Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Sunday's Coming: Workington Town

Workington come to… er… Town on Sunday with a big St Helens connection of their own. They're now coached by Phil Veivers - who scored 98 tries (and five drop goals) in 380 games over a stonking 13 year career at Knowsley Road. Legendary stuff.

Phil gives it to the Aussies
Last week the Cumbrians ended a run of five straight defeats, coming back from 14-6 down to snatch a shock draw with Championship pretenders Halifax. Town scored two quick-fire late tries topped by a last minute penalty from the influential Carl Forber to share the points, leaving Veivers in buoyant mood. 

Speaking in the News & Star (two paper for the price of one!), he said: “There were some individual brain-storms which cost us but generally I was pleased wth the intensity and I thought we could have won it.”

“We’ve worked on our defence and fitness levels, being able to see-out the 80 minutes and I’m satisfied with that aspect of our play against a well-drilled Halifax, one of the better teams in the competition.

“It’s important now to take it on from there and we will be working hard again during the week getting it right for Rochdale. There is still improvement needed but I think we are getting there.”

Most interestingly, Forber finished the game with 100% from the boot, so worth considering that that any kicking opportunity conceded could yield the 2 points that makes the difference.

Having last year registered the whole Widnes squad on Dual Registration, Worky now have a shiny new DR deal with Wigan - and played four Wigan Dual Reg players in last week's game: 19 year-old pie-eating tyro Dominic Manfredi grabbing one of the crucial late tries. 

Another Wigan DR Lewis Tierney missed the Halifax game after suffering medial ligament damage to his knee in Town’s derby defeat at Whitehaven on Good Friday. He remains doubtful for Sunday's game. 

Also in doubt is Town's former Championship One Young Player of the Year, Elliot Miller. The winger tore his ACL back in February and, though the knee has imprioved, he continues to suffer from a prolapsed disc and will learn this week whether he'll need an operation that would end his season.

With Workington currently sitting 11th and a point behind Hornets, this is another crucial 'must win' game for both sides - and a win on Sunday would take Hornets halfway to the ten wins that Ian Talbot said pre-season would put us in the mix to stay up. With only just over a third of the season gone, that'd be a pretty major achievement.

Workington Town Team that drew with Halifax was:
Jack Murphy (DR)
Dominic Manfredi (DR)
Jason Mossop
Kayle Connor
Brett Carter
Graeme Mattinson
Kris Coward
Carl Forber
Sam Powell (DR)
Marc Shackley
Liam McAvoy
Jarrad Stack
Connor Farrell  (DR)
Peter Lupton
Callum Phillips
Brett Phillips
Daniel Rooney

RFL Match Preview

Hornets will be looking to make it four wins in a row when they host Workington Town. Hornets have beaten Whitehaven, North Wales Crusaders and Swinton Lions in recent weeks to climb above the relegation places.

But coach Ian Talbot insists they must be on their guard against a Town side that drew with Halifax on Sunday. Talbot said: “They’re an unpredictable team because they don’t always have the same players from Wigan week-in, week-out. They had Sam Powell last week who has a good relationship with Jack Murphy at full-back, as well as Dom Manfredi and Connor Farrell all down the same edge.”

Talbot will be without centre Mike Ratu after he picked up a potentially season-ending knee injury at weekend.

Workington coach Phil Veivers believes he is now starting to see the kind of progress in his side that he’s been looking for. Veivers said: “Last week was a massive improvement, although we do still have some issues on ball control. But there were lots of positives against Halifax for us."

“I’ve seen Rochdale’s game from the weekend, and they have a pretty big pack and some smart players in Ryan Millard and Paul Crook. They have plenty of threat and some speed on the edges, and we’ll need to be good across the park.”

Veivers’ only injury problem is long-term absentee Elliott Miller.