Kingstone Championship Round 11 Previews

All six Round 11 matches in the Kingstone Press Championship will take place on Sunday 3rd May.

Batley Bulldogs v Whitehaven (3.00)

Reflecting on the 56-8 defeat at Leigh Centurions, Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear said: “There were some players who actually stood up and demonstrated they could lead a group of people through actions. They obviously did themselves some good in very difficult and adverse circumstances.

“Conversely there were others who I was a little disappointed with. They didn’t relish the challenge that was laid in front of them. We learned a bit about each other within the group.

Looking ahead to Sunday he said: “It’s a big game, every game in this division is a big game. We’re playing a team that’s in and around us and obviously they’ll be fancying this game just as we are so we know we’ve really got to be ready to play. We’re at home, which is a good place to return to after the good hiding we got last week.”

Stand-off Cain Southernwood is ruled out this week with an ankle injury.

Whitehaven coach James Coyle said of their 36-12 loss at home to Featherstone Rovers last week: “In some areas we were really good but in others were a bit lax. We’re improving. Featherstone are a good team and had the edge on us in the backs – a bit more speed and precision which cost us in the end.

“Batley on Sunday is a massive game for us, we’ve got to make sure we get something out of this game if we want to progress this year. We’ve got our sights set on getting a result this weekend.”

Winger Jordan Burns could return for Whitehaven this weekend.

Bradford Bulls v Sheffield Eagles (3.00)

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston is relishing the clash with one of the Championship pacesetters: “We go into all the games with confidence and believe we can beat anybody on the day,” he said. “We won quite comfortably against Halifax and didn’t play outstandingly. We defended really well and there’s still a lot more to come from us with the ball.

“Obviously Bradford, like Leigh, are the benchmark being full-time but they have let in a few points so if we’re good and we ask them questions can they answer those questions? That’s what it’s about.”

Wing Misi Taulapapa and centre Menzie Yere are both injury doubts but Jamie Langley, Tony Tonks, Pat Walker and Duane Straugheir are all back in contention.

Dewsbury Rams v Leigh Centurions (3.00)

Leigh Centurions will be looking to extend their unbeaten run at Dewsbury but the Rams will be confident following their fine win at London Broncos. Coach Glenn Morrison said: “We were confident all week, there was a good feel about the club and we had a good trip down to London. In saying that it was a tough to get the job done but I’m very proud of the boys in doing what we set out to do at the start of the week and being the first team to come away from there with two points.

Looking ahead to the challenge of Leigh he said: “It’s going to be a tough one. They are the team that everyone is looking at, they’ve been playing some real good footy. It’s going to be tough but we’ve had some good results on our home pitch and we’ll be going in trying to do our best and keeping some momentum.”

Despite what Leigh Centurions coach Paul Rowley called a “dominant display” against Batley, he acknowledges the game against Dewsbury will be tough: “They’ve got a big and very, very good squad,” he said. “They have made a couple of Super League additions in Paul Jackson and Brett Seymour over recent weeks and it shows how strong they are that they can add people of that quality at this time in the season. They’re a top four side and I fully expect them to remain there, so it’s going to be tough.”

Featherstone Rovers v Workington Town (3.00)

Andy Hay’s Featherstone Rovers side notched up a good win at Whitehaven last week. He said: “In the first half we were poorly disciplined and were made to pay for it but we settled down in the second half and played some good stuff. We came away pleased and are putting a little bit of form together.

“It’s another tough one on Sunday. We haven’t been at home for a while so we’re looking forward to that. With their Wigan connection we’re not sure what kind of team they’ll put out. I’m sure they’ll be looking to make up for their loss at home, so it will be a big game.”

Hay hopes to have half-backs Sam Irwin and Remy Marginet available for selection.

Workington Town coach Phil Veivers said: “We were average last week against Hunslet, we didn’t perform to our standards and I’m looking for a reaction this week. Featherstone are a tough side and it’s always a tough, intimidating ground to go to.

“They like their home territory but we’ve been there before and given them a game so hopefully we can go and do the same again. They are a pretty good side at the moment and have a lot of high profile players so it should be entertaining.”

Halifax v Doncaster (3.00)

Halifax are looking to bounce back from a poor performance at Sheffield Eagles last week: “It was probably the first time this season where we never looked like winning,” said coach Richard Marshall. “In the second half we made a better fight of it but we’d left ourselves too much to do in the first half with some poor defensive decisions.

“The positive is that’s a blip, that’s not how we’ve been playing. It was uncharacteristic of us to concede some of those tries off kicks etc.

“Doncaster did very well against Bradford, I don’t think there’s any other team who have scored as many points against them this year. They’ve obviously got their attacking boots on and I’m sure they’ll be speaking about improving defensively, as will we. If we can limit them in terms of their attacking form we should be OK. We need to get better with the ball and not put ourselves under pressure so much.”

Looking back on stirring performance at Bradford coach Paul Cooke said: “We’ve worked a hell of a lot on our attack over the last couple weeks having scored an average of just 12 points in the first nine weeks. We brought Jordan Abdull in from Hull, who teamed up with Ben (Reynolds) in the halves, and it looked a lot better. Matt Groat certainly added something to the squad in the middle so we were something like in attack.

“Obviously conceding so many points is not great but we’re not going to be playing against a full-time team every week. They’re going to finish in the top two in this division, it’s as simple as that and we’ve done well to score some points against them which other teams haven’t managed.

“I’d say it’s a little bit of a step forward and this week we’ll work a hell of a lot more on defence. It will certainly be a tough test against Richard Marshall and his team at the weekend.”

Half-back Ben Reynolds is a doubt having suffered concussion last week.

Hunslet Hawks v London Broncos (3.00)

Following their win over Workington Town Hunslet Hawks coach Barry Eaton believes his side are developing a bit of momentum: “It was tight in the end but nonetheless it was a good win – any win up there is a very good one. We’ve won two out of two in the league now and that’s given us a boost but on Sunday we know we’re up against a team that can beat anybody and potentially should be higher in the table because they are a full-time team.

“They lost for the first time at home last week and will want a response, a reaction and generally with a full-time outfit you’d expect that. We’ll certainly be expecting a bit of a backlash.”

Centre Luke Briscoe is a doubt with an ankle injury as is hooker Jack Lee who has a badly bruised foot.

London Broncos coach Andrew Henderson was disappointed with his side’s first home defeat last week: “I felt we were very inconsistent in our performance,” he said. “There were glimpses of some good play and defensive work but overall we just weren’t good enough. Fair credit to Dewsbury they played a simple but effective game. They had a little bit more purpose to what they were doing and their kicking game was very good.

“Hunslet have probably been a bit of a surprise package in the Championship following their promotion from Championship 1. They’ve proved to be more than competitive and have held their own so far.

“They’ve got a good balanced team and I’m not expecting anything less than a tough encounter on Sunday. On the back of their win away at Workington they will be going into the game full of confidence and we’re going to have to be wary of the threats they present. It’s a tough place to go, it’s a tight field so we’re going to have to make sure that on the day we’re honest as a group and execute the plan to a high level if we’re going to get the two points.”

Loose forward Elliot Minchella is a doubt with a slight groin strain.

Full reports from all Sunday’s Championship matches will feature in Monday’s edition of Rugby League Express.