Life with the Lions

Date published: Saturday, July 10, 2010

FORMER Roughyeds favourites Gavin Dodd, Phil Joseph, Ian Watson and Dana Wilson will be determined to get Swinton Lions roaring against their old club at the Whitebank Stadium on Sunday.

At different times over the past ten years or so all four have played for Roughyeds with distinction, especially Oldham-born Dodd or ‘Doddy’ as he known to everyone in the local rugby league community.

Before moving on to Widnes Vikings and then to Swinton Lions, he made 131 appearances for his home-town club, mainly at full-back or on the wing.

Only 11 players have hit the 100-game milestone for the new Oldham club, the most recent being full-back Paul O’Connor, and only four have topped Dodd’s total —- Neil Roden (243 and still going strong), John Hough (228), Jason Clegg (147) and Gareth Barber (138).

Players like Dodd, Joseph, Watson and Wilson provide Swinton with huge helpings of know-how and experience.

Indeed, a glance at the players on their register would suggest they are most certainly the under-achievers of Championship One this year, notwithstanding the departure to Halifax some weeks ago of stand-off half Graham Holroyd.

In Welsh international Watson, who doubles up as assistant coach, they still have a class act in the tactical and creative department, while Roughyeds will need no telling of the threat posed by the powerful Joseph if defenders give him room to get up a head of steam.

It’s been a tough campaign for the Lions, who parted company with coach Paul Smith in mid-season and are now being jointly supervised by former coach Paul Kidd with assistance from Watson.

Of the first four games under their joint command, Lions won three and drew one, but they have been comprehensively beaten in their last two outings against championship-chasing Hunslet Hawks and Blackpool Panthers.

To bolster their front-row they have taken Widnes youngster Anthony Mulalley on loan. He is a giant of a lad who made his debut last Sunday against the Hawks, and Kidd is hopeful that he will successfully fill the void left by the return to Halifax of another loan prop, Neil Cherryholme.

Swinton, Workington and South Wales Scorpions are scrapping for the last two play-off spots and every point will be invaluable.

With so many Roughyeds old boys in their midst, they will need no motivating to do well at Whitebank and Roughyeds will have to be on their mettle.

After the game don’t forget to stay a while in the club and watch the official post-match presentations (really interesting for anyone who has never seen them) and then you can take in the Spain v Holland World Cup football final on big-screen TV in the concert room.

It’s all happening at Whitebank on Sunday!