure. I think they weren’t expecting us to be as fit and as quick as we were and that took them by surprise. Ben Remington ran the show from half and won the half back battle with theirs and we kicked a bit better than they did on the day”.
That positivity continues when Turner is asked about the club as a whole. “The development off the pitch during my time has been great, finding our new home and training ground at Hough End has been a good step forward and I’m looking forward to seeing where we can go as a club now things are becoming more settled on the pitch.” He said.
And Turner sees that changes have happened even since last year, and that the changes made have resulted in a tighter team culture “The feel around the place and some of the personnel we have brought in recently has given the place a lift. ““There’s a bounce now when we come to training and games and everyone wants to play and work hard for each other. “