SWINDON Storm head coach Steve Bennett believes his new class of rookie players will be better prepared than those who went before them when the new season gets underway on Sunday.

Storm kick-off their second competitive campaign at home to Farnham Knights at Supermarine on Sunday with a squad made up of returning players from their first season of action, supplemented by 18 new players who only started playing the sport at the turn of the year.

Bennett and his team of coaches have introduced the rookies in a different manner than in the past, ensuring they specialise in certain areas rather than trying to teach them the entirety of the sport in one go, and the head coach is hoping the new approach will pay off.

“We learnt a few lessons from the way we did things last year and hopefully they will pay off for us this time,” he said.

“The main change is the way in which we have introduced the rookies to American football and this year we’ve given them a lot less to learn and focused on really developing their core skills of blocking, tackling and shedding blocks. It’s paid off because we have much higher levels of retention going into the season and you can see it in their eyes.

“They’re really all desperate to get on the field but we have held them back a little bit and kept them hungry. We played a friendly with Bury St Edmunds and, although they only did a little bit in terms of gametime, they did everything we asked them to do.”

Storm are urgently searching for sideline staff to help run their home games at Supermarine this season.

Chain crew are needed to help mark the start and end point of each play, with all volunteers getting a free Storm t-shirt as well as the opportunity to watch the game up close.

Anyone interested can fill in an online form on www.swindonstorm.org.uk, and need to be at Supermarine rugby club for 1.45pm on game day to be briefed by the referee. The games should finish at around 5pm.