Keighley Cougars v Bradford Bulls Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 29th January
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
The Craig Lingard Era saw it’s first defeat at the hands of Batley last Sunday, but there’s just much more than a good runout and result at stake this Sunday as the Bradford Bulls visit Cougar Park for the 13th contest of the Joe Phillips Memorial Trophy and the return of a fierce local rivalry after 5 years away.
LAST TIME OUT:
Keighley Cougars fell to a 38-12 defeat away at the Batley Bulldogs. Tries from Andy Gabriel and Scott Law at the end of either half proved to be nothing more than consolations as the home side showed the difference in class between the two sides, punishing the Cougars by running in seven tries either side of half-time.
In their first game since re-forming, the Bradford Bulls put in a brave performance falling to a 28-10 defeat away at Huddersfield in Luke Robinson’s testimonial game. Joe Keyes scored the histroical first try for the new Bulls with a further effort from Ross Oakes as they pushed the Giants all the way throughout.
Craig Lingard will be without Josh Lynam (Hand) following an injury against Batley as he joins Danny Lawton, Ben Sagar and James Pickering on the sidelines. Will Milner (Shoulder) and Fran Welsh (Ankle) both come into the side for their first runouts in 2017 after they were both cleared to play in training this week.
Geoff Toovey will welcome Ethan Ryan, Leon Pryce and Oscar Thomas into the side for his first game in charge of the Bulls after they didn’t feature against Huddersfield last Sunday. Omari Caro will not feature however as he sustained an injury against the Giants which has left his foot in a protective boot this week.
The Bulls pose a real threat in the front row that the Cougars will be all too familiar with in Ross Peltier. The question is though can ‘Fam’ play against Scott Law and Brendon Rawlins in Red, Amber and Black as well as he used to play with them in Red, White and Green.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “I am pleased that the situation has been resolved and the players, staff and supporters can hopefully look forward to a brighter future both on and off the field as I believe that the area and Rugby League as a whole needs a team in Bradford.
“The gulf in class last weekend showed mentally and I feel we showed Batley too much respect and it took us a while to get into the game.
“We were 16-0 down and completing at 37% and that impacts on everything you do in both attack and in defence so one thing we will be focusing on Sunday is starting better than we did at Batley.”
Bradford Bulls Academy Coach Leigh Beattie: “Some of the things we have been through have been horrendous.
“They were demoralised but we have spoken about getting all that negativity out of the way. It’s a new start with new owners and the lads showed that in their spirit (against Huddersfield).
“Everything from now on will be positive moving forward and we will be all right – I can guarantee you that.”
The referee for this Sunday’s Joe Phillips Memorial Trophy at Cougar Park is Liam Moore from Wigan. Liam, a regular touch judge in the past for Cougars first team fixtures, is taking charge as the man in the middle for a Cougars game for the second time in his career following refereeing the defeat away at the Barrow Raiders last September in the League One Super Eights.
The Craig Lingard era suffered its first blip in defeat at Batley Bulldogs this Sunday but with a big crowd at Cougar Park expected and a near to full strength side awaiting a young Bulls outfit come 2pm, don’t be too surprised if the Joe Phillips Memorial Trophy remains in residence at Cougar Park come the full time hooter. – KEIGHLEY BY 8