THERE has been some early encouragement for Bradford Salem’s new leading coach, Bob Hood.

Although his side fell to a 53-24 defeat at home to West Leeds on the opening day of the new season, Salem bounced back in style to collect a first away win (17-12) at Beverley since 1979.

Ahead of a home fixture with Wetherby today, reflecting on his start to life in the Bradford dugout, Hood admitted that there is cause for optimism.

He told the T&A: “Obviously, I was disappointed with the first result but it was a lot better after analysing the video footage. We conceded 12 points in the last two minutes and we conceded 26 points in the last 17 minutes, which coincided with both of our centres going off injured and we didn’t have enough depth to cover their losses. So, on reflection, it wasn’t a bad start all things considered.

“Following on from the game against West Leeds, we had a really good week in training where we focused on the workings of our kick and chase, while also looking at staying connected in the defensive phase of the game. From that, we got a fantastic victory at Beverley only a week later and it was the first time that Bradford Salem have beaten Beverley away from home.”

Hood added: “It was a significant victory and we could feel it after the game, as our players and staff got a big congratulations from everyone at Beverley when we entered the clubhouse.

“Our defence was resilient in the game, but not only that; I was particularly pleased with the mental resilience that my team showed to come away with the win. They were resolute, determined and passionate and I’m really pleased with the progress the boys showed from one Saturday to the next.

“It’s only two games into the new season, but at this point, although it’s been a week-to-week challenge, it’s looking a lot better and we are looking pretty strong going forward.”

In a recent interview with the T&A, Hood signalled his intent to play an attractive, fast and expansive style of rugby; something that was pleasing on the eye.

The newly appointed boss admitted that he’s already seeing early signs of his methods within Salem’s match play, when he said: “The process started in the first game, however, we then defaulted and stopped playing in the way I want us to. On Saturday against Beverley, we really upped our game and you could see some particular patterns of play come to fruition.

“It will take time, of course, for my players to fully grasp my ideas but we are seeing some strong early signs and it excites me for what is to come.”

Bradford Salem takes on Wetherby today, a side well known to Hood who worked with their head coach in the past.

He confirmed: “I worked with Evan Woodworth (head coach at Wetherby) and helped him through his England Rugby Advanced Coaching Award (ERACA), so I worked over a year at Wetherby and I saw them regroup into quite a successful club.

“On the playing side they are a strong and well-equipped all-round team. They’re strong with the ball in hand and they are very organised, but instead of looking at their strengths and weaknesses, we will look at maximising our own strengths because we will get the victory if we do that, I’m confident about that.”