Kingstone Press Championship Round 15 previews

Liam Kay of Leigh Centurions in action against Featherstone. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography
Liam Kay of Leigh Centurions in action against Featherstone. Photo: Paul McCarthy Photography

A look ahead to this weekend’s action in the Kingstone Press Championship including Whitehaven v Leigh.

Whitehaven v Leigh Centurions (3.00)

Whitehaven came off second best in the Cumbrian derby against Workington Town at the Summer Bash. Coach James Coyle said: “We wanted to get a lot more out of the game and gave ourselves every chance to, but we fell away in the second half.

“This week we’ll just concentrate on how well we can play. We’ll lose two of our main front rowers in Jonny Walker and Richie Beaumont, who are on loan from Leigh, and it’s going to be difficult without them

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley was delighted with his side’s win over Featherstone Rovers: “I thought for 50 minutes we were outstanding,” he said.

“Whitehaven are a different animal at home. They are highly motivated and have had a couple of close results. The new lads have made a positive impact. We’ll have to be strong and be at our best because they all want to be the first to knock us off. It’s going to be another tough battle.”

Hunslet Hawks v Sheffield Eagles (Friday, 8.00pm)

Hunslet Hawks’ coach Barry Eaton was pleased with his side’s win over Doncaster in what could have been a tricky fixture: “It was a tough game under the circumstances with Doncaster losing their coach,” he said. “Generally there is a response from any team in any team sport.

“We had to deal with that and having watched Doncaster’s previous two to three games and then the way they played on Sunday, I think it’s probably the best they’ve played over the last month or so – which made the win even more pleasing.

“This week there are similar circumstances to last week but we’re talking about a top of the table team in Sheffield and they’ll be smarting after their defeat. But we’re at home and gave a real good account of ourselves at their place and felt really, really frustrated that we hadn’t pushed them right to the wire. We reckon we can push them really close this week.”

Mark Aston, the Sheffield Eagles coach was desperately disappointed with the heavy defeat to London Broncos: “We never came to the show,” he said. “We’ve dusted ourselves down, talked a few home truths and it’s a test of character what response you get - hopefully it will be positive. We’ve been pretty honest and tough, if training’s anything to go by they’re ready to put it right

“It depends what team turns up. If it’s the one we all love then we’ll go out and do the job that we are capable of doing – if it isn’t, who knows? It’s about getting consistency and I don’t think we have. I’ve made a couple of changes to try and sort it out.”

Dewsbury Rams v Doncaster (3.00)

Dewsbury Rams came through a tough local derby against Batley Bulldogs at the Summer Bash. Coach Glenn Morrison said: “We needed to win to keep in the top four. The performance wasn’t the best but three games in a week took its toll and a local derby is always going to be tough.

“Doncaster are in a tough place at the moment. I want to see them do well but obviously not this week. I’m sure we’ll see a bit of reaction from them. We want to keep the momentum going.”

Carl Hall, the Doncaster chief executive, was happy with his side’s performance against Hunslet Hawks. “I was really pleased with the effort but there were periods which cost us just by being foolish really,” he said. “Our kicking game was poor in the first 25 minutes but the effort was there for everyone to see and the boys really rolled their sleeves up and had a go.

“Dewsbury are a great side, Glenn Morrison’s a great fella, he’s transformed that club and (chairman) Mark Sawyer deserves all the rewards he’s getting at the moment. They are a good club.”

Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (3.00)

Andy Hay, the Featherstone Rovers coach, is hoping his side can bounce back from a poor showing against Leigh Centurions: “We didn’t do ourselves justice last week,” he said. “We were very scrappy in our attack and lost a little bit of discipline. We went there prepared to play and didn’t get the opportunity so we were disappointed with the outcome of the game.

“This is a big game for us, it’s going to be a tough encounter; it usually is against any team John Kear is coaching. We need the win because we’ve got aspirations of the top four so we need to pick up points at home.”

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear said: “It was tough last week. There were parts of the game where we dominated but unfortunately we didn’t dominate on the scoreboard. That’s something we’ve got to improve upon.

“Dewsbury were a team who were hunting the top four and Featherstone are certainly a team that are doing that. They’ve got some real high quality individuals and they’re a high quality team.”

Centre Shaun Squires should return this week after recovering from a rib injury.

London Broncos v Bradford Bulls (3.00)

London Broncos coach Andrew Henderson took to the field for the first time in six months at the Summer Bash and helped his side to a comprehensive win over Sheffield Eagles. He may well put his boots on again this weekend: “I was a little bit battered and sore after the game but it felt a little bit better off the back of a win, that’s for sure,” he said.

“It was by far our best performance of the season, we were very good with the ball and good without the ball. Sheffield troubled us a couple of times but I felt our scramble and our endeavour to work hard for each other nullified any real threat from them. Overall I thought our defensive performance was very good and with the ball we created a lot of opportunities.

“We go into the game with Bradford with a lot more confidence than we would have done three or four weeks ago. Certainly, if we put in a performance in the fashion that we did on the weekend at the Summer Bash then we’re going to draw a lot of confidence from that.

“The boys have been buzzing all week but we’re not naïve enough to think we just have to turn up to win the game. Bradford are a very, very good side, they’ve got some great key players. They play a lot of football and ask a lot of questions of you so we’re going to be tested in a different way this week. The challenge for us, which it has been all season, is consistency.”

Workington Town v Halifax (3.00)

Phil Veivers, the Workington Town coach was happy to get the win over Whitehaven last week but not too impressed with the overall performance: “I was not overly keen on how we performed in the first half,” he said. “I thought we were pretty loose in the second but we ground out the win, which is a positive for us. There was great desire from the players to get out of the hole they had dug themselves but it was an average performance from us.

“Halifax gave us a hiding up at their joint in Round Nine; we didn’t really get off the bus. I watched them against Bradford and they were very physical and ran them very close. They’re a very competitive outfit and well coached by Richie Marshall. Scott Murrell and Danny Craven make them tick.”

Halifax coach Richard Marshall saw positives in his side’s defeat to Bradford Bulls at the Summer Bash: “I thought we competed for large parts of the game and defended well at times,” he said. “I just thought we lacked concentration and Bradford have some class individuals who punished us. But we put a lot of effort in and made the most tackles of the season. We did some good work in the game but unfortunately came up short.

“We also picked up a few injuries. We lost Mitch Cahalane with a medial ligament injury, who will probably be out for eight weeks. Ryan Maneely went over on his ankle and Adam Robinson has a torn calf. So we have to change the team around this week but we put in a good performance last week and need to build on that.

“Workington had a great game last week so it will be difficult. We had a good game against them at home a few weeks ago and played really well, so we’ve got to remember that.”