It was a huge relief for everyone at Leeds Force to earn that first win last Friday night against Manchester Giants, and as I’ve said from the beginning, if we trust in ourselves we can compete against anybody.
Everybody came together brilliantly against Manchester – we displayed that family bond and unity we’ve been searching for, and it all starts with trust.
If you can trust the person behind you to help you out when you’ve fallen, you know you’re going to be ok.
We’ve got that trust now, we just need to build on it.
We still have a lot of improvements to make, but a win’s a win and we’ll take it any way we can get it.
Manchester played very well and have some incredibly talented individuals, but we had a great structure and our coaching team helped us stay focused for 40 minutes on the night.
If you can trust the person behind you to help you out when you’ve fallen, you know you’re going to be ok. We’ve got that trust now, we just need to build on it.Samuel Toluwase
We had some lapses in the game, but those errors will help shape us going forwards and allow us to learn about what we need to improve on.
The Giants’ late come-back wasn’t really down to them playing well, but more so down to us making crucial mistakes.
It was the first time we’d defended a lead late in a game, so we need to improve on staying poised and calm in the final few minutes when your opponents are throwing everything at you.
We showed confidence and faith in one another, and in particular we moved the ball as a team better than we have in a long time.
That all comes with confidence, which isn’t easy to attain but we’ve worked together as a unit to build that trust over the last few weeks.
When we practice, we practice together – you only tend to trust that your team-mate is ready, focused and prepared to go to battle if you know them well and work alongside them at every training session.
That aura of confidence is huge to Leeds Force’s chances of success this season, we’ve got that now so hopefully we can build and push forwards.
New signing Eric Curth made a huge impact, despite making his debut only 24 hours after arriving in the UK from Germany. It’s obvious to see that he’s offensively ready [he scored 14 points to finish four points behind joint top-scorers Tavarion Nix and Tre Bennett] he came into practice and provided that touch of quality we’ve been looking for – so his addition has certainly helped improve Leeds Force.
I take pride in everything I do.
Once I put my name on a jersey, I’m out to represent myself, my family and where I’m from.
That’s hugely important to me as a professional athlete, and why I work so hard to help Leeds Force achieve success.
The Giants victory has passed, we celebrated the win but now it’s back to the drawing board – finding that second win is all we’re thinking about, because everyone knows you’re only as good as your last game.
Coach Danny Nelson is a very composed character, he’s got a good poker face – you can never truly tell what he’s thinking. He congratulated us on the win and for our effort on the night, but now of course we’re all focused on this Friday’s game against Cheshire Phoenix at Carnegie Sports Arena (7:30pm).
Cheshire have lost their last two games, including against Manchester Giants at home on Sunday when they gave our vanquished opponents of less than 48 hours earlier, their first victory. As ever this Friday we’ll need our fans – you are what keeps us going, the heart of Leeds Force and the reason why we play this game.
With you there supporting us at games, we know you have our backs, and we’re all incredibly grateful for everything you’ve given us as a team this season.
That’s it for this week’s column, I’ll be back next week to hopefully reflect on another win.
Interview: Seb Gigner