Keighley Cougars v North Wales Crusaders Preview by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar) in association with A1 Stairlifts.
Following a hard fought victory in awful conditions at Barrow last Sunday, the Cougars return to Cougar Park for the penultimate home game off the season against the North Wales Crusaders, relegated last weekend from the Championship.
The Cougars only have one injury doubt from last week’s victory in Cumbria, and that is Brendon Rawlins, with the Aussie second rower currently suffering from an arm injury which has seen the area put in plaster.
The game could also be a penultimate Cougar Park appearance for Andy Shickell, with reports this week that the veteran prop forward could be set to hang up his boots at the end of the current campaign after nearly a decade with the club.
Speaking following the defeat of the Raiders, Player-Coach Paul March told the media: “Games at this stage of the season against sides like Barrow and North Wales are the most dangerous you can play. These teams have nothing to play for league wise as they’ve been relegated so the players will be playing to earn contracts, moves, as well as for pride, the fans and for the badge.”
The Crusaders arrive at Cougar Park fresh of a heart breaking last minute 20-17 defeat to Halifax last Sunday which confirmed there relegation to League One after just one season in the second tier of European Rugby League.
Stuart Reardon (Knee) is still a doubt for the Wrexham outfit who have already begun rebuilding for 2015 with Anthony Murray signing duo Scott Turner & Dominic Speakman from former club Barrow Raiders.
Holding a lead but then losing the game late on has been something of a regular occurrence for Crusaders of late & Crusaders coach Murray, who started the season at the Raiders, recently told the club’s media manager Ryan Gould:
“As I’ve said all along since I’ve been coach, if we take each game as it comes and compete, then we have a chance to pick up some wins along the way. The focus for me is to prepare the team as best as I can so that we can compete and get some results in this league. It’s always one game at a time”
Three more vital points on Sunday could confirm the Cougars safety should this happen and the Batley Bulldogs lose at home to Dewsbury Rams. However, this will only confirm survival should the Bulldogs be deducted three points after being found guilty of fielding an ineligible player.