AFTER North Wales Crusaders exited the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last weekend, head coach, Mike Grady, is looking for a reaction from his side who travel to face Keighley Cougars this weekend as they kick off their 2017 league campaign.

Ahead of the Kingstone Press League 1 getting underway, Grady believes that the league is more competitive than it has ever been: “It’s a very tough division this year and you can’t really say that any team in the league will give you an easy game.

“You’ve got Toronto coming in but also the teams that came down last season along with clubs that have strengthened, and that makes this league really interesting this year, he said.”

He added: “We’ve got a tough start playing Keighley away on Sunday and then Doncaster at home the following week.

“However, as they say you have to play everyone in the league and we’re all raring to go.”

Following last weeks defeat to Gloucestershire All Golds, Grady wants to see improvements from his side: “We had a lot to work on from last weekends defeat and we’ve sat down as a group and gone through it.

“One area that let us down was our defence, we’ve been working on it since pre-season but for whatever reason it didn’t pay off last weekend and we failed to deal with the threats that Gloucester posed to us.

“Another issue that we had was our attitude going into the game. It wasn’t just individuals it was the whole squad and the lads know that.

“We’ve got that performance out of our system and that shouldn’t happen again as everyone is frustrated about it.

“I’m looking for a reaction on Sunday. Whether that comes in the shape of a win or a very good performance we need to turn up prepared.”

On Sunday’s opponents, Grady said: “They’ve got a new coach and have made some good signings.

“They will want to make a good start and show that they can be pushing at the top end of the table this season.”

Grady also gave an update on his squads injuries: “We’ll have a few back and available for selection. Josh Simm and Andy Unsworth are both back in training.

“However, Ryan Millington is likely to miss the game due to a bicep injury. Aside from that we’re in the same situation as last week with regards to players out.”

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