Keighley Cougars v Toronto Wolfpack Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 13th August
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
Low on number and with back very much up against the wall, the Cougars sealed a dramatic late victory over the York City Knights last Sunday afternoon and will be out for more of the same this week as the Toronto Wolfpack visit Cougar Park for the second time this season in what will be their final away match of the 2017 season.
LAST TIME OUT:
A dramatic late try saw the Cougars knock off the York City Knights at Cougar Park. Trailing 10-0 after half hour, two Andy Gabriel tries just before the half-time interval levelled the scores but Keighley conceded first in the second half before taking the lead through Vinny Finigan. Brad Hey scored what appeared to be the winner for the Knights before a late James Feather try snatched the two points.
Toronto Wolfpack bounced back from their first League One defeat with a 0-68 routing of Workington Town at Derwent Park. Australian half-back Blake Wallace ran in four tries for Paul Rowley’s side while both Jonny Pownall and Craig Hall scored a brace. Further tries on the day in Cumbria came through QLT, Liam Kay, James Laithwaite and Jacob Emmitt on a comfortable afternoon.
Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard has made no secret of being low on numbers last Sunday and it is more of the same this week. Brad Nicholson (Quad) still ruled out through injury while Josh Lynam is unavailable for selection. Harry Aaronson (Tonsillitis) is 50:50 for the visit of the Wolfpack following illness otherwise it could be an unchanged side from the one that beat York.
Wolfpack Head Coach Paul Rowley is expected to name an unchanged side from that, that routed Workington Town last Sunday at Derwent Park. Long term absentees Andrew Dixon (Foot), Gary Wheeler (Quad) and Ryan Bailey (Knee) are still missing for the Wolfpack while veteran hooker Sean Penkywicz is also unavailable for selection through injury.
When these two sides met back in March, “That Man Again” Matty Beharrell was influential in a losing performance and was highly praised for his performance by Brian Noble during the game on Premier Sports and in the week that followed the Wolfpack’s 21-48 victory. The test is a lot tougher this time however as Beharrell will be stepping toe-to-toe with Ryan Brierley who is looking to secure his place in the Scotland World Cup squad for this autumn.
COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Barnes; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Dixon; Emmett; Feather; Finigan; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Law; O’Sullivan; Rawlins; Reed; Ryder; Sagar.
WOLFPACK: Beswick; Brierley; Burroughs; Bussey; Crossley; Emmitt; Fleming; Hall; Jacks; Kay; Laithwaite; Laulu-Togagae; Moimoi; Pick; Pownall; Sidlow; Wallace; Whiting; Worthington.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “All we can do now is week on week chalk off as many victories as we can and the guys are getting the belief now of how good they actually are.
“We’re playing some good Rugby League at the moment, we’re playing nice and fast which is playing to our strenghts and what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks is that we have built a bit of resilience into the team.
“Toronto can relax now because now they’ve had that first defeat out the way they can play with some relaxation than what they have previously but we know it’s going to be tough because they’re a full-time team with a side full of quality players.”
Toronto Wolfpack Head Coach Paul Rowley: “Like I said before, these 8s are a different animal and we’re going to have to be good. Everyone’s a Cup final and every performance that everyone puts on against us is their best.
“We already understand people talk us up, how good we are, we’ve got this, that and the other, I think York had more Super League players in their squad than we did in ours a fortnight ago.
“Everybody likes to go under the radar and put us on a pedestal to apply pressure. Because obviously everybody wants us to fail. So we’ve got to shoulder that pressure and deal with it.”
The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Super Eights Round Two fixture at Cougar Park