1895 Cup Group Four Preview: Halifax Panthers, Oldham, Rochdale Hornets

Halifax Panthers
Rochdale Hornets

DESPITE the group stages being regionalised, current holders Halifax will not play either of their group games in West Yorkshire.

Instead they face the short hop across the Pennines to face both Oldham and Rochdale – two sides eager to be leading the pack in League One this year.

Even though they will be facing two lower league sides, Halifax will not be able to afford to be complacent, especially with the signings new Oldham coach Sean Long has made this year. 

Among those arriving at Boundary Park are former Super League stars Craig Kopczak, Jordan Turner, Joe Wardle and Elijah Taylor, so there is no shortage of experience. While Rochdale’s signings might not have been as eye-catching, they are certainly no walk overs and will be keen to start the year strongly after a couple of seasons of consolidation.

The Panthers will no doubt be favourites to top the group, but their opponents certainly won’t give them an easy ride.


Who doesn’t love the rivalry between Oldham and Rochdale? It’s a fierce enough game between the two sides when they meet in pre-season Law Cup games each year, but when they meet competitively it’s a whole other story.

Oldham had the upper hand in the league encounters last season, taking victory in both, and will have home advantage when the sides meet in the final group game.

With Halifax likely to top the group, a good win for either side here could keep them in with a shout of qualifying for the quarter finals as the best performing second placed side.


Louis Jouffret was named man of the match in last season’s final against Batley, and his kicking game was instrumental in guiding the Panthers to the Wembley showdown.

If he can show more French flair and produce more match-winning performances, Halifax will fancy their chances of retaining the trophy.

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 493 (February 2024)

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