Thursday, 7 May 2015

Saturday's Coming - Swinton Lions

Sorry this is a bit of a truncated, stop-gap preview this week - travelling with work has curtailed the amount of time we’ve had to write the blog. So, rather than the usual richly crafted prose, this is a bit of a hatchet-job chopped out in a busy railway station Starbucks (other coffee shops are available - we recommend Café Newtown and Badde Manors in Glebe: tell them Jim sent you and ask for a discount).

Saturday sees the second act in this season’s rendition of one of the Oldest derby games in World Rugby League. The Lions hold the upper hand, having dumped Hornets out of the Challenge Cup (a game we missed because we were at Badde Manors at Glebe), so redemption in a game that matters would be very welcome.

Swinton: founded in the bar of the White Lion.
So here's a Lion Bar.
Our rivalry with Swinton is an interesting one in so much as we quite like them. Indeed it’s fair to say that some of our best and most respected friends in Rugby League will be at the game on Saturday - wearing Swinton shirts. And having spent some quality RL time on the opposite side of the world with ‘Swinton Steve’ it’ll be a desperate shame to ruin his weekend. But ruin it we must if we are to maintain pressure in that leading pack of clubs. Swinton -  as expected - are snapping at Hornets’ heels in 5th place with two wins and a draw and a game in hand  - so a proper old-skool four pointer.

Catching our attention this week is the Lions’ centre partnership - it’s Mick Nanyn and Stuart Littler, the latter weighing in with a hat-trick in last week’s win over York. Hornets fans will be acutely aware of the capabilities of these two and we fancy the three-quarters battle to be a key component in who comes out on top.

OK - we have a train to catch. See you there on Saturday - it’s always a cracker against Swinton. Don’t miss it

The RFL’s official match preview says:

Rochdale Hornets put in a convincing display against Coventry Bears but coach Ian Talbot believes his side have more to give. “We should have beaten Coventry by a lot more points at the weekend. We really have to be more ruthless with the ball and take opportunities when we get them,” he said.

“We played Swinton in the Challenge Cup and they beat us comfortably 30-12 so it’s important that we go out there on Saturday and do ourselves justice by putting in a good performance. It is also really good to welcome Alex Trumper back into the team after a long-term injury.”

Swinton Lions coach John Duffy said: “It was pleasing to get the win against York but in the last seven minutes we conceded two tries, which was disappointing. We have to stop switching off when we get in front, we’ve got to keep our foot down on the pedal so we’ll be looking at that this week.

“Rochdale is always a tough one, they make a point of wanting to beat us with it being a local derby. It’s a great stadium we’re going to be playing in and hopefully we can play some rugby but we’ll have to tough it out in defence first; they’ve got some big boys up the middle.”

Centre Matt Gardner is a doubt for Swinton.