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11 January 2019

Gavin Bennion has previewed the weekend’s friendly against Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium, where he played in the 2018 Super League season.

Gavin Bennion admits he has people ‘to prove wrong’ as he returns to the AJ Bell Stadium with Swinton Lions in the first fixture of 2019.

The Welsh international recently appeared in the European Championships and 2021 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers for John Kear’s side, and is looking forward to his return to Salford with the Lions this weekend.

Stuart Littler’s fresh-looking side will make the short trip to AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday to face Super League outfit Salford Red Devils in the first of three pre-season fixtures, including two home matches against North Wales Crusaders and Oldham.

The new Lions number 8 was signed by Salford in 2018, following a successful year with Rochdale Hornets, but was a marquee signing for Swinton during the off-season.

“It will be good to return to AJ Bell Stadium. I’ve got people to prove wrong, so I want to play a good game,” Bennion told swintonlionsrlfc.co.uk.

“I’m pretty excited about it. No matter what team Salford put out, may it be full strength or not, they’re still a Super League outfit and it’s going to be tough.

“It’s a good way to test ourselves out, and see how pre-season has gone for us.”

Bennion, alongside international teammates Rhodri Lloyd and Mike Butt, and Ireland representative Will Hope, joined pre-season before Christmas, which has seen the Lions pushed to their limits, most recently including a practice against amateur side Leigh Miners.

“I think it’s going well,” said Bennion.

“It’s a good group with a good team spirit. It’s a young, healthy team so there’s a lot of competition and fight for the team which is good. Players will want to prove themselves and show a lot of enthusiasm.

“Stuart is a great coach. He’s played at a high level and many games at Super League. He knows his stuff and I’ve enjoyed his company and his coaching.

“We had a good run through against Leigh Miners on the weekend. It was a couple of sets against each other, which was a good test.  Hopefully the Salford fixture gives some of the new lads some good game time to see what they’re about.”


This Saturday will also see the Lions in the new Supro Sports shirts for the first time, whilst also being led by newly-appointed captain Rhodri Lloyd.

“I think the shirts are really good,” said the 25-year-old.

“It’s really nice fitting, it’s comfortable to play in and it looks the part. I’m excited to play in it.”

On Lloyd’s captaincy, he added: “He fully deserves it. He’s been at the club a few years now and he definitely deserves to be captain. He’s a good leader.”

Swinton Lions return to Heywood Road for the first time of 2019 on January 20th, hosting League One side North Wales Crusaders in the second friendly of the year.

Bennion has previously appeared for Swinton in 2013 and 2014 on dual-registration from Warrington Wolves, whilst also appearing last season. He has scored two tries in 24 appearances for the Lions.

“I like it at Heywood Road,” he said.

“It’s a good vibe and it’s a nice little den. The fans can really interact. I’m looking forward to getting back there and playing.

“Even though I played for Wales only a month and a half ago, it feels like forever since I’ve played so I cant wait to get back playing.”

Swinton Lions travel to the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday 12th January, 1:00pm kick off, with tickets available at the gate. 

Season Ticket deadline is fast approaching – click HERE to read the latest.


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