Caesars Target Premier Place

Sunday afternoon in the north-east, Nottingham Caesars are the visitors of the Northumberland Vikings in the Northern Play-Off Final, with a place in the Premiership North up for grabs.

The Caesars, like their north-east counterparts, have had an unbeaten season, Vanden Warner’s side currently on an eleven-game winning streak following last weekends’ 29-6 win at home to Scunthorpe Alphas in the quarters.

Throughout the regular season, the Caesars have enjoyed five shut-out victories on their way to their best finish since 1995, and for Warner and his coaching team, the big difference between this season, and those of recent times, can be pinpointed to one thing.

“We’re really glad of the extra bodies here this year,” began Warner.

“It’s not just been one or two of us doing lots of different things, there’s a lot of us doing things instead.

“The last four weeks though, the gap between the end of the season and the quarter-finals, it’s been an amazingly long gap, so we’ve had to try and keep the players interested.

“We’ve been at it since January though, so it was a good time to get some rest and heal up a little, although we’ve been lucky a lack of injuries this year as previous years have been horrendous.”

Prior to facing the Caesars in the quarters, Scunthorpe Alphas overcame the challenge of Glasgow Tigers, 24-13, in the NFC1 North Wild Card Play-Off game, whilst the Vikings faced the Chester Romans, who’d seen off Highland Stags, 24-6, in their Wild Card game.

As results worked out, Caesars against Vikings is a game that’s been on the cards for a while now and for Warner and the Caesars, it is one final hurdle to overcome.

“We kind of knew what to expect (against Scunthorpe) as we had a [re-season scrimmage against them, and I know their Head Coach reasonably well,” continued Warner.

“It was never going to be a walkover for us, but we were comfortable, solid defensively; but the offense, we probably could have been a bit more productive.

“We did what we had to do though and kind of expected to be facing the Vikings in the semis.

“Now, it’s a case of reviewing (Vikings) footage as they were always going to be favourites in that division, and our positioning, it wasn’t dissimilar really.

“Our biggest challenge was always going to be Chester (Romans), whilst the Vikings’ was going to be Scunthorpe (Alphas).”

With the Vikings hosting the Caesars in the North, the South sees the Hertfordshire Cheetahs hosting Norwich Devils after they disposed of London Olympians (14-13), and Bournemouth Bobcats (30-7), respectively.

“I caught the closing stages of the Cheetahs – Olympians game,” added Warner.

“I was catching up with family things after our game, so thought I’d check out the live stream; other than that though I’ve not really paid much attention to what’s happening in the South.

“With ourselves though, we’re looking pretty good and feeling positive about things.

“I think we’re ready and it’s what we’ve been gearing towards for some time.

“We’re not looking past this game though (Vikings, Sunday 3 September), and we’ll take care of business there first before anything else.

“It’s also my biggest game as a coach, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it.

“Nerves though, I’ll worry about those on Sunday morning; during the season, I guess I’ve been quite chilled really and, although this is a different prospect for us, we’ve prepared better than last year and been successful because of that.”

Nottingham Caesars visit Northumberland Vikings in the Northern Play-Off final, Sunday 3 September, Druid Park, Woolsington; KO14:00, free entry with free parking available at the Callerton Parkway Metro Station (5 minute walk to ground).

Keep up-to-date with the Caesars via their Facebook here

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @CaesarsFootball long term Caesars coach Vanden Warner.

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