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21 January 2018

Swinton Lions travel to the Recreation Ground to face Whitehaven on Sunday 21st January 2018, kick-off 3pm.

The Lions will be continuing their pre-season preparations following the run out against local rivals Salford Red Devils last Sunday at the AJ Bell Stadium. Stuart Littler’s men make the journey to Cumbria ahead of welcoming Super League side Wigan Warriors to Heywood Road in the Lions’ only home pre-season friendly of 2018.

Whitehaven are in preparation for their second consecutive season in the third tier of rugby league, after narrowly missing out on promotion in the 2017 League 1 play-off final when they lost 10-6 to Barrow Raiders.

Whitehaven’s Head Coach Carl Forster has been active in the transfer market in the off-season, with his most high profile signing being that of former Super League hooker Stuart Howarth. Howarth has had previous spells at Wakefield, Salford, Hull FC, St Helens and Bradford and most recently Workington Town.


The Lions’ final game of the 2016 season ended in defeat at already relegated Whitehaven.

Whitehaven took the a quick lead when Ted Chapelhow scored before the Lions drew level when Luke Waterworth went over from acting half-back. Mike Butt put the Lions in front just before the break, but Ed Chamberlain dived in at the left corner to draw things level.

The home side took the lead four minutes into the second half when Ryan Ince raced 60 metres to score a converted try under the posts, then came two more tries for Whitehaven in a nine minute period when Dion Aiye and Grant Gore both scored. Chris Atkin gave the Lions renewed hope when intercepted a pass near his own line to race the near full length to score on the left. However, the home side ran in two late tries from Chamberlain and Connor Holliday to confirm a 40-28 victory in Stuart Littler’s final game before retirement.



Forward Ben Austin misses out following injury to his nose against Salford.

Meanwhile, Josh Barlow has been declared fit to make the journey to Whitehaven following a knee injury. Kyle Shelford also returns to the Lions’ line-up.

Despite being replaced in the starting line-up at Salford, Matt Sarsfield did see some action against his former club and is also ready to face the Cumbrian side.

French trailist Omar Djalout returns for his second game in a Lions shirt.

LIONS SQUAD TO FACE WHITEHAVEN: Ansell, Barlow, Bracek, Butt, Caine, Djalout, Fell, Hall, J Hansen, H Hansen, Hankinson, Lloyd, Sarsfield, Shelford, Taylor, Tyson, Waterworth, Webb, Worrall.


Head Coach Stuart Littler was impressed with his side’s performance against Salford in the Lions’ first pre-season game of 2018, but recognises improvements need to be made.

“We were hit and miss. There were some flashes of good stuff and some things to work on. In spells I thought we looked comfortable.”

Still suffering from a busy treatment table, Head Coach Stuart Littler is confident that the situation will improve as the build-up to the Championship season continues.

“We’ve had it a bit tough recently with injuries, but we’ll get there. We’re always looking around to see if we can add to the squad within budget.

“Omar Djalout only arrived last Thursday. He doesn’t understand our structure yet but week by week he’ll get better. The players coming into the system will pick it up and we’ll work together. We are a team, we are a family and we move forward together.”


MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee – Mr G Hewer, Touch Judges – T Jones, N Woodward KICK-OFF:15:00PM VENUE: The Recreation Ground, CA28 7RJ

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