Goode Keen To Make Positive Impact For Falcons

Wednesday 30 December 2015 Written by: Adam

Despite fearing his career was over just a few short months ago, Fly Half Andy Goode believes he still has a positive impact to make on the game and is looking forward to doing so with new club Newcastle Falcons.

Having signed terms with the Falcons over the weekend, Goode was thrown straight in at the deep end with a full day of training at Kingston Park Stadium yesterday, and the renowned goal kicker was very impressed with what he saw.

“There’s a good squad here with some very exciting players and a lot of talent. The other two Fly Halves, Craig Willis and Tom Catterick are both good young players and there are plenty of others too; Watson on the Wing, Hammersley at Full Back, Taity and Harris for starters.”

And it’s not only his team mates that the 17-times capped England international has been impressed with in his first days at Kingston Park; “The surface here is brilliant, and makes for a fast attacking game – which I might find hard but I’m looking forward to playing! And Dean, Wellsy and Dave are people I have a lot of respect for and good relationships with, so I want to do as much as I can to help while I’m here over the next three months.”

Less than four months after announcing his decision to hang up his boots, many were surprised to hear Monday’s news that the Aviva Premiership veteran had signed terms with the North East club, but it wasn’t a move Goode had anticipated.

“I had a shoulder and knee operation over the summer and while I was at London Irish over pre-season I just felt my body wasn’t good enough to carry on, especially not during a 28 week season of back to back games. I felt I couldn’t do myself justice for another season.

“But I’ve had three or four months out of the game now and my body seems to have recuperated a little bit. Then last week I was walking the dog when my phone went and it was Dean Richards.

“I didn’t think I was missing playing but from speaking to Dean there was an itch there to do it. I’ve really enjoyed my first day of training, and being part of that team camaraderie again. So hopefully I can help as much as I can over the next three months while Mike Delany is injured and help the club to try to get some wins and jump up the table.”

Although that underlying desire to get back on the field was a strong one, 35 year old Goode admits that the offer from his former Leicester Tigers coach was a particular drive in the decision to return to the professional game.

“Dean and I go back a long way as he was there when I was at Leicester and with the injury to Mike –a player we both rate very highly – he’s looking for a grumpy old man to sit next to him at times. Dean showed a lot of faith in me as a youngster and it was a definite draw to come back and work with him again.”

But the Director of Rugby isn’t the only member of the Falcons’ coaching staff with whom Goode is acquainted, Head Coach John Wells having been at Leicester during his time there and Attack Coach Dave Walder a familiar adversary in days gone by.

“Dave and I have played with each other in England A squads years ago but obviously I had a lot of battles against him over the years for Newcastle while I was at Leicester and later when he was at Wasps, so he’s a good friend and a good guy. I have a massive amount of respect for him and he’s out a new attacking shape in here which looks good at training.”

And for the Premiership’s second highest ever points scorer, there is one key area of focus during his time with the Falcons.

“In the first 15 minutes of the game against Leicester we attacked really well, and obviously as a ten you look at that. Wellsy beats the drum about defence too but my primary focus is attack and there’s some real talent here.

“They’re good, young players who want to run everything. I’m at the other end of the spectrum; a bit older and a bit grumpier and I like kicking a fair bit, so it’s finding that balance.”

And there are two of the Falcons’ young stars in particular that Goode will be working closely with during his time on Tyneside.

“Craig Willis and Tom Catterick are both very good young Fly Halves. I have the benefit of age and experience but they have that youthful exuberance and some skills that perhaps I don’t. Hopefully between the three of us my experience will help them and their youth will rub off on me!

“Those two guys are already playing well though – Craig has taken the shirt over the last couple of weeks and done really well, so if I’m in a supporting role for those guys that’s great, but if I’m playing week in week out then that would be great too. Dean and the coaches will do what they think is best and I’m very supportive of playing whatever part they want me to.”

Coventry-born Goode is no stranger to Newcastle Falcons fans, having scored 200 league points against the North East club in his 17 year playing career. But the former Leicester, Saracens, Wasps and Worcester man is hopeful of using his skills for the good of the Falcons now as the Newcastle team look to kick-start their league campaign.

“The Premiership isn’t an easy league to be in and especially this season it’s a battle. But I’ve always liked challenges in my career. In our case part of the reason behind the lack of wins so far is confidence and part is experience of knowing how to play games to gain the wins.

“I’m confident that first league win will come and when it does others will follow and we’ll grow from there and be able to climb up the table a bit.

“Leicester last weekend was probably our best league performance of the season so far in defeat and something to really grow from as a squad. Hopefully we’ll reap some benefits from that and have a good training week this week, ready to play a Bath team that may not be on top of their game but are still very dangerous.”

With the squad to face Bath due to be announced tomorrow, Goode is in contention to make his first home appearance for the Falcons this weekend.

Tickets for that game, which kicks off at 3pm on Saturday, are on sale now starting from £15 for adults and £7.50 for juniors, and can be purchased [online][1], in person from the Kingston Park Stadium Ticket Office or by calling the Falcons’ 24 hour Ticket Hotline on 0871 226 6060.