Leeds Knights: How coach Dave Whistle hopes to improve Knights’ silverware chances

DAVE WHISTLE expects a successful second half of the season for Leeds Knights - as long as his players buy in to developing a more rounded game.

By Phil Harrison
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 6:35 am
Leeds Knights upset coach Dave Whistle with their performance in the 5-3 defeat at Sheffield Steeldogs on New Year's Eve. Picture: Peter Best/Steeldogs Media.
Leeds Knights upset coach Dave Whistle with their performance in the 5-3 defeat at Sheffield Steeldogs on New Year's Eve. Picture: Peter Best/Steeldogs Media.

The Canadian is all-too-aware of the creative, forward-thinking talent at his disposal, the likes of Keiran Brown, Adam Barnes, Matty Davies, Cole Shudra and his own son Brandon being the most obvious examples.

But the 5-3 New Year’s Eve defeat at Sheffield Steeldogs highlighted some deficiencies in Whistle’s team that he feels need addressing in order for them to realise their potential.

As a result, Whistle will tackle the issue of team defence ahead of this week’s two practice sessions in the hope of avoiding similar performances to the one seen at Ice Sheffield on Friday.

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ISSUES: Leeds Knights coach Dave Whistle Picture: James Hardisty.

He saw elements of it again during Monday’s 5-2 win over a depleted Swindon Wildcats at Elland Road, the hosts giving up a two-goal lead once again before finally finding the necessary offensive clout to return to winning ways.

“We’re going to have a good team meeting prior to our next practice,” explained Whistle.

“We’re going to have to get guys buying into a more of a team concept and be willing to win a game 3-2, 2-1 - instead of losing 5-4.

“And that might be hard on the younger guys who like to free-wheel with the puck and don’t really chip it in that often.

“But, at the same time, that’s what you do to win and we need to narrow down the things that we need to work on the most if we want to win.

“Obviously I want to win, I know all the players want to win but I think maybe most of them haven’t won too much in their careers, most of them haven’t won a big trophy before.

“So, yes, it’s a learning curve for us right now but we’ve got really good players - I know we do.

“We have got talented, skilled players and if they buy into both sides of the game, I think we’ll have a really successful second part of the year.

“Some of our players have got to simplify their games, they really do, and they have to be willing to maybe not get points for, say, a month.

“But, if you are still winning games, who cares, they are still contributing in other ways and that is what really matters.”