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Griffiths so proud after first campaign; RUGBY LEAGUE.

NORTH Wales Crusaders boss Clive Griffiths has congratulated his players on a good first season which saw them only four points adrift of the top half of Championship One.

The former Wales coach was pleased with the season's performance even though he was disappointed with the last two games, both of which ended in large defeats.

But he knows that the development of rugby league in North Wales is still in its infancy and that there are far more developments to come in the region.

"We've had eight wins in 2012, seven league and one cup, and a trip to Wigan out of it," Griffiths said.

"We finished higher than more established sides, we were only four points off the top half of the table and were in a play-off position at one point.

"You have to be realistic and say that's not a bad season after a blank sheet of paper at the start of December.

"We've got a developing under 18 side and a strong North Wales Conference set up. We had Jono Reid from the under-18s on stand-by for us last weekend. We are developing players and we are trying to establish a pathway through."

Griffiths feels that his side were a little unfortunate to be on the end of a 58-20 scoreline last Sunday but knows where he needs to strengthen the squad for next year.

"We were outgunned by a far more experienced side on Sunday," he said. "We have to put our feet on the ground sometimes and expect it more. They're well-seasoned and it was our first year.

"We were really competitive for about 20 minutes and looked a good side in every department. But then we were on the end of two very dubious decisions which gave them good field position and that's happened five or six times this season which is very frustrating.

"When you're away like that we need things to go our way and field position and momentum is everything. We had both of those. It was 12-10, we had them worried and flustered but through penalties and our own inability to complete sets let them off the leash and they capitalised with three quick-fire tries to make the score 30-10.

"The harsh reality of this year is that we know what we need to do next year and that's focus more on our defence and we need to recruit players capable of that to go with our already very good attack."

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Crusaders' Clive Griffiths
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 5, 2012
Words:418
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