Dewsbury Rams coach Lee Greenwood says his team would not have won their midweek clash with Halifax last season.
The Rams led 6-0 at the break against Fax before coming from behind twice in the second half to secure an impressive 18-16 win that included two yellow and two red cards.
And Greenwood said: “We’d have lost that last year, 100 per cent.
“We could have done with scoring in the first half when we had a man or two advantage for a few minutes.
“We had a couple of passes that didn’t quite hit the net and Halifax killed a couple of plays, but we kicked our penalties and were 6-0 ahead.
“Halifax came out firing in the second half and scored two tries straight away, and that’s when I was fearing a repeat of last year when it would have been it.
“But fair play to the lads, there’s a different vibe around the pace this year and they stuck to it and got level.
“When they scored again we responded and kicked the goal before hanging on, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that last year.”
Greenwood, who just had Jason Walton unavailable for the postponed match against Whitehaven on Sunday, said the performance of dual-registration try scorer Matty Gee in the game has further encouraged him in relation to Dewsbury’s link with Hull Kingston Rovers this season.
He added: “It was tough for Matty because he’d been due to play against Swinton and that was postponed, then the Halifax game was called off too.
“But his attitude coming in was spot on and that showed in his performance.
“He slotted straight in as if he was one of our own players, and I think a lot of that is down to the work that Tony Smith has done there with culture and attitude.”
LEIGH CENTURIONS captain Danny Addy says he is thriving with the added responsibility of being a focal point of the team from loose forward.
The Scotland international, 29, has spent much of his career being labelled a utility player after having featured at halfback, hooker and in the back row.
But Leigh coach John Duffy immediately earmarked the kind of pivotal number 13 role that Jon Wilkin played for Toronto in last season’s promotion campaign, and Addy has embraced it with open arms.
“Duffs has got me playing the position I wanted to since I starting playing pro,” Addy explained.
“I see myself as a loose forward, but whether it’s been down to injuries or whatever, I’ve not played that many games in that position.
“I’ve filled in at halfback, back row and hooker, but this is where I want to be.
“I wanted to have a chance to play in the position I see myself in, and this is the first time I’ve had a full pre-season to train as an out-and-out loose forward.
“I’ve played enough games to be able to do a job in any position, but I wanted to nail down loose forward and make it my own.
“We’ve been building plays around it already and there are some combinations that are coming together.
“I see myself as a ball-playing middle that can control the ball and let the halves play off the back of it, but I can also do the tough stuff and carry when I need to.
“It’s given me a free rein and I’m certainly enjoying what I’m doing more. It’s bringing the best out of me.”
Duffy meanwhile is relishing the chance to pit his wits against his former assistant Stuart Littler in Sunday’s Championship clash with Swinton.
The pair worked together at the Lions before Littler took charge when Duffy moved to Featherstone.
The Leigh coach said: “Swinton came here and nearly turned us over last year; I thought they were real good.
“They’re coached really well, so we’ll watch them against Leigh Miners and do our homework on them.
“They had a good win at Whitehaven a couple of weeks ago in round one and we’re looking forward to it.”
SWINTON LIONS coach Stuart Littler says that dialogue continues with partner club Wigan, even though he has yet to use any of their players this season.
Littler did not expect to have any Warriors available for the Challenge Cup game with Leigh Miners Rangers, and didn’t field any in the league matches with Whitehaven and Batley.
But he will talk to Wigan reserves coach Darrell Goulding this week and assess whether to bring anybody in for Sunday’s clash with Leigh.
Littler said: “I’m still in regular contact with Daz and we’re seeing what happens with the new reserves structure.
“It’s been a mutual thing not to use any players so far, I was happy with our performance in week one and that’s why they got another chance.
“I was a bit disappointed with the performance against Batley so we’ll see what happens.
“I’ll certainly be speaking to Darrell this week and having a look where we’re at.”
Littler was without halfback Rob Fairclough against Leigh Miners Rangers due to a slight knock, but handed first games of the season to Taylor Brown, Ben Heyes and Sam Grant.
Littler added: “Taylor had two games with Salford’s reserve team and was the stand out in both, so he deserved a chance.”
WIDNES VIKINGS coach Tim Sheens says that the club’s dual-registration link with neighbours Warrington will help plug any gaps in the front row.
Jay Chapelhow’s pre-season ankle injury left Sheens a prop short before the campaign kicked off.
But Chapelhow returned to running last week and could be back in two weeks, while the Wolves fielded Wolves prop Leilani Latu in their last league game against London.
