Stuart Littler’s men will be hopeful of a repeat of Sunday’s victory over Rochdale, their first of the Championship season, ahead of a trip to Sheffield Eagles next weekend as the Lions continue to try and move out of the relegation positions.
Rochdale, who dropped down to the bottom of the table following last week’ derby defeat, face Barrow Raiders after their trip to Heywood as they also try and avoid the drop down to League 1.
LAST TIME OUT
Rochdale Hornets 38-12 Swinton Lions
A powerful second half by the Lions gave them their first victory of the season over their local rivals Rochdale Hornets and lifted them off bottom spot in the table.
The Lions started brightly and Josh Woods playing on dual registration from Wigan Warriors was held up over the line and then they forced a goal line drop out. From this they took the lead on nine minutes when Luke Waterworth darted over from acting half back and Chris Hankinson added the conversion from close range.
Rochdale hit back straight from the restart when Jack Hansen fumbled the kick-off and from the scrum some good ball handling saw Richard Lepori go over in the right corner with Tyler Whittaker adding the conversion from the touchline.
The middle part of the half was very scrappy with both teams having chances but the ball going to ground nearly every time until Andy Thornley and Will Hope combined in the build up to send George Tyson over for the try, Hankinson converting his second kick five minutes before the break.
Both coaches won’t have been happy with their completion rate in the first half and it was the Lions again who scored first when a lovely slip pass from Josh Barlow, who found Hope to score on the right. Hankinson looking calm with the boot converted again.
Woods who was controlling the game from the middle then kicked a forty-twenty and from the scrum Tyson scored his second via the video referee after Rhodri Lloyd had gone close and Hankinson again converted.
It was now all Swinton and Tyson forced a goal line drop out before Gabriel Fell was held up as he tried to score. There was a rare Hornets attack down the left on fifty-one minutes but Declan Kay knocked on and this put the Lions back on the attack. Liam Paisley then intercepted near his own line only to be grounded by Kay about ten metres from the try line.
However from the play the ball, the ball was swung left and Kay tried to intercept only to knock it forward straight into the arms of Woods and he went over to score on the left with Hankinson again adding the conversion.
The Hornets then had another attack but again the Lions defence stood strong before Billy Brickhill nearly scored under the posts only to be held up. During the build-up to this there was in incident in back play and there was an injury to Lewis Hatton which went on report. Sensing further tries, Liam Paisley then added the Lions’ sixth try when Jack Hansen sent out a slight of hand pass for the forward to race over on the right and again Hankinson added the extras.
There was then a high shot on Tyson as he tried to go over for his hat-trick and this incident also went on report with Hankinson kicking his seventh goal of the afternoon.
The Hornets who finally got past the Lions stubborn defence with seven minutes left for a consolation try when Jonah Cunningham darted over and Whittaker added his second conversion, but the Lions held on for a good victory against the team they will play again next weekend.
Ian Rigg reporting at the Crown Oil Arena, 27/05/2018
Head Coach Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV follow the Lions’ first victory against Rochdale Hornets.
“We’ve been in some dark places this year and come through some defeats where I don’t know what to say you guys, saying the same stuff about consistency and personal errors.
“I was a bit disappointed at half-time, I thought ‘Yeah, we’re in front’ but I didn’t think we were playing to our potential, I thought we could go up a notch. I challenged the boys to go up a notch, take some personal stuff on board and they responded.
“It’s just the beginning, we’ve got a massive month. We’ve three points out of four but there is another four to be aimed at. We’ve got Rochdale next week, then Sheffield after that. We’ve got to start looking up the table and start clawing a few of these teams into the fight with us.
“Nothing is achieved by winning one game at the SummerBash is it? We’ve got to kick on now, we’ve got to drag some other teams into it, get into that grind. Like I said to the boys, togetherness will get us out of this.”
Josh Woods, Josh Ganson and Gabe Hamlin join the Lions on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors.
George Tyson is fit to face Rochdale after coming off during Sunday’s trip to Blackpool and will make his 100th career appearance. Luke Waterworth misses out with a calf injury whilst Will Hope is unavailable due to leave arranged prior to him joining the club.
Aaron Hall continues to build-up his match fitness for a return to the match squad.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE HORNETS: Ben Austin, Josh Barlow, Ilias Bergal, Andy Bracek, Brad Billsborough, Mike Butt, Gabe Fell, Josh Ganson, Gabe Hamlin, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Hayden Hansen, Rhodri Lloyd, Liam Paisley, Andy Thornley, George Tyson, Kyle Shelford, Josh Woods, Chris Worrall
HORNETS SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: Dec Kay, Earl Hurst, Rob Massam, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Ben Moores, Tyler Whittaker, Gaz Middlehurst, Toby Adamson, Dave Allen, Luke Adamson, Lewis Hatton, Pat Moran, Jonah Cunningham, Billy Brickhill, Lee Mitchell, Richard Lepori, Jack Fox, Deon Cross.
REFEREE: T Grant TOUCH JUDGES: B. Robinson, D. Sharpe