The Lions welcome Dewsbury Rams in Round 19 of the Championship at Heywood Road.
Swinton Lions welcome fellow strugglers Dewsbury Rams in Round 19 of the Betfred Championship.
Stuart Littler’s men are in need of a swift return to winning ways after back-to-back defeats in the Championship against Halifax RLFC and London Broncos. The Lions are just three points behind 10th placed Dewsbury and victory over the Yorkshire side would also bring Swinton within two points of Sheffield Eagles who face a tricky home tie against Toulouse Olympique this weekend.
Sunday’s fixture is the first part of a double-header against teams in the bottom four as Littler leads his side to the Crown Oil Arena the following week, to play Rochdale for the third time this season.
“The next few games are massive, including Rochdale but Dewsbury are first on the list.
The former Salford, Leigh and Barrow Raiders man will hit 50 appearances for the Lions this week after reaching 200 points for the club against London Broncos last week.
“We have to put all of it on the line this weekend and we’re desperate for points. We’ll work hard in training and have a big team run Saturday and come out for the result.”
Dewsbury have struggled in the Championship in recent weeks are without a win in their last three games, albeit against sides positioned in the top six in the league. Having started the season well and looking to carry on the form that guided them from the bottom of the Championship to an eighth-placed finish in 2017, the Rams have struggled this season especially away from home and are the third-lowest point scorers in the competition, ahead of Swinton and Rochdale.
Rams Head Coach Neil Kelly has praised the Lions this week, stating “Swinton are a good footballing side who are strong at home and score some good tries.
“If we go there thinking we are going to win just because we are Dewsbury then I’m afraid we will be coming back with our tail between our legs. We have to go there think it’s a test match.”
LAST TIME OUT
Dewsbury Rams 20-0 Swinton Lions
The Lions tasted defeat for the third game in a row as the in-form Rams kept them pointless on a bitterly cold afternoon in Yorkshire.
In the early stages of the match both sides had chances and defences were on top but it was the home side that took the lead on twenty-five minutes when veteran forward Rob Spicer went through a large gap to score on the left and Paul Sykes added the simple conversion.
George Tyson was giving the Rams defence a torrid time but when the chances were created for his team mates either the ball went to ground or there was a handling error. Sykes added two penalty goals before the break to give his side a ten point advantage at the break.
It was much of the same in the second half with the Lions creating chances but not being able to get over the try line with ball in hand and again it was the Rams defence which scrambled well to stop what chances the Lions had.
The Rams scored early in the second half when Aaron Brown scored under the posts after good play by Michael Knowles and again Sykes converted. Kyle Shelford thought he had scored late on but he was held up by the posts on the last tackle and then came the killer blow when former Lion Macauley Hallett scored in the left corner but Sykes could not convert this one.
Head Coach Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV’s Colin James following his side’s defeat to London Broncos on a hot and sunny day at Trailfinders Sports Club.
“It’s been a battle this year with dual-reg and injuries and obviously every coach is looking for consistent actions but a consistent team will give consistent actions.
“We’ve struggled for back-to-back performances. I thought today we had a good first half, second half we let ourselves down a bit. When London were down to 12 men we let three tries in. Probably the game blew out there.
“We talked at half-time about being in the game. Obviously London are full-time athletes, there is a difference between part-time and full-time, but that’s the league we are in and the challenges that we have got to embrace. To run some people out of petrol, especially the full-time boys we’ve got to keep 50% or 60-40, 70-30 in our favour, not just get in eight sets when we are just chasing our tails.
“You keep defending and the heat takes its toil and it does come in to consideration. It was a hot day and we were down to three subs rather than four with Ben getting injured early. But all put together I think London did a real professional job on us in the second half.”
“I’ve said to the boys that we can’t get too down on ourselves, we have to focus. We’ve got Dewsbury next week and Rochdale the week after and we’ve got to take the week as it comes. We’ve got to go and take points off both teams.”
George Tyson returns after missing out on the trip to London Broncos following his injury and hospital visit during the Lions defeat to Halifax. Paddy Jones makes his first appearance since he signed a deal to stay with the Lions till the end of the season. Joe Brown, Josh Ganson and Craig Mullen join up on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors, whilst Mark Nicholson makes a welcome return to the 19.
Ben Austin hasn’t recovered from an injury suffered to the inside of his knee early in last week’s clash in the capital and Brad Billsborough misses out with a tight hamstring. Josh Barlow is unavailable in his final game of his three-match ban.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE RAMS: Andy Bracek, Joe Brown, Mike Butt, Gabe Fell, Josh Ganson, Aaron Hall, Chris Hankinson, Hayden Hansen, Jack Hansen, Will Hope, Paddy Jones, Rhodri Lloyd, Craig Mullen, Mark Nicholson, Levy Nzoungou, Kyle Shelford, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Chris Worrall.
RAMS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: TBC
REFEREE: M Mannifield TOUCH JUDGES: S Houghton, J Pullein