Watkins wants Hill to “lead by example” again

Tom Watkins expects Phil Hill to once again “lead by example” at Telford Tigers next season, after he agreed terms on a return to Shropshire.

The former Great Britain international was one of Telford’s top scorers last year, collecting 46 points in just 43 games.

Those figures will have marked out Hill as a key target for several EPL sides, with competition increasing for quality British players.

But Watkins quickly swooped to retain the services of his forward, who will be a senior face in a much-changed Tigers line-up.

He said: “Phil is an excellent two-way player, who adds very good size to our squad and has experience of playing at the top level in this country.

“He’s a great guy and teammate, who will lead by example with his work ethic and commitment, to both games and training through the week. He sets a good standard for others to follow.

“Phil knows what it takes to be a professional hockey player, he looks after himself very well and is in great shape.

“He’s a team guy first and foremost, always willing to do whatever is needed for the team, which is really important.”

Hill’s return from injury during last season’s play-offs illustrated that commitment, as he defied doctors’ orders to face MK Lightning, albeit briefly.

Watkins added: “Phil was desperately disappointed during that game, as he couldn’t carry on for long because of his injury. He came back early from a lengthy injury lay-off to help his team.

“I thought he was making a big difference for us, playing that physical play-off hockey. When he left the game it hurt us as a team.

“That character and level of commitment shows the kind of guy he is.”

Hill’s unassuming style meant he rarely collected the plaudits last season, despite his point-per-game scoring ratio.

“Phil is a reliable performer and that comes from years of experience,” Watkins said.

“He will play at the same level every night, which from a coach’s point of view is very important. He is very strong along the walls, creates space for others and is a very good penalty killer.

“Phil is an excellent professional, and that helps to create a strong team culture within the dressing room.”

(Image permission: Steve Brodie)

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