Team updates

Date published: Thursday, July 15, 2010

PLAYERS carrying injuries will be queuing up for fitness tests at Whitebank tonight (Thurs) before Oldham RL coach Tony Benson can name his 15-man squad for the Northern Rail Nines at Blackpool on Saturday.

The injury pile-up, due to some degree on playing on rock-hard pitches, has already claimed utility forward Craig Robinson, who has been ruled out with a back injury. He has played in only one of the Roughyeds’ last five games, having also had a pelvic problem.

Prop Luke Sutton, out for six weeks with a knee injury, is still a couple of weeks away, while Ben Heaton has been given the weekend off for personal and family reasons.

On top of those three the roll-call of walking wounded reads like this: Gregg McNally (hand), Neil Roden (foot and shin), Marcus St Hilaire (groin), Lucas Onyango (ankle), Paul O’Connor (neck) and Valu Bentley (back).

Physiotherapist Rachael Johnson will be working overtime tonight to assess the extent of their injuries.

“It is important we field our strongest possible team,” said Benson, “but at the same time we have to be aware of our injuries.

“Also, it is a fantastic opportunity for fringe players and for those who perform consistently well in the reserves to be given a chance to see how they go at this level. I’ll be working
closely with reserve team coach John Hough.”

Roughyeds are early birds in the Nines tournament, kicking off the day-long proceedings with a nine-minutes-each-way clash with Barrow, starting at 10.00am on pitch 1.

Benson’s boys then play Sheffield Eagles on pitch 2 at noon and Featherstone Rovers, also on pitch 2, at 3.00pm.

Dewsbury, Rochdale, Swinton and Gateshead are in pool 1; Keighley, Workington, York and Whitehaven make up pool 3; Doncaster, Blackpool and London Skolars are in pool 4; and Halifax, Hunslet and Leigh comprise pool 5.

Teams in pools 4 and 5 will each play an additional cross-pool game so that every team will play three games, the results of which will form one final table. The top four will go forward to the sudden-death stage.

The top team will play the fourth (5.00pm) and second will play third (5.30), the winners of each to contest the final on pitch 1, starting at 6.30pm.

Tickets for the Nines are on special offer at the Roughyeds office, which is open until 5pm this evening and from 9am to 5pm tomorrow.

+Roughyeds reserves, who have won seven of their last eight games in the Reserves Championship, travel to Widnes tonight (7.30pm) to play the Vikings at Widnes Rugby Union Club which is on Heath Road, Widnes, WA8 7NU.