NOTHING is guaranteed to make a defence coach smile more than a zero-against scoreline, and Luke Narraway was certainly a happy man after Coventry’s 64-0 win at Fylde.
A season’s best of just four penalties conceded over the 80 minutes helped Cov to keep their line intact, complimented by the growing desire of the players to nil the opposition which, even with the game well won, they maintained to the final whistle.
It was a step up from the previous two games where Narraway felt standards had slipped.
“It was great to see,” said Narraway. “We worked on some stuff in the week and I definitely saw that transferred to the game.
“I thought the tackle choice and completion, especially in the first 60 minutes, was very good and I think from where we’d been in the last couple of weeks it was a definite step in the right direction, so I’m really, really happy.
“You’re going to make it easier for yourself if the discipline is good, we always set our target at definitely under ten penalties a game, and we’ve flown under that in this game.
“We had a lot of the ball, but when we did have to defend we did it well – Fylde chucked the ball about a bit and they posed some different questions with their offloading game, but I’m really pleased with the way the boys responded.
“The last couple of weeks had been slightly disappointing in terms of our defence, but we definitely got up and running again.”
Narraway was equally pleased with the way the players new to the squad fitted straight into the team’s systems.
“It’s a 30-game season, it’s a long trek and you can’t just put out the same 15 players every week,” he said. “Where we want to go, and where we are now, we can make changes and people come in and they do the same job.
“That makes it good for competition for places and it also makes it easier for some of us older fellows who need a rest!
“We had three debuts, three young guys, and I think they all acquitted themselves really well. It just gives the coaches more options and selection headaches which is exactly what we want.
“If any injuries happen or we rotate, we know that we’re comfortable with all the players coming in. I thought from 1 to 20 it was a great team performance.
“Good results make it easier, but one thing I was really happy about was that we scored 64 points and yet we still wanted to keep that zero.
“A couple of times towards the end our concentration lapsed a little bit and we let them through. The work of Anthony (Matoto) on the wing to cover back exemplified the desire to keep them out – if he switches off for a split second, he doesn’t make that tackle and they score, and that’s our zero gone.
“We had another ‘held-up’ after that, so the guys having such a pride in keeping that zero is a great thing to go forward with.
“I’ll bring them some treats for getting that zero on Tuesday!”