Preview: Perkins challenges Stags to raise their game against the Cougars

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

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Hemel Stags will be looking to end the Kingstone Press League 1 season on a positive note when they travel to Keighley Cougars on Sunday.

Stags coach Troy Perkins was very disappointed with his side’s home defeat to Oxford last weekend, and he is demanding maximum effort against the Cougars.

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

Match action from Hemel Stags' defeat to Oxford. Picture (c) Kevin Read

“It was a game where we were pretty confident of getting a result and we didn’t play well enough,” said Perkins. “Our defence wasn’t up to scratch, we weren’t tough around the middle of the field. They got onto some good rolls and we conceded some really soft tries.

“We’re down to bare bones at the minute but I was expecting the group to put in a better performance than they did – it was disappointing.

“Keighley are one of the top teams. They’re going to be looking at getting a result to secure that second place and go into the play-offs with a bit of good form. All we can do is go up there and give it our best shot. As long as we all give 100 per cent that’s all I can ask.”

Meanwhile Keighley Cougars coach Paul March wasn’t happy with the defensive efforts of his side despite their win at the University of Gloucestershire All Golds in their latest outing.

All we can do is go up there and give it our best shot. As long as we all give 100 per cent that’s all I can ask.

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins

“Defensively I thought we were miles away from where we should be,” he said. “It was one of those games where we knew we’d probably score more points than them and win the game but leading up to this week we need to be tougher in defence to get ready for the play-offs.

“We’ve got to be focused on the job in hand. If you go into a game half-hearted and not prepared, you can get burned.

“I’m asking the boys to make sure defensively we’re at the races this week. If they do that, the result will take care of itself and hopefully we can go on to bigger and better things. It could be nip and tuck if we don’t have the right attitude.”

Loose forward Ash Lindsay returns after recovering from a broken leg.