Nottingham v Doncaster Knights: Only way is up for Knights - Stedman

Andrew Bulumakau scores against London Welsh.

Andrew Bulumakau scores against London Welsh.

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Clive Griffiths knew exactly what he was getting with Ollie Stedman.

The number eight spent part of last season at the club on loan from then Premiership side London Welsh and Griffiths wasted no time in signing him on a permanent basis during the summer.

Fortunately for Griffiths, the player himself was equally keen to join Knights’ Championship crusade.

“It was a good experience last season – great atmosphere, great bunch of guys and a great coaching staff - so I’m more than happy to be back here,” said Stedman.

Ironically, Stedman’s first game as a fully-fledged Knight was against his old club in Saturday’s Championship opener at Castle Park.

And like most people in the ground he felt Knights were unlucky not to beat the big-spending Exiles.

“It was tit-for-tat the whole game and could have gone either way but I thought the boys were outstanding and did enough to win,” he said.

“I’m sure that we gave them a much tougher test than they expected.

“We definitely ruffled a few feathers and showed that we are going to be competitive in the Championship this season.

“The league gets tougher every season but I think we’ve got a much stronger squad.

“We’ve got some really good combinations at half-back and anyone of the players can come in and do a good job. There is certainly going to be a lot of competition for the nine and ten shirts.”

He added: “We are looking to go places and personally I think we should be looking upwards and really challenge the big boys. We’ve shown we can mix it with Welsh and we beat Bristol (in the B&I Cup) late last season so I don’t think we should fear any team in this league.”

Knights face another stern test this weekend when making the relatively short journey down the M1 to take on Nottingham.

“They did the double over us last season so we owe them one,” he said. “If we show up like we did on Saturday then I’d be more than confident of the outcome.”