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Thursday, 23 October 2014

New signings as Woods and Seeds get to work

WHITEHAVEN have signed their former winger Chris Fleming while promising young full-back Shane Ackerley has also put pen to paper on a new Haven deal.

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David Seeds: Decision to appoint him was a ‘no-brainer’ says Haven coach Woods

Fleming’s Haven career over the last two seasons was interrupted by shoulder problems, but the ex-Warrington flyer showed major promise when fit, while Ackerley is keen to break through after spending much of last season on loan at Gateshead Thunder.

“Chris had options to go to other clubs, but he wanted to play for Whitehaven,” said chief executive Barry Richardson.

“His surgeon has given him as much of a guarantee as he can that the shoulder is now okay and won’t be a problem. He is so enthusiastic about playing for the club and that’s what we want.

“Shane is the same. He got some experience at Gateshead and now wants to establish himself as a full-back in our first-team. Dave Woods saw quite a bit of him at Gateshead and thinks there’s something to work with. His attitude is second-to-none and he has shown fantastic commitment. Even when at Gateshead, he was training over here as well. I hope he comes back and has a really good season for us.”

Fleming touched down in the opening three games of last season before suffering a shoulder injury which kept him out of contention for over five months.

He then joined Castleford Tigers on trial but had little time to impress in their Under-20 with just four games left to play.

Ackerley was a regular for Thunder in Championship One, turning out on the wing as well as full-back, though he is best known as a No 1.

Haven have also strengthened their pack with the addition of former Hull FC prospect James Newton on a two-year deal.

The 20-year-old hooker, from Millom, penned a two-year contract with Hull in January, 2011 and skippered their Under-20s last term.

“He’s a local kid who has spent a lot of time at a professional club. I spoke to Peter Gentle at Hull who gave him a glowing report. He said he was a real tough kid,” declared coach Woods, who was impressed with Newton’s attitude when they met. “He’s keen to get going and looks really fit.”

Meanwhile, Woods labelled his decision to bring back David Seeds to the Recre as his No 2 as a no-brainer.

The Aussie believes Seeds, who coached Haven in 2011 following a glittering playing career, was a natural choice as his assistant.

“He’s a good, young coach who is learning the game,” said Woods. “It was tough for him being thrown in virtually as soon as he finished playing. But he’s a Whitehaven legend who has done it all and has Whitehaven at heart.”

Woods reckons Seeds could eventually return to the Recre hotseat, as he continues to learn the coaching trade.

“I’m looking forward to working with him. I think we will work well together. He will bring passion to the club,” added Woods, who could add still further to his coaching line-up.

Seeds added: “Dave has a wealth of experience and knowledge, and some great contacts within the game.

“I had a year of coaching under my belt, and when Dave jumped on board there was a chance for me to learn from him.

“The timing is right for me to jump back in and I’m glad he asked me to come back down.”

Eye on the Ball: p49

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