Neil Kelly Post Swinton Lions
July 24, 2022
Head coach Neil Kelly was left frustrated with his team’s slow start as Cornwall RLFC were defeated 44-10 by Swinton Lions at the Memorial Ground.
The Choughs were left shell-shocked as the visitors raced from the traps to score 16 unanswered points inside the opening quarter.
Credit to Kelly and Cornwall though as the home side dug deep to stem the flow once skipper Jamie Prisk was introduced to the fray. The 29-year-old seemed to instantly galvanise his troops and he also gave the Choughs added go forward through the middle.
Prisk was instrumental in Cornwall’s opening score through Aaron Jones-Bishop and the towering forward scored himself eight minutes from the full-time siren.
“It was very frustrating and typical of my frustrations with the team,” Kelly said at full-time. “I could argue that the game was over as a contest after 20 minutes because we were playing without any emotion such as commitment and enthusiasm.
“But as soon as we started doing the right thing with the ball and completing our sets and we got our kicking game together, we made a game of it.
“Swinton are where they are in the table but they always give you a chance because they like to attack and score points. They play high-risk football that gives the opposition ball but unfortunately, we didn’t start playing until the game was probably over.
“For the final 60 minutes and especially in the second half, I thought we gave a good account of ourselves.”
Cornwall’s early struggles were even harder to fathom after Swinton were reduced to 12-men when Louis Brogan was sent to the sinbin after just 90 seconds for a late hit on Matty Turton.
The home side also were forced to play a man light for 10 minutes when prop Paul Bolger (pictured below) was also harshly shown yellow by referee Matthew Lynn for an alleged dangerous tackle.
“You would argue that you didn’t notice they were a man down, just like you didn’t notice that we were in a similar situation at the start of the second half,” Kelly added. “I thought both teams showed a lot of endeavour without playing anything that looked like top-flight rugby.
“I am not too disappointed with my team but far too consistently, we are seeing good things, but in rugby league, you have to do it for 80 minutes.
“There was a lot of effort in the performance that you can applaud but you have to play with emotion for the full 80 minutes.”
Bolger’s yellow card aside, merry whistle blower Lynn also denied Cornwall a clear try for debutant hooker Cole Connolly (pictured below) and he also failed to see Max Roberts’ clear punch on Charley Bodman in a last minute melee.
Those decisions going against Cornwall ultimately didn’t affect the final scoreline but Kelly’s frustration with match officials, especially at home, once again came to the fore.
“A lot of coaches are now looking round on the sidelines wondering what players are getting yellow cards for,” the former Super League Coach of the Year remarked. “I didn’t really see anything in Paul Bolger’s sinbin and I’m not blaming the referee in any way shape or form, but I don’t think we are being refereed consistently.
“At home, we are getting a lot of young referee’s who don’t have the experience of an older referee and we are paying a price for that.
“I have always said with referee’s, it’s perhaps not about the decisions they do give, more the ones they don’t give.
“I am loathed to criticise the discipline of my team because of this situation where we have a succession of young referees for games in Cornwall. That doesn’t appear to be the case when we are away in the heartland areas.
“Perhaps this is part and parcel of development but people are looking back at some of the decisions that are given and are bemused. We can’t always be punished for being a developmental club.”