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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Two-year deal ‘signifies Haven’s faith in prop'

DAVE Houghton has signed a two-year deal with Whitehaven.

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Dave Houghton: “An investment in the future” says chief exec Barry Richardson

The length of the deal signifies Haven’s faith in the prop, as they have generally offered shorter contracts over the last couple of years.

“Normally we look at one-year deals but we see Dave as an investment for the future,” said chief executive Barry Richardson.

“He has a good attitude, never misses a training session and is 100 per cent committed. He has progressed so much this season, you can see it from his work-rate in every game. He’s been playing 80 minutes this year but has never shirked his responsibilities.

“Dave wants to progress in the game and has aspirations to play Super League, and to do his best for Whitehaven leading up to that.

“We think he has the opportunity to develop further, and hopefully he can be a top player for us in the Championship and meet his own aspirations further down the line.

“It was seen by the coaching staff this year that the team was weakened when he went off the field, so credit to him.”

The 22-year-old will not be used as an 80-minute player next term by new coach Dave Woods, who believes that in time there will be even more to come from the ex-Widnes man.

“As props get older they get better,” Woods said. “I’m told he’s very tough so will be good to work with.

“He won’t be an 80 minute player next year because we will have players we can interchange. We can get more out of him by giving him spells, and not use up all his energy over the full game.”

Woods is eyeing a handful of new players he believes will strengthen Haven in the Championship next term but is also keen to give most of those who featured this year a chance to impress, as well as looking at some of the area’s leading amateur talent.

And after earning promotions with all three of the sides he has coached in England – Castleford, Gateshead and York – he clearly knows how to foster team spirit.

“You do a lot of things together,” he explained. “When we train we will make sure there are not little cliques. Everyone will be training with different partners in gym and field sessions and we’ll make it fun at training.

“You have to want to go to training, and there will be a lot of core skills games that will enhance the way they play, building team morale and mate-ship so they want to go in to battle for each other.”

But the Aussie will also adopt a no-nonsense attitude to discipline in the ranks, with players unable to train with the squad for legitimate reasons, such as shift work, given the chance to train during the day.

“I’m very high on discipline,” he added. “Fines will be in place if they are late for training or don’t turn up.

“The length I take with discipline will depend how bad the situation is, but we want players who want to play here, do their best and be proud of what they do.

“If they don’t want to do that we will show them the door, and they can find somewhere they want to play. Discipline has to be the No 1 priority because if you are not disciplined at training and making an effort, you’ll take short cuts in a game, be penalised and be on the back foot.”

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: Mr Maudlsey, Chapel Street, Bigrigg, with ticket number 2,424; Mrs Farr, Stafford Court, Cleator Moor, 2,821; K White Hillcrest, 2,118; R Batty, Leathwaite, 1,789 J Roache, Melbreak Close, Whitehaven 2,588

Leeds Line winners: B6123 - Linda Harrison; R0439 - Sharon Guildford; L1175 - Alan Donn; A0448 - Paul Coan; I2460 - D Warring.

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