Roughyeds Feb Update

Date published: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

OLDHAM RL Club won’t be rushing Lucas Onyango back into senior action after his year-long battle to beat a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Coach Tony Benson regards a fully-fit Onyango as a threat to any Championship One defence and he won’t be taking chances in demanding too much too soon of his 30-year-old Kenyan winger.

He had planned to give him a run-out by now, but weather-affected pitches and the scrapping of two warm-up games have forced Benson to keep his flamboyant flanker wrapped in cotton wool.

“He needs to be eased back gently,” said the Roughyeds’s boss, “and in an ideal world we would be looking at giving him no more than 20-minute spells to begin with.

“Once he has shown he can cope with that we can step it up to 40 minutes and so on, but that type of comeback clearly rules him out of first-team action and restricts him to the reserve team until we feel he is ready to go a full match.

“We can’t afford the luxury of a winger on the first-team bench, and it’s important that we take things easy with Lucas so that hopefully we can get the best out of him in a few weeks’ time when vital league points will be at stake.”

Roughyeds had hoped to arrange a reserve-team friendly this week, but Benson said that was now looking unlikely.

He has three outside backs currently in need of a comeback run-out —- Onyango, Mark Brocklehurst and Sean Robinson.

Brocklehust, last season’s top try scorer with 17, is ready to resume after being out for several weeks with a broken thumb.

Winger Robinson, who played in 19 of the team’s 27 games last year, damaged a hip in the friendly at Whitehaven in mid-January.

Added Benson: “We are desperately in need of a couple of reserve games to ease a few players back into action and it may be that we try to squeeze two into next week.”

Whitehaven reserves are coming to Whitebank a week on Saturday, March 3 (2pm kick off) in the build-up to the new Reserves Championship season which starts with the visit of Sheffield Eagles on Thursday, March 8 (7.45pm).

“It would be ideal if we could get another game early next week,” he said.

Dewsbury Rams, who have lost their two Northern Rail Cup games, come to Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) looking to make it third-time lucky, while Roughyeds will take heart from their big fightback in South Wales last week which earned them two pool points with a 36-36 draw.

Paul Ballard (knee) and Valu Bentley (ankle) are having treatment, but Chris Clarke is expected to be cleared after suffering an eye injury in the pre-match warm-up at Neath.

His late withdrawal forced Benson to go into the game without one experienced second-row man and with 21-year-olds Alex Thompson and Michael Ward pairing up from the start and prop David Ellison having a spell there later in the game.

Paul Noone and Paul Smith, the club’s most experienced second-rowers, were unavailable, but Benson is hoping Noone will be back training this week after missing out recently because of work commitments.