Matty Ashe

Date published: Monday, July 5, 2010

KIWI half-back Matty Ashe’s bad luck has struck again. The Roughyeds pivot picked up calf and collar-bone injuries in the 68-10 win at Gateshead — his first game back after several weeks sidelined by a hip injury.

After the game there were fears that he might have fractured the collar bone, which will be checked out this week.

“It’s too early to be sure of the seriousness of Matty’s injuries, but he was in a lot of pain,” said coach Tony Benson.

Centre Marcus St Hilaire and Ashe’s fellow half-back Gregg McNally, both of whom took knocks to a knee, will also be checked out as Roughyeds get ready for Sunday’s clash with derby rivals Swinton Lions at Whitebank.

Commenting on the team’s performance in the North-East, Tony B said it was significantly better than the team put on in similar circumstances — first game back after a three-week break — earlier in the season.

He added: “We worked well on both attack and defence and I thought that, considering we hadn’t played for so long, we did very well indeed.

“Our average set-completion rate over four periods of the game was 75 per cent, and of the seats that began in our half a very pleasing 80 per cent finished in their 20-metre zone. I’ve got to be happy with that.

“There were a couple of defensive lapses, one close to the line when they scored their first try and another time when Matty Ashe was coming off injured and being replaced and there was a bit of confusion caused by the transition.

“Overall, though, we were sound defensively; we generally took the right options on attack; and our go-forward was strong and direct.

“There were times when I thought we were a bit too quick to kick instead of putting ball through hands, but in terms of effort and attitude I thought we were absolutely top notch, and especially so as this was our first game in 21 days.

“Individually, Lucas Onyango put in a big stint of carrying the ball out of defence, while Mick Fogerty and Marcus St Hilaire bottled up their centres and totally commanded those areas of the field, something we have been working on.

“Danny Whitmore also had a good game, and the halves did pretty well, as did Craig Robinson considering he had been out of the game for six or seven weeks with a groin injury.

“My priority from the game was to pick up the three league points, but at the back of our minds was the need to improve our for-and-against record. In that respect it was disappointing to let them in for two tries.”

Asked about his selection of Ashe and McNally at half-back to the exclusion of the more experienced Neil Roden, Tony B said: “There is competition for places now and on this occasion I opted to go for Matty and Gregg.

“I thought they did pretty well and it’s nice to be in a position of having a quality player like Neil (Roden) waiting in the wings.”