Look to the weekend against Workington

Date published: Monday, March 5, 2012

ALEX Thompson, Oldham RL Club’s promising young loose-forward, is out of the Roughyeds’ first Championship One game at Workington on Sunday.

The former Warrington Wolves junior, who has been in excellent form in his first year of senor rugby, has pleaded guilty to a charge of striking an opponent in the Northern Rail Cup defeat by Dewsbury Rams at Whitebank.

Having admitted his guilt, he gets an automatic one-match ban.The incident, off the ball, was placed on report by referee Jamie Bloem. It was then studied on DVD by the RFL disciplinary people, who later charged 21-year-old Thompson with the offence.

Had he pleaded not guilty he would have had to attend a meeting of the judiciary in Leeds with the possibility of facing a two-match ban.

“We looked at it on the tape, discussed it with Alex, and decided the best course of action was to submit the guilty plea,” said club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Coach Tony Benson has plenty of options to fill the vacancy at No 13 and he may also be forced to rejig his second-row because Chris Clarke took a bang to the head at Keighley yesterday and went off with concussion.

He was led from the field after half an hour, never to return.

“Chris needs to rest and take care of himself this week,” said physiotherapist Rachael Johnson. “He won’t be training on Tuesday. We’ll have a look at him on Thursday, but it’s too early yet to talk about his chances of playing next Sunday.

“One or two more players picked up knocks, but they are mainly bruised. We’ll know more on Tuesday.”

Matthew Fogarty, Mark McCully, Valu Bentley, Luke Stenchion, Lucas Onyango and Paul Ballard didn’t play at Keighley because of injury, while Neil Roden, Danny Whitmore and Michael Ward were left out as part of Benson’s rotation policy.

Onyango, out for more than a year with a ruptured Achilles, is expected to play his first game of the season in the reserves against Sheffield Eagles at Whitebank on Thursday (7.45pm kick off).

Commenting after the spirited performance in a 26-12 defeat by Keighley, Benson said: “We would normally have played about ten games — pre-season, Northern Rail Cup and reserves —- by the time we go into our first league clash, but we’ve only played six.

“Pre-season postponements and the fact that we have been unable to arrange any friendlies for the reserves means that we still haven’t fully completed our preparations for the start of the league programme.

“For instance, I’ve not found my best 17 yet . . . I’m still experimenting.”