Rowley warns Leigh not to underestimate Lions

Leigh's Matt Sarsfield was a try scorer at Halifax last Sunday
Leigh's Matt Sarsfield was a try scorer at Halifax last Sunday

A look ahead to Good Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship action including Leigh’s derby with Swinton.

Friday 18 April

Leigh Centurions v Swinton Lions

Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley has warned his players not to underestimate Swinton Lions ahead of Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship fixture.

Rowley said: “They’ve had a couple of good wins and it’s only a few days since they beat Dewsbury, who’ve been one of the form teams so far this year. Beating them is pretty impressive.

“Swinton have been the league’s top bonus point earners over the last couple of seasons, and they’re never a side to be taken lightly. They cause a few upsets every year and run sides close every year. We hold them in the highest respect and we expect a tough encounter.”

Centurions remain unbeaten in the Kingstone Press Championship after recovering from a 24-0 deficit against Halifax last week.

But Rowley insisted: “We’ve been really harsh this week in review. We’ve pulled no punches and the lads know where they need to improve individually and collectively. We hope to see improvements in those areas on Friday.”

Swinton coach Ian Watson is hopeful last week’s victory over Dewsbury Rams can spur on the Lions.

Watson said: “It puts us in a good frame of mind.”

Barrow Raiders v Halifax

Barrow Raiders wing Dalton Grant faces a late fitness test before coach Bobbie Goulding to finalise his team to face Halifax in Friday’s Kingstone Press Championship fixture.

Grant suffered an ankle injury in last week’s defeat against Featherstone Rovers.

Goulding said: “Everybody else is fit and looking to keep in the side.”

Danny Cowling (hamstring) is a doubt for Halifax after missing last week’s match against Leigh Centurions.

Halifax coach Karl Harrison said: “It was certainly a game of two halves. We played exceptionally well in the first half, but we were very slow coming out in the second half.

“Some of the tries they scored were soft. There was some poor try-line defence at time.”

He added: “It was disappointing not to get all three points, but that’s the way the Championship is. We need to improve. We’ve a short turnaround and we need to be ready.”

Dewsbury Rams v Batley Bulldogs

Dewsbury Rams trio Makali Aizue, Stephen Nash and Tommy Gallagher are all doubtful with knee problems.

Rams coach Glenn Morrison is hoping Nash and Gallagher could feature, but neither trained on Tuesday night.

Morrison said: “I’m glad we’re playing Batley Bulldogs this week – it’s an easy game to get up for.

“The boys approach it like a Grand Final when they play their neighbours, and it’ll be good to see the response from last week.”

He added: “Batley are playing some good footy and getting some wins on the board.

“They didn’t have too big a squad to start with, but they’ve bolstered that now and they’re getting results. They’ll be looking to keep going up the table from here.”

Bulldogs coach John Kear is demanding further improvement from his squad despite last week’s win over Keighley Cougars.

Kear said: “We really do need to start games better. There’s a fair bit for us to work on and improve.

“Dewsbury are a good Rugby League team and everybody’s acknowledged that. They’ve beaten some good teams and they’ll be pushing for the top four. It’s going to be a tough evening’s work, but we enjoy challenges like that.”

Featherstone Rovers v Keighley Cougars

In form Featherstone Rovers are aiming for a sixth win in seven Kingstone Press Championship fixtures when they host Keighley Cougars on Friday.

Rovers coach John Bastian said: “We’re just working hard, getting to know each other more and becoming stronger as a group. We’re really enjoying what we’re doing.

“We’re in a good position, but we know we’ve got another important league game against Keighley who’ve been very competitive this year. It’s a game we’re looking forward to.”

He added: “The one area we focused on this week in review was that we can be a little bit smarter in defence, and not concede some of the tries we have done.”

Bastian expects to be picking from “near full strength” for Friday’s match, while Jodie Sheriffe and Daley Williams are both in contention for Keighley.

Cougars coach Paul March said: “We got a point at Batley (last week), and over these two games we wanted four points. We’re playing OK.”

North Wales Crusaders v Rochdale Hornets

Toby Adamson and Andy Moulsdale could both return for North Wales Crusaders, while new signing Sebastien Martins could also make his debut.

Crusaders coach Clive Griffiths said: “It’ll be a humdinger of a game on Friday, but we’re still only in April and we’re just in the process of finding our feet.

“The league is going to split into two as the season goes on – there’ll be a top group, and the others scrapping for ninth place – but the winner of this game will put a bit of daylight between themselves and the loser. It’s an important three points on offer.”

He added: “We’re not taking the chances that we were last year, but once that happens we’ll be back on track.”

Warren Thompson and Shaun Robinson are both in contention for Rochdale Hornets, who are aiming for back-to-back wins following their victory over Whitehaven.

Hornets coach Ian Talbot said: “Last week was all about the result. Our performance wasn’t the best, but we got a result.

“We know North Wales are a quality team, but we’ve got to take that in our stride. There’s a bit of rivalry there already with us both being the promoted clubs last year.”

Whitehaven v Workington Town

Whitehaven coach Dave Woods has been given a major boost with the news that Jessie Joe Parker looks set to feature in Friday’s Cumbrian derby.

Victory for the hosts could kick-start their stuttering campaign, and Woods admitted: “We need it.”

He added: “We should have taken the points last week, but we failed ourselves and our supporters. We need to make amends on Friday.

“Workington are looking good again, but it doesn’t matter whether they’re winning or losing because they always up the ante when they play us.”

Workington Town coach Phil Veivers is without Elliott Miller and Callum Phillips, but otherwise has a full strength squad to pick from.

The former Salford coach is also hoping to have Lewis Tierney, Jack Murphy and Connor Farrell available on dual registration terms from Wigan Warriors.

Veivers has been encouraged by his side’s recent performances. He said: “We’re getting there and improving.”

He added: “I think we’re in a false position in the league table.”