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KENGA: ‘THE VISION OF THE CLUB ATTRACTED ME’

16 December 2018

Jose Kenga admits he is enjoying life as a Lion, and the chance to develop under Swinton Lions Head Coach Stuart Littler helped attract him to the Club.

Jose Kenga discusses his move to Swinton Lions, goals for 2019 and his first pre-season under Head Coach Stuart Littler.

Congo-born forward, Kenga joined the Lions from League One outfit Keighley Cougars for the 2019 Betfred Championship season, adding size and power to the pack.

Kenga experienced his first-grade rugby with Hunslet RLFC in 2016, spending two seasons with the South-Leeds Stadium side before joining Keighley Cougars.

Ahead of joining, the 23-year-old admitted he had interest from elsewhere, but the future of the club and the chance to play under Swinton and Ireland Head Coach Stuart Littler was one he couldn’t resist.

“The vision of the club and where it is looking to be at attracted me,” Kenga told swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk.

“Initially, my heart just went for it. I felt that I really wanted to take things to another level in my career and kick on. It was important for me to find the right place, with the right environment and with the right group and coach for me.

“I really want to develop, and the opportunity to do that in the Championship and a club like Swinton was something that really attracted me.

“The aspirations for this season and the coming years looked great and I’m excited to work with Stuart for my development and as a player.

“Coaches are different. Some are approachable, and others not so much. Some are willing to talk more and ask you questions. Stuart is very approachable, and I’m very comfortable going up to him to ask questions and he’s always willing to help.

“He openly says if you ever have any questions, come to me and it’s good to have a coach like that. I’m already picking up different systems and he’s bringing his touch into my game. Hopefully we can get more and more out of myself.”

 

 

The Hunslet Warriors amateur and Leeds Academy product was amongst 13 new faces at the Lions camp, and recently received the number 19 shirt for the 2019 season from Littler.

The forward admitted that the move was made easier by the squad and staff, which also saw 12 players re-sign for Swinton.

“The lads were very welcoming from the start,” Kenga said.

“Personally, moving with Harry Aaronson, someone that is a familiar face for me, definitely helped.

“When you’re out there and getting the tough sessions and tough challenging times, it brings the lads together. As we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, especially the tough Saturday mornings, the lads have come together.

“When someone is finding it tough, we’re pushing each other and we’re just there and willing to really stick together no matter what, even if it means doing that extra bit together instead of leaving one player alone.”

Kenga and the Lions are well into their pre-season training, which recently included an open training session at the club’s 2019 season launch – a night which saw the 2019 playing kit revealed.

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Next season is shaping up to be one of the most competitive seasons yet, with the inclusions of Bradford Bulls and York City Knights promoted from League One, but Kenga believes the squad preparations will see the Lions have a successful 2019 campaign.

“I’m loving it so far,” Kenga said about pre-season training.

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“It’s getting really good. We’re getting challenged every week and in every session. It’s tough, and we need to do it tough.

“There’s a big emphasis on us building that mental toughness to be very strong, very together and work for each other with no shortcuts.

“It has been challenging and really good and I’m really enjoying it. This is what I wanted.

“I want the club to finish as high as possible. We have targets and we know we finished bottom last season and that’s not somewhere that we want to be.

“This year, it’s to work as hard as we can, perform and make sure we’re in a better position than we were last season.”

 

Stuart Littler’s side face Salford Red Devils in the first of three pre-season fixtures at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2019. Click HERE for more information.

The Lions begin the 2019 Championship season away to Sheffield Eagles, and host Bradford Bulls on February 10th 2019. 

 

 

 

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