Jordan Lane has explained the important of first impressions under new head coach Brett Hodgson, and says he is pleased with his own personal progress so far in pre-season.
The back-rower was one of the stand-out performers for the Black & Whites in the second-half of last season, and has been rewarded for his efforts with his lowest squad number yet, taking the number 16 jersey in 2021.
But, while Lane says he doesn’t read too much into the number on his back, he is determined to continue his strong efforts on the training field to ensure he is contention for a spot in the round one squad.
Speaking to hullfc.com, Lane said: “Pre-season is tough every year, but this year it has gone up another level.
“Paul Hatton has done a really good job in getting plenty of hard metres into us. The boys are digging in really well and we all look a lot fitter from this time last year.
“With a new coach it charge, it is a fresh start for everyone. We’ve wiped the slate clean, so first impressions are massive. I feel like I have given a good first impression on the way I have trained over the last few weeks, and that is all I can do for now.
“I want to be in that team for round one at Headingley, so it’s important that I carry on what I’ve been doing so far for the next five weeks to show I am worthy of a spot.
“He is bringing in some new ideas, and a new defensive style too which will take us a few weeks to get used to, but we can already see the boys are buying into that.”
As well as new coach Brett Hodgson, Lane commented on the appointment of former teammate Gareth Ellis as the club’s new assistant coach.
“Who else would you want to have as a defensive coach than Gareth Ellis?
“He is one of the best defenders the Super League has ever seen, and some of the stuff he is bringing is great for us – he has over 20 years experience in the game, so all of the boys respect him because he has been here that long.
“He is still a big leader for us despite not being a player anymore. Some of the stuff he is trying to built into us is really important given defense is the big area we want to improve on from last season.”
While 2020 was an impressive season for the former West Hull amateur, Lane says he is keen to drop the ‘young boy’ label this season having proved he is capable of performing consistently at Super League level.
“I’ve been labeled as a young boy for the last three years, but I’m 23 three now and 24 this year – I feel like I’m old enough and made enough appearances, nearly 50 now, not to be labeled as a ‘young boy’ anymore.
“I feel like I have really matured as a player, and this year is a big year for me to keep building on a good season last year.
He added: “I think had a good bit of form in the second stage of last season. Unfortunately Covid wiped me out for the last few games but that was out of my control, but leading up to that in September and October I felt like I really made my mark.”
And Lane has been rewarded for a strong season by taking the number 16 shirt, his lowest yet, however, he admits that he does not read too much into the number on his back, while also commenting on the competition for places with his fellow back-rowers.
“Some people read into it, and some people want certain shirt numbers, but I’m not too fused. It is great to move into that top seventeen and I feel like I have earned it, but as long as I am on the pitch, I’m not bothered what number shirt is on my back.
“We all push each other to get the best out of one and other. Myself, Manu and Andre all want the best for each other. If one of us is doing something wrong, the other two are always on hand to help the other one out. One of us ultimately has to miss out every week, but that competition for places makes us all better players.”