Sheens said: “With the dual-registration we have with Warrington we’re happy we can work with them on that.
“We’ll never say we’re not interested or looking, but right at the moment we’re okay.
“Steve (Price) is aware of what we need and where we sit with things at the moment.
“Jay Chapelhow did some light running with us on Thursday night and there’s some hope he could be back in two weeks so we’ll continue to monitor him.”
Outside back Owen Buckley also missed the Challenge Cup game with Oldham with a low-grade hamstring tear, while backrower Liam Cooper is having ongoing treatment on a knee complaint.
SHEFFIELD EAGLES’ long-term injury duo Matty James and James Glover are getting closer to pencilling in dates for their returns.
Neither has played since last year’s Summer Bash, but coach Mark Aston reported: “Matty had the screw out of his leg the other day and should be back in four to six weeks.
“James has targeted the midweek game with Oldham, which is about eight weeks away.
“To have both players back in the next couple of months will be massive for us.”
Greg and Paddy Burns and Conner Bower were all available again for Saturday’s Challenge Cup tie with Halifax, but prop Rory Dixon was unavailable after going through the concussion protocol.
BATLEY BULLDOGS are hoping to find some clarity on Shaun Pick’s neck injury this week.
Coach Craig Lingard explained: “He’s going to have a test on it this week.
“It’s an issue he’s had previously but has never quite got to the bottom of.”
Tyler Dickinson is now back in full training and available for selection, and Lingard should have four others back to face Sheffield Eagles this weekend.
Dale Morton, James Brown, Lucas Walshaw and Anthony Bowman were all not risked in the Challenge Cup against Leigh on Friday night with minor issues that are expected to clear this week.
WHITEHAVEN fullback Sam Forrester is out of Sunday’s home clash with Toulouse Olympique because of suspension.
Forrester was last week handed a one match penalty notice by the RFL disciplinary panel.
He was found guilty of a grade B trip in the home defeat to Oldham.
Forrester is the second Haven player to be banned for tripping this season, with backrower Brett Phillips due to miss the postponed Coral Challenge Cup tie against Dewsbury for the same offence in the loss at London Broncos.
HALIFAX are assessing halfback Tom Gilmore’s hamstring injury following his early exit in the midweek defeat to Dewsbury.
The former Widnes playmaker limped off in the opening stages of the game and was unavailable to face Sheffield Eagles on Saturday, but no timescale has yet been put on his return.
Fax had mixed fortunes at the disciplinary in midweek, with Scott Grix escaping suspension for the grade A punching that saw him dismissed against the Rams.
But Ed Barber will be unavailable to face York City Knights after picking up a one-match penalty notice for grade A tripping in the same match.
LONDON BRONCOS rang the changes for Sunday’s Challenge Cup tie with York City Knights and rewarded a host of players from the club’s development pathway.
Josh Hodson, Will Blakemore, Oli Leyland, Rian Horsman and Gideon Boafo were all named in coach Danny Ward’s 21-man squad.
Also included was close season signing Olly Ashall-Bott, with Kieran Dixon and Will Lovell among the senior players to make way.
Prop Rob Butler was also unavailable due to suspension.
OLDHAM’S close-season signing John Hutchings was hoping to feature for the first time this year in Sunday’s Coral Challenge Cup clash with Widnes.
The former St Helens junior suffered a leg injury in the pre-season Law Cup game against Rochdale Hornets.
Hutchings was named on the bench at Toulouse Olympique, but he didn’t get on the field and he didn’t figure in the 17 that secured a 16-14 Championship win at Whitehaven.
Roughyeds coach Matt Diskin is also continuing to monitor centre James Worthington, who has a groin complaint, while Ed Smith, Jode Sheriffe and Ben Davies remain sidelined.
TOULOUSE OLYMPIQUE backrower Harrison Hansen will miss his side’s Championship game with Whitehaven this weekend through suspension.
The vastly experienced Samoan international was handed a one-march penalty notice last week.
Hansen was found guilty of grade B contact with the head during the win at Sheffield Eagles.
Toulouse are offering free entry for all women to their home game with Batley on Saturday March 7.
YORK CITY KNIGHTS were without wingers Perry Whiteley and Will Sharp for their Challenge Cup trip to London.
Whiteley is facing a month on the sidelines after scans revealed a small fracture in his foot.
Sharp’s hamstring injury should be more short-term, with hopes that he could be back in contention to face his former club Halifax this weekend.
Whiteley’s absence could mean that coach James Ford utilises the club’s dual-registration partnership with Castleford Tigers.