Sheffield Steelers lacked unity and team spirit, reveals assistant coach

Davey Phillips and Mathieu Roy after the Play Off final loss
Davey Phillips and Mathieu Roy after the Play Off final loss

Jerry Andersson has revealed that team spirit and togetherness was an issue behind the scenes at Steelers in their empty-handed 2017-18 season.

The assistant coach, who has quit Sheffield to return home to Sweden after two years as Paul Thompson’s right hand man, said the unity did not compare favourably with the season before.

Andersson said team spirit for the 2016-17 campaign was “nine out of ten.” But the squad which has just finished without a trophy was “under seven.”

John Armstrong, the centre who returned from injury had already told The Star that he spotted fatigue of spirit when he returned to the scene. But Andersson went further, saying: “We had some players who took more energy than the gave it.

“Players who never look in the mirror before they start to comment on other players. This does nothing for team spirit...we had some of those.”

The deputy coach said the club’s early season defeats in their Conference - they won one of the first 10 contests - lowered spirits in the camp.

Sheffield Steelers coaching duo Jerry Andersson (left) and Pahul Thompson

Sheffield Steelers coaching duo Jerry Andersson (left) and Pahul Thompson

That feeling began to snowball, he said, adding that the injuries were also a negative factor.

So much so that they had “too many bad practices” because of unavailable players.

Andersson said, given the injury toll, the high point of last season was to qualify for the final four and beat Nottingham Panthers in the Play off semi finals.

The worst point in his two-year tenure was Boxing Day 2016, when Sheffield lost 2-3 at home to Panthers, a game Thompson said his side “didn’t turn up.”

Andersson described it as a “horrible night.”

He said he also disliked the times in 2017-2018 when matches went the “wrong way and the crowd goes hard in our Arena, especially against the GM.”

*Andersson had a unique insight into Steelers class of 2017-18. Look out for more of his observations, soon.

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