SWINTON LIONS V TORONTO WOLFPACK – PREVIEW
02 March 2018
The Lions welcome Canadian side Toronto Wolfpack to Heywood Road for the very first time ever in any competition.
Swinton Lions welcome Toronto Wolfpack – the world’s first trans-atlantic professional sports team – in round 5 of the Betfred Championship.
History is to be made as the two sides face each other for the first time ever in any competition.
The Lions sit second-bottom after suffering three defeats in the first four rounds of the Championship, missing out on playing Rochdale Hornets in the second week due to a waterlogged pitch.
Testing times are ahead for Swinton, who after facing Toronto will travel to West Yorkshire to face former coach John Duffy’s Featherstone Rovers, before welcoming the impressive London Broncos to town, the following weekend. Both sit in the top three in the league.
Pre-season promotion favourites Toronto suffered a setback last week in the Championship, losing 47-16 away to league leaders London Broncos. This was their first defeat of the season, only dropping a point elsewhere in a tight 8-8 away to Batley Bulldogs in Round 2. A Liam Kay hat-trick helped the Championship newcomers to an impressive 34-12 win against Leigh Centurions on opening weekend and the Wolfpack also negotiated a potentially tricky tie against Halifax with a 20-6 win at The Shay.
Last season, the Canadian side joined League 1 for their debut in the British game, winning all fifteen of their regular season matches and five out of seven playoff games to secure promotion to the Championship.
Swinton Lions Head Coach Stuart Littler spoke to LionsTV’s Colin James following the defeat to Dewsbury Rams.
“Dewsbury had low-risk play and completed their sets under pressure. The exact opposite of what we did. We need to sort it out fast.
“Toronto are going to come for a party and I’ve told the lads if you send enough invites by encouraging people into our own territory, giving away penalties, not backing-up errors, then teams will be smart and put pressure on us. We want to play our game down at their end but last week we didn’t give ourselves a fighting chance.
“I wasn’t happy with what the team tossed up last weel, they let themselves down. It’s below my own standards and below the team’s standards too. We have to move forward though.”
Toronto Wolfpack Assistant Coach Simon Finnigan spoke to www.torontowolfpack.com ahead of his sides’ trip to Heywood Road.
“You want to bounce back after every defeat and we want to fix up what we did wrong this week.
“The main focus will be on us internally. There has been an instant reaction at training this week and I’d like to think that will translate onto the field on the weekend.
“Swinton are a tough team who attack very well and they are under a good coach in Stuart Littler so it won’t be easy at all.
“Their half backs are looking really good and they have a few players that used to be at Leigh so they’ll be a very big threat to us this week.
“The Championship is not an easy league. We don’t take anyone for granted and we prepare very well but if your attitude or application is off then you’ll get beaten and Swinton will be no different.”
Ben Austin is set to make his first league appearance this season after breaking his nose against Salford. Elliot Caine is named in Stuart Littler’s squad for the first time this season.
Josh Woods and Romain Navarette are on dual-registration from Wigan Warriors.
Richard Whiting will be missing for the visitors after recieving a Grade B Dangerous Throw charge which seems him banned for 1 match. Andy Ackers will line-up against his old side after spendinga year with the Lions during the 2015 season.
LIONS SQUAD TO FACE WOLFPACK: Ben Austin, Josh Barlow, Gavin Bennion, Andy Bracek, Mike Butt, Elliot Caine, Gabe Fell, Chris Hankinson, Jack Hansen, Hayden Hansen, Rhodri Lloyd, Romain Navarette, Mark Nicholson, Matt Sarsfield, Kyle Shelford, Conor Taylor, George Tyson, Luke Waterworth, Josh Woods.
WOLFPACK SQUAD TO FACE LIONS: Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, Jonny Pownall, Greg Worthington, Liam Kay, Ryan Brierley, Jack Buchanan, Bob Beswick, Ashton Sims, Andrew Dixon, Joe Westerman, Andy Ackers, Adam Sidlow, Blake Wallace, James Laithwaite, Olsi Krasniqi, Jake Butler-Fleming, Sam Hopkins, Jake Emmitt
Match Sponsor – REXEL
Associate Match Sponsor – CP DECORATORS
Match Ball Sponsor – IBI GROUP
REFEREE: J. Smith TOUCH JUDGES: D. Bowmer, R. Dolan
VENUE: Heywood Road, Sale, Greater Manchester, M33 3WB
We share facilities with our friends from SALE FC at the Heywood Road ground in Sale, Greater Manchester M33 3WB. The ground is situated 11 miles from Swinton town centre. There is a public bar on the ground.
STRICTLY NO DOGS ARE ADMITTED ON THE GROUND UNLESS THEY ARE ASSISTANCE/GUIDANCE DOGS.
The ground is easily accessed from the M60 motorway (from Swinton join the M60 at Worsley roundabout). Leave the M60 at the Stretford and Sale exit, signposted A56 Sale and Altrincham. Turn right onto the A56, and after 1.5 miles turn left onto A6144 Marsland Road. Continue in a straight line until you see Brooklands metro station, and Heywood Road is another 500 yards further on to the right. However, please do not proceed down Heywood Road itself without a car park pass. There is adequate street parking in the vicinity of the ground.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT
If travelling by public transport, the ground is best approached by Metrolink on the Manchester to Altrincham line.
To access the Metrolink system from Swinton, the quickest method is to take the V1 or V2 bus along the East Lancashire Road (A580) into Manchester – alighting at St Peter’s Square Metro Station. Catch any tram with the destination shown as Altrincham, alighting at Brooklands Station.
Exit the station and walk up the steps, then turn right along Marsland Road. Heywood Road is 500 yards up on the right hand side.