THE All Blacks are providing the template for Workington Town head coach Chris Thorman’s rebuild at Derwent Park.

The fearsome New Zealand national team have long given as much importance to a player’s character as his ability on the pitch.

Thorman has adopted that approach as he looks to reshape the Town squad and mould a team capable of delivering promotion from League 1

And he believes the four players he has brought to the club who were not part of last season’s team embody that philosophy.

“My first priority when it comes to bringing players into the club and the team is that they are good people,” he said.

“The All Blacks are a good template to work off and I’ve read a lot of books about what makes a good team-mate and functioning unit.

“You judge players as people before you judge them as players.

“They have a really good work ethic and are really coachable, all four of the new signings.

“Gabe Fell is from a really good Wigan environment and he knows all about hard work.

“Elliot Hall is an intelligent young man who wants to get better.

“Conor Fitzsimmons is a local lad who wants to come back and improve his club.

“And Marcus O’Brien is probably our best trainer at the moment and that’s significant because he’s never been in that semi-pro environment before.”

The players have been training five times a week – three times together as a squad and twice with team-mates based close to them – and Thorman has been impressed with their fitness levels and work ethic in the early stages of pre-season.

“It’s been going pretty well so far,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of pre-seasons as a player and planned a lot as a coach now and I think sometimes coaches emphasise the physical stuff a little bit much, prioritising the running more than the ball.

“The seasons come around sooner every year.

“We’ve been challenging them a lot and although they’re a semi-professional team they’ve been training like a full-time one.”

Meanwhile, Town have been installed as joint-fourth favourites to win the title at 8/1 in the early odds, behind Barrow, Doncaster and Newcastle and level with Rochdale, but Thorman dismissed the notion that that would have any influence on him or his players.

“What it comes down to is who is the tightest group, the best coached and physically who can ride their luck a little bit and stay injury free,” he added.