Rugby Leaguer & League Express www.totalrl.com
7th February 2011 ROUGHYEDS BACK CHAMPIONSHIP CRITERIA
Thunder star gains
GATESHEAD Thunder prop Chris Parker has been named the 2009-2010 Ray Morris Medal Winner by the Malta Rugby League.
The Championship One forward and Malta national team vice-captain played starring roles on and off the field for Malta, and beat the largest field of nominees in the history of the award.
The Ray Morris Medal is awarded to the Maltese Rugby League Player of the Year, in memory of Ray Morris, an Australian Rugby League international who passed away in Malta while travelling to England for the Kangaroo tour of 1933-34.
said. “This is an amazing honour,” Parker
“There are so many great people involved with the Malta Rugby League, and to be recognised like this is a true honour.” Meanwhile Thunder are hoping new Australian signing Mitchell Stevens will have completed the ban he picked up in Australia in time to make his debut at home to Workington Town in April.
“It'll be a few weeks until Mitchell gets to play, but he will still have at least 16 games this season, and possibly play-offs, so he will have a lot of time to make his mark,” Thunder director of rugby Chris Hood said.
OLDHAM Chairman Chris Hamilton says that his club supports the proposals made to introduce minimum standards to enter the Championship – even though, if applied in their current form, they would exclude the Roughyeds from promotion. RFL operations director Ralph Rimmer last week presented a document that would require every Championship club to have a stadium with a minimum capacity of 3,000, with 500 seats. Oldham’s new Whitebank home does not yet meet that standard, but Hamilton hopes that it could do before the end of the year.
“We haven’t got a problem with the leagues having minimum standards,” Hamilton told League Express. “It’s important that people realise, when we were given permission to play games at Whitebank Stadium, that it was granted in two parts. “The first was to
amount of work that was done before we played any matches there last season.
carry out an
“Part two was an agreed schedule to keep improving the facility and eventually meet minimum standards. “It’s been
throughout the close-season this year, because we were hoping to use that window to do more substantial work. “That has not happened,
frustrating for us
because the legalities of completing the purchase of the land are not yet finalised, and we can’t be signing deals for improvements until they are. “Once that is done we will me
AROUND THE LEAGUES
with GARETH WALKER
making applications to the Rugby League Facilities Trust for various kinds of assistance, and we have already had meetings and discussions with them at the ground. “We are hoping that will all be resolved soon, and that the work will be done throughout the course of the season.”
The plans include inserting proper terracing down the Whitebank Road side of the ground.
McCormack encouraged by Lions
SWINTON Lions coach Steve McCormack says his side still has a long way to go, despite almost shocking Champions Halifax on Friday night.
The Lions led 14-12 at half-time in their first game played at the Willows, and McCormack saw plenty of positives in the display.
“It was a real good game, and both
sides played some pretty good stuff,” McCormack said. “We were pretty disappointed not to win the game, though we went toe-to- toe with the best team outside Super League for long periods.
“We’ve proved we can score tries and play some entertaining football, but we need to be a little bit more composed.” Experienced forward Phil
“The extra pace and quality of guys like Ben Black, Rob Worrincy and Paul White was probably the difference. “We still have a long way to go, but the starting point for any team is work ethic and enthusiasm, and we’ve got that in abundance.
missed the game after being stuck in traffic caused by an accident on the M62.
Richard Flooks took a knock to his knee, and will be assessed this week, while Tommy Gallagher tweaked his back in training.
BURKE RELISHES CRUSADERS STINT
SOUTH Wales Scorpions' prop Joe Burke believes that his experience with the Crusaders in their pre-season friendlies will help him significantly when the Scorpions' season kicks off. Burke played for the Crusaders on
loan against both Widnes Vikings and Catalans Dragons in January, and he feels he has greatly benefited from being in a Super League environment. The 20-year old, from Malpas in Newport, started playing rugby union for Machen before being selected for Newport Titans under-18s.
From there, he was selected for the Crusaders under-18s and also played for their reserves in 2009, before joining the Scorpions last year. His performances in 2010 earned him a Wales cap against
Wrexham last October, and his Crusaders chance.
“It was great to have an insight into how you train and live in a Super League environment with all the other players,” he said.
“I learned a lot from the training sessions especially.
“Last year I played prop for the Scorpions, and when I played for Crusaders I was at second row or loose forward in the Catalans game. “I'm glad I was able to try out those
different positions. That will give me versatility around the pitch and in training.
“I hope I can pass the tips I've
learned to the Scorpions, as it was good to be coached at the top level by Iestyn Harris and Barry Eaton. There's no substitute for that.”
WHITEHAVEN are trialling London- born prop Carl Suidak. “Carl had written a letter to the club when Ged Stokes was in charge, promoting himself and saying that he wanted to get to the next level in the game,” Haven coach David Seeds explained.
career, and that’s something I admire. “He’s played for Harlequins under-20s, and we’re happy to give him a chance.”
signing Anthony Henderson is set to miss the entire season. “He brought a knee injury with him to the club, and now needs a reconstruction,” Cougars coach Jason Demetriou said. “He’s a good kid and I rate him, but luckily we have a strong squad in that department. “Hopefully Anthony can get fit again, and be available for next season.”
KEIGHLEY “He is very keen to better his rugby Cougars’ close-season
Stankevitch ROCHDALE Hornets coach
No panic from
John Stankevitch insists he will not panic, despite losing four members of his squad in the last two weeks. Captain Phil Wood is out for the season through injury, winger Dave Kennedy has left the club, and young prop Lee Moore can no longer commit to training.
Second rower Danny Smith has left for a year in Australia, and, to compound matters, Stankevitch’s planned replacement for Wood, Dave McConnell, broke his leg playing rugby union last weekend. “Dave was due to come down to training last Wednesday, and was really keen,” Stankevitch said. “But then he broke his leg, and
don’t want to upset the applecart. Everyone has worked really hard in pre-season, and everyone knows the game plan to the letter.
“But we may have to bring somebody in.”
that’s just our luck at the moment. “I’m not panicking, because I
place this Friday, February 11, of former Hornets prop Bill Hanson. Hanson passed away peacefully on February 2, aged 80, after having played around 200 games for the club during two spells in the 1950s and 1960s, after joining from Leeds in 1955.
Hanson’s funeral will be held at St John the Baptist Church, Hey, Oldham on Friday February 11.
CHAMPIONSHIP 1 ROUND-UP
“We will wait and see how his fitness builds up and he’ll get a second opinion, but hopefully he’ll be back in a Workington Town shirt pretty soon.”
DONCASTER coach Tony Miller
Hughes, a close-season signing from Keighley Cougars, damaged his ankle last week.
hoping to have Carl Hughes back in contention for the London Skolars clash this weekend.
“Carl rolled his ankle in training, but hopefully it will only be a one week thing,” Miller said.
The Dons’ only other two injury absences at Featherstone were long-term victims Aaron Dobek and Grant Edwards.
WORKINGTON Town will continue to monitor stand-off Liam Finch after he rejected a knee reconstruction. “The surgeon told Liam after a clean out that he needs a total reconstruction,” Town joint coach Gary Charlton said. “I don’t know how he’s doing it, but
he’s running around in training like a good‘un.
LONDON Skolars coach Joe Mbu says his squad is fully prepared for the new season. Speaking before Sunday’s opening clash with Widnes Vikings, Mbu said: “The level of competition within the squad has been pretty high. “Hopefully that’s done a lot of good to motivate us to challenge each other. “I feel that we’re where we want to be at this stage of the year.”
Meanwhile the funeral will take
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