Why Edinburgh Monarchs’ secret plan to bring back Swedish rider had to be scrapped

Edinburgh Monarchs drew up a secret plan to reinstate Victor Palovaara or Joel Andersson just a week after dropping the Swedish duo to make way for the return of Sam Masters and new boy Matt Marson.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 6:30 am
Joel Andersson won't be returning to Edinburgh Monarchs

Speculation mounted that it was Scottish star William Lawson who was being lined up for the axe, but Monarchs co-promoter John Campbell said: “We are 100 per cent behind William and we have no intention of dropping him from the team. He is here to stay.”

Palovaara has since signed for Leicester Lions as an injury replacement for Josh Bates.

The shock move was thwarted after Monarchs’ collective team average didn’t drop by enough to allow any changes to go ahead.

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Monarchs team manager Alex Harkess told the Evening News: “Unfortunately it was not possible to proceed as we wanted because we didn’t enough points to play with. We had wondered if it would have been possible to bring back Joel but it didn’t work out, the points limit didn’t allow it. So we will finish the season with the team as it now stands, we have no option now.”

Monarchs tackle Berwick Bandits in the Championship League at Armadale tonight in what should be a match Monarchs are expected to win comfortably, but Harkess warned: “Berwick have given us a few scares at home over the last two or three years, so we have to hope things go smoothly this time.”

The Bandits thrashed Somerset Rebels last weekend, but Harkess pointed out: “Somerset had no appetite for the meeting. It should have been quite a good fixture, but it wasn’t.”

The return of Masters has galvanised Monarchs to some degree, the Australian’s 15 point maximum at league leaders Leicester Lions last week earning Monarchs a rare away point. But Masters didn’t get the scoring support he needed otherwise Monarchs might have been celebrating a full match win.

Said Harkess; “If people think now that Sam is back we will suddenly start winning everywhere, then that is a wee bit ambitious. The point we got at Leicester was a step in the right direction and we have to be satisfied with that.”

The play-offs still remain Monarchs’ ultimate target, but it will take a herculean effort to clinch a top-four spot. Harkess said: “It’s not an ambition just to gain respectability. We will put in the best effort we can to reach the play-offs. There are plenty of fixtures left to make it possible. We have dropped three points at home, but got one of them back at Leicester. We have to start picking up more points on the road anyway. There are enough points left to race for and hopefully we can pick up enough of them to make the play-offs a reality.”

Monarchs rained off match at Berwick has been rearranged for Saturday, September, 7.