With pre-season training in full swing, City of Hull Academy duo Mikey Lewis and Jack Bartlett talk through their preparations for 2018.
Mikey, 2017 was your inaugural year in the City of Hull, take us through that year and how it went for you?
“It was a good year. Firstly I got noticed in May by Rob Wilson, who scouted me at West Hull playing Siddal. The City of Hull invited me to train and my first training session was with the England Youth, so it wasn’t the easiest of starts.
“A week and a half later, I made my debut off the bench against Wigan. It wasn’t the best of results but it was a good experience.”
You were at West Hull at the beginning of last year, how did you find that and what were the differences between the community game and Scholarship?
“The difference between the two teams was the professionalism. I wasn’t used to all the weighing-in before games and the routines, such as making sure you’re eating right to prepare yourself for games.
“Don’t get me wrong, West Hull were as professional as they could be, we set out to be the best team, but the City of Hull is on another level. It’s a massive step up for my career.”
We’re two months into pre-season now. How have you settled in and how are you finding it?
“I’ve settled in really well, the lads are really good with me. It’s hard, it’s really hard because at first I wasn’t used to it.
“Obviously with the scholarship and at West Hull I was only training twice a week, whereas now I’m training five times a week, but it’s good because mentally it tests you and the first years are just getting on with it with no complaining.”
2018 will be your first year as an Under-19. What are your targets for the year?
“My first target is to make my under-19s debut. That first game against Warrington I want to play. I am really keen to play in that first game and show what I can do.
“Then throughout the season I want to make as many starts as I can, I don’t want to drop my level of performances, I want to maintain a high level and kick on to earn a new contract.”
Jack, you enjoyed a successful first year as an Under-19 in 2017, how did you find it?
“I thought the season started off pretty well. We had to get into a groove obviously with coming together as a new team and I got a few games under my belt.
“We started off well, it was good to get to the semi-finals as well, obviously we got knocked out and that was unfortunate, but hopefully we can go the full way this year.”
You’re well into your second full-time pre-season, what have you been doing?
“So far we’ve done quite a bit of conditioning, getting stuck in with the team and with the new first years.
“It’s been tough, it’s been gritty but we’ve just been getting on with it and we’re starting to get into our skill side of it on a Monday and a Friday where we do individual stuff which is great for my development.”
Last week the 2018 fixtures were revealed, starting with Warrington away, what are your thoughts on the fixtures and which fixtures are you looking out for?
“I think we start off with a few hard games with the likes of Warrington and Castleford, that’s good for us.
“It gives us something to work towards and if we can start off the campaign well, I think we can back ourselves, go the full way to the final and win it.
“I’m looking forward to a few tough games with the likes of Castleford and Wigan.”
Pre-season is a time to prepare yourself for the season ahead and improve on some areas, what areas are you looking to develop?
“I’m looking to work on my diversity in attack, but also trying to work on some quick handling, my agility, my line running and my change of direction to help me evade my opponent.
“I’d also like to keep my talk up in defence so we can work as a team.”