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London Raiders coach Easton expecting two tough tests to start the season

PUBLISHED: 14:00 15 September 2017

London Raiders Thomas Beesley and Jack Cooper battle for the puck with Streatham's Ryan Webb (Pic: John W G Scott

London Raiders Thomas Beesley and Jack Cooper battle for the puck with Streatham's Ryan Webb (Pic: John W G Scott

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London Raiders kick-start their 2017/18 season this weekend and new head coach Sean Easton expects a tough start.

The gold and blue outfit will host rivals Streatham IHC in a cup game at Lee Valley on Saturday (5.15pm), before travelling to face Milton Keynes Thunder in league action the following night (6.15pm).

Former Chelmsford Chieftains coach Easton knows they will be in for two tough tests, but is confident in his side’s ability.

“I’m expecting a high energy game, full of passion against Streatham,” the 31-year-old said.

“It will be our first run out of the season, other then training which can’t represent a game situation, so there will be rust and there will be mistakes, but hard work will overcome that.”

The coach knows Streatham, who beat Lee Valley 12-0 in a friendly recently, will have a game plan when they make the trip to Lea Bridge Road and believes it will be a great match.

“I’m expecting a hard working Streatham team, fast and well-drilled,” he added.

“With the match being Streatham’s first real competitive game, they will be in the same boat as ourselves with some rust, but we know they will be a lot more disciplined to previous years, as will we. I’m expecting a great match.”

Easton went to watch Milton Keynes last weekend as they got their season off to a mixed start with a loss to Bracknell Bees and a win against Invicta Dynamos.

“I saw MK play last week and they looked dangerous,” he admitted.

“They’re a fast slick team with some real top-end talent. It will be a real tough test that we are looking forward to.

“With them having a good first weekend, it will be a measuring stick to where we are early doors.”

Easton also pinpointed Tom Carlon as a key player for Thunder and admits they must be ready for the big ice surface.

“Carlon will be a key player for them this season,” he said.

“Their big ice surface will throw us off a bit, but hopefully we will adapt quick enough.”

The coach also spoke highly of his side’s pre-season preparation.

“Pre-season has gone well, we completed a seven week off-ice fitness programme and have now been training twice a week for the past month,” he said. “We’re looking fast and sharp and hoping this translates into games.”

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