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The National examination - Australian Rugby league News
globalrugbyleague - Fri, 13 Apr 2007 09:43:00 GMT
Sheffield trio Neil Law (leg), Jon Aston (ankle) and Paul Pickering (knee) are all expected to miss out on Friday night’s Co-operative National League One match against Widnes.
Eagles’ boss Mark Aston believes his side’s mental approach will help to determine their success against the Vikings.
Aston said: “It will test the character of the players but they should be up for it.
“We have three points – which is better than the promoted team got last year.
“We have to be positive; we have already got a result at Batley, who finished in the top six last season. If we had done the things we had practiced we could have opened them up a little bit more.”
Vikings’ coach Steve McCormack is hoping to have Mick Cassidy back in contention.
McCormack said: “Our display on Easter Monday against Rochdale was another professional performance and we need to continue in the same manner against Sheffield on Friday night.”
SUNDAY 15th April 2007
Tigers’ boss Terry Matterson is refusing to rest on his laurels, despite Castleford’s flying start to the Co-operative National League One campaign.
Matterson said: “Although it’s always good to read nice things being said about you, we’re taking nothing for granted.
“Batley are a team who’ve improved in recent years and they’ve made a good start to their season. They fared very well against some of the top sides last year and we don’t treat anybody lightly.”
Bulldogs’ coach Gary Thornton will give a late fitness test to David Best (arm) before deciding his team.
Thornton said: “Castleford are a very impressive team, but they will have played on Thursday, only three days earlier, so that might work in our favour.
“We are going there for a win, and if we can’t get that, we’ll be aiming for the bonus point.”
(Please note – Prior to this match, Doncaster Lakers face Castleford this evening at the Keepmoat Stadium – ko 7.30pm)
Lakers’ temporary head coach Gary Wilkinson is preparing his troops for a grueling schedule that sees them host Castleford Tigers and Leigh in four days.
The former Sheffield Eagles boss has identified Rob Roberts and Aaron Heremaia as two of the Centurions’ most potent weapons but insists his side must be on full alert to claim a success so soon after facing the Tigers.
Wilkinson said: “Leigh have got some very good players in their squad. Rob Roberts and Aaron Heremaia can cause any team problems.
“They’re coming off the back of two defeats, as well, which means they’re going to be even more determined to put things right.
“We’ve got a very, very tough Sunday coming up but we’ll be ready.”
Leigh’s football manager Darren Shaw welcomes back Paul Rowley and Mailangi Styles from suspension.
Rowley’s return is of particular prominence after the former England hooker announced his retirement from playing as of April 29th earlier this week.
The former Halifax star will be looking to end his career on a high before bowing out following Leigh’s home fixture against Sheffield Eagles.
Hornets’ coach Darren Abram is remaining upbeat despite a shocking injury list that is causing disruption ahead of Sunday’s Co-operative National League One clash with Halifax.
Abram said: “There were a lot of positives for us to take out of both our games over the Easter weekend.
“Halifax have lost three out of three now so their performance depends on the reaction of their players.”
Iain Marsh and Gary Hulse are among those considered doubtful for Sunday’s game while Chris Giles and Matt Whittaker are almost certainly out.
Halifax boss Martin Hall will be calling for a big improvement on their shock Easter Monday loss to Dewsbury – a performance Hall claimed he was “embarrassed” by.
Hall is promising to make changes to his side ahead of Sunday’s trip to Rochdale and will take in Thursday’s U21s clash against York in an effort to uncover in-form talent ahead of the weekend.
‘Haven coach Dave Rotheram is likely to be without Scott McAvoy (groin injury) as he attempts to make it three wins from three at the start of the Co-operative National League One campaign.
Whitehaven have conceded only 16 points – an average of eight per game – in their opening two fixtures, a statistic that Rotheram is particularly pleased with.
“We’ve been very miserly in defence,” he said.
“But we’ll have to be ready again on Sunday. Dewsbury are everything you expected from a newly-promoted side. Lawford and Maloney are wise old heads, they’re full of enthusiasm and that result at Halifax was a great showing from them.”
Rams’ boss Andy Kelly has warned his side they face another tough battle when they make the trip to Cumbria.
Kelly said: “For a Co-operative National League Two side coming up a division, it’s going to be tough every week.
“Whitehaven have been consistently in the top three or four for quite a few years now.”
Andrew Bostock and Lee Close are both another week away from fitness for the Rams.
Chris Ramsdale (broken thumb), Matt Strong (shoulder) and Martin Gambles (hamstring) are all doubtful for the Panthers after a bruising Easter weekend.
But Blackpool boss Simon Knox remains in confident mood ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Co-operative National League Two newcomers Oldham.
Knox said: “We’re asking questions of the opposition’s defence, we just have to learn to be a bit more ruthless and develop a killer instinct.
“The guys want to win this weekend and we need to get a result to spark us up the league.
“Oldham have got a couple of good half-backs and they’ll be very well coached, but if we can control their halves then I’m confident we can get a result.”
Oldham will be without Lee Wingfield, after scans on his knee injury ruled him out for the rest of the season.
But Drew Houston and Kris Smith are expected to take part, despite picking up slight bumps in last week’s opening day clash against Featherstone.
Johnny Scott is expected to return to the Thunder line-up after recovering from a virus while Shane Wooden is thought to have got over his ankle injury.
Gateshead coach Dave Woods said: “Our performances over Easter were so different, you wouldn’t have thought it was the same team.
“I know a couple of Barrow players from past encounters and we’ll have to be on our guard. They’re a good side with two good wins under their belt already this season.”
Raiders’ coach Paul Crarey wants his side to concentrate on their free-flowing approach.
Crarey said: “It’s going to be tough every week. We try to play fluent football and other teams try to stop us doing that.
“But we’ve got to rise above that and try to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re scoring a lot of points.”
Mike Hastings (shoulder) is set for an extended spell on the sidelines but Keighley player-coach Barry Eaton is hoping to have Matt Foster available again after missing Easter Monday’s fixture at Featherstone due to a back injury.
Eaton said: “I was totally satisfied with everyone’s attitude and commitment at Featherstone and if we play like that again then I’ll have no complaints.
“Celtic are probably favourites to win this league and it’s going to be a big ask for anybody to overcome them.
“But if we give our all then we’ll come off happy – you can’t ask for anything more.”
Crusaders’ coach John Dixon is set to recall Anthony Blackwood after his recovery from injury.
Dixon said: “Keighley were pretty competitive at Featherstone and they’ll be very keen against us, that’s for sure.
“When we went up there last year it was one of the best games we were involved in and I’m sure there’ll be more great footy this week.”
Lions’ boss Paul Kidd has been hit by the news that Craig Farrimond is facing six weeks on the sidelines after dislocating his elbow.
However, Darren Woods (shoulder) could be fit in time for Sunday’s Co-operative National League Two fixture against the Skolars.
Kidd said: “London are very enthusiastic and they certainly won’t give up.
“But I’m looking for us to produce a performance that will help us to build some more confidence.”
Skolars’ coach Latham Tawhai is facing a selection headache after admitting his squad was “pretty beaten up” after the demands of the last three weeks.
Jamie Nowland (shoulder) is still out while Tawhai will give late fitness tests to a number of other players.
Tawhai said: “Swinton have got quality players and a quality coach.
”We’re playing on their patch and every game is always going to be a tough one, but on any given day anyone can b - Read More, Here