Matt Calland had a gut feeling his Rochdale Mayfield side were going to draw his old club Rochdale Hornets in this weekend’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup round fixtures.
Calland had two successful and popular spells as a player with Hornets and was later on the coaching staff.
Now the former Featherstone, Bradford, Hull FC, Huddersfield and Hull KR threequarter gets the chance to face them again, both as a player and as a coach.
Despite turning 45 this year and having retired several times before, Calland is still a regular on the teamsheet for Mayfield at the very top end of the amateur game, and he crossed for a try in the second round win at Egremont.
He sees taking on Hornets as the perfect tie for a Mayfield club that has been on the rise for several years under his tenure.
Calland said: “I got the boys together in the gym to watch the draw on Tuesday and actually predicted it.
“It’s a great tie, with us being the best local amateur team around.
“It gives us a chance to pit our wits against the professional lads and it should be a great day for Rugby League in the town.
“I started my career at Rochdale and went back there later on, so it will always be a club that’s close to my heart.
“I’ve played against them before, but this should be the last time, although I keep saying that.
“I’ll be 45 this year, so my time is definitely running out.
“I’ve been saying I’ll retire for the last ten years but I still love it.
“I love the feeling of getting up on game day, and the banter with the lads in the changing room.
“But the actual playing side of it kills me and I can be sore for days afterwards now.”
Calland knows his side faces a tough challenge against a Hornets team that is expected to be among the promotion contenders in League One this season.
He added: “We’ve had two really bad performances so far in the Cup but managed to get the win and that’s what cup rugby is all about.
“We certainly need to perform a lot better to get anywhere near competing with Rochdale Hornets.
“But I think we can, and this game will be a good yardstick for our season.
“If we can compete for large periods of the game with Hornets, who are training at Warrington and are using all the latest equipment and techniques, then it will put us in good stead.
“Hopefully we’ll have a few things up our sleeve to surprise them and we’re hoping we get a dry pitch.
“It should be a fantastic day out for the club, and everything is looking good this season for us.”