GRAHAM DAWE says he has got more of an idea on who he will select for Plymouth Albion’s first league match after Saturday’s 45-18 home defeat to Bedford Blues.
The Albion boss used the game to have a look at a few players who did not get a chance to start against fellow Championship side Jersey two weeks ago.
Dawe also saw other Plymouth hopefuls feature in a 23-17 win over a physical and well-drilled Weston-super-Mare side.
The only confirmed signings Dawe has not seen in action yet are backs Jon Dawe, Matt Shepherd, Jack Maunder and Harrison Cully, who have been injured or unavailable.
When asked after Saturday if he did have more of an idea on the team that will start against Richmond on September 5, Dawe said: “Yeah, for sure. It’s like any weekend, your views on players will change because of one or two things they do.
“As a coach you want a bit of consistency – that’s what we are looking for in the coming weeks and months.”
Dawe has just this Friday’s game against Newton Abbot to have one more look at players before the start of their National One campaign, but their Devon neighbours are unlikely to offer them the test that Bedford and Jersey have so far.
“You would like to play six warm-up games, but that’s not always possible and it’s going to be a long season,” said Dawe, who has had to build a whole new squad following the club’s relegation from the Championship. “But, hopefully, we will be a team that makes progress through the season.”
Dawe admitted Bedford highlighted a few questions his side need to address in the coming weeks.
“It was certainly a pretty tough day at the office, but the guys put in a good shift against some pretty good players,” he said.
“We appreciated Bedford coming down and giving us the fixture, which has certainly raised a few questions on what we need to do, but we were pleased with the overall performance.”
When asked what questions the game raised, Dawe said: “Our shape in defence. We need to keep our discipline and hold it and get our shots in, not under pressure but under control.
“We also know we need to do some technical work on the scrum.
“But there were some good performances out there and was what pleasing is that we hung in there all game. We challenged them with the ball in hand and defensively I thought we worked our socks off on the inside. Although we got a few things wrong, the only way to get better is to be put in them situations.
“The DVD won’t lie and it will point out things where we can be one or two per cent better.”
Albion suffered an early blow against Bedford when Australian full-back Ethan Ford had to be helped off the field with an ankle injury after helping to make a try.
“I think he’s got a pretty bad strain of the ankle,” said Dawe. “It’s a big blow for us, but hopefully we can manage it.”
Dawe was pleased with the performance of the club’s young development team against a much bigger and more experienced Weston-super-Mare side.
No-one in the Albion team taking on the Somerset outfit was older than 23, with the majority under-20.
“It was a very good game of rugby,” said Dawe. “Elliot Bale certainly brought the best out of them and they put in a pretty good shift. They did well.”
Albion included New Zealander Mounga Molisi in both squads to play Weston-super-Mare and Bedford.
He did not come on against Weston-super-Mare but did play 20 minutes against Bedford.
The centre, who lives in Exeter, trained with Albion at the end of last season, but had to return to New Zealand for spell.
At the moment, Molisi is not available to play competitively for Albion, but that could change in the future.
“He’s just training and we wanted him to just have 20 minutes to see what it is all about,” said Dawe.
When asked if the powerful back could be an option for Albion, Dawe said: “That might be something for the future, not now.”