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Matt James Q+A


We have spoken to Eagles Club Captain Matt James, as his preparations to return to the match day squad continue.

James discusses his eagerness to get back in the mix as well as mentoring the young players in the squad.

After a long spell on the sidelines, how much are you looking forward to getting back into the match day squad?

“If it starts in March, it’ll be coming up to two years since I last played a game,”

“I can’t explain how excited I’ll be for that first runout. It’s almost like it’s taken a lifetime to come around but there’s still quite a way to go, through pre-season, to get myself ready and up to speed.

“I am sure that will come.”

Injuries are part and parcel of the game but yours and James Glover’s have seen you out of action for a long time. How tough has it been to keep fit and moving forward?

“It’s one of those things. Everyone has been going through a tough time recently and since getting the injury, I’ve had to look on the bright side.

“I’ve needed to crack on and although what’s happened this year has been unfortunate, looking on the positive side, it’s given Glover and I extra time to get ready.

“There’s no reason we can’t be at 100% for the start of the season.”

It must also have been tough to get the injury while you were in such great form?

It shows you can be on the top of the world one day but the next, it’s taken away from you. It shows that you need to appreciate when you’re in good health and good form as lengthy injuries are a tough place to come back from.

It does make you a stronger person and it has been a case of learning to deal with it.”

How important have the coaching staff and your teammates been, as you’ve always been around the club on match day?

“To be honest with you, I haven’t enjoyed it too much. I have had a few bittersweet days,"

"We had some good wins, getting the 1895 Cup, and as much as I loved the day and seeing the lads win, it was a bit of a sore point for me to miss out.

"I would have loved playing a part as a player but life throws different things at you and I’ve had to deal with it."

With a lot of youngsters in the club, how much are you looking forward to being a mentor to those that are coming through?

"It’s another season where we are planning for the future,"

"Tubbs likes doing that with his squads, to keep the older heads while signing a few youngsters.

"You can pick some diamonds out of the rough and it’s good for me to help these guys on the field, now I am back playing, as I feel that's the best way to lead.

"It will be good to work one-on-one while developing the likes of Blake Broadbent and Rory Dixon, who were playing well before the season was cut short."

What do you think the Eagles’ aims should be this year, after a successful 2019?

"I think it’s going to be a strange year, with nobody going into it as a ‘form team’,"

"We need to stick together and as long as we’re performing to the best of our ability, we’ll be absolutely fine."

"There were a few games before the season got cut that we maybe underperformed in and weren’t pulling in the same direction."

"I think that is going to be a massive thing for us, with a number of teams strengthening from Super League and overseas."

"We need to have that family-orientated feel that we like to have at the club. We need to pull our socks up and fire in from the start."

By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman