By Haden Tye
Cameron Setter has committed his future to Albion by signing a new one-year deal and says that the former struggles at the club has added a grit and determination for success.
Cam suggested that a lot of the players know about the previous problems that the club had, which means they are more determined than ever to deliver success to the Brickfields faithful.
Albion’s scrum-half says that everything at the club is coming together at the right time as Kieran Hallett’s men prepare to push for promotion out of National League One.
“I think a lot of players know,” said Cam of the former problems. “Especially over the past couple of years where we have had the trouble of not being paid for a month and real risk of the club going under. With Dave and Bruce coming in it seems like the behind the scenes stuff is now all on track. The rugby has always been really good at Plymouth Albion. So now everything is coming together at the right time.
“It should give us a really good push. Bruce always talks about vision, he says vision all the time. But it is that vision that actually now we have got the business side of things right, we have got the rugby, we have got the coaches, we have got the players – it is just all there for us to really progress now.
“Those of us that have stuck through it have got that grit and determination to keep pushing on. A lot of the boys now, me included, are getting jobs. But there is still that hunger, there is still that drive. Everyone is thinking we can still get promotion here; we can do really well this year. The fact we have got a young squad, there is that no fear element. The boys who have come in are very young but there is no fear at all. They go out, play and try things out and really push us every game.
“I think that is a massive factor to our success. They have got that no fear, they are trying things and the boys that have been there in those hard times have got a bit of grit, a bit of determination and that is when it really counts when you have got the likes of Coventry and Ampthill, and in those close-knit games a little bit of resilience just helps us to get the win.”
Albion stormed to 13 consecutive victories at the end of last season and Cam is confident that this will bode well for the coming campaign.
“It’s been really good,” said Cam of the last year at Albion. “Especially towards the tail end of the season, where we have gone unbeaten for quite a while. That carries a good bit of momentum forwarded to next season. I think we have really grown as a team. We started off the season, even from the time I have been at Albion, chopping and changing almost half the team.
“Even when Dan Parkes left we quickly bonded. The fact that we have got Kieran Hallett and Julian Salvi, who are ex-players but also they are young coaches so they are keen to learn and try things out with us and we have massively bought into what they are doing and I think we have had a really good year. Hopefully next year, with a few different players coming in as well and keeping the core of the squad, I think we will do really really well.”
Kieran and Cam had agreed that the scrum-half’s future would remain at Brickfields much earlier on in the season, although the deal took a little while to confirm.
“I talked to Kieran quite early on in the year,” said Cam. “He said he was interested in keeping me for next year. That was almost halfway through the season and I had already played a lot of rugby and coming towards the end of the season again he was keen to keep me on and it quite quickly developed from there.
“Then as we got towards the end of the season I rang him and with my teaching stuff. I had a lot on at the same time and he was probably looking for other players as well. It then took a little bit of time. We had everything in place as Kieran and I had agreed what we wanted to do. I needed to speak to a few people and he needed to speak to a few people. It was agreed that I was going to stay for a while but then it was just getting pen to paper, signing it and handing it in.
There was a lot of competition for places in Kieran’s side last season, with Albion’s coach regularly rotating winning teams towards the end of last season. Cam, who admits to being a very competitive player, feels the competition for places at Albion spurs him on.
“I have known ‘Sheppy’ [Matt Shepherd] for a few years,” said Cam. “When he first was signed he was signed as a scrum-half so we had a bit of a ding dong even way back then. It is really good [to have competition]. It pushes all the players. I definitely took it for granted at the start of the year when Jack [Maunder] got pushed up to the Chiefs and there was no one else really about.
“It kind of helped me with my teaching as I could spend more time on my teaching than the rugby. But as soon as Sheppy starts putting the pressure on me, or looking towards next year, another scrum-half starts putting the pressure on me, I am ready to push on either more. I am super-determined. I hate losing out on anything. I am super competitive, and it definitely drives me.
“Look at our back five last year – our pack last year. All of those players could have played Championship rugby last year. They made a massive push. It also helps out with rotating players and keeping players fresh for the season. It is a long season and playing 20 to 30 games a year you get warn out. Having that depth in the squad allows for a little bit of rotation just to keep things fresh and keep the boys ticking over.”
Cam, who has just turned 24, says that he loves the club and is hopeful of a successful season ahead.
“I love Plymouth Albion anyway as it is and I think the rugby side of things has always been really good and really competitive. Now with Bruce [Priday] and Dave [Venables] involved, they have managed to get the business side and the behind the scenes stuff on track. Now everything is all coming together at the right time. I think it will help us that no team has been relegated so we are the in-form team to get promoted next season. I think this coming year will be a good year for us.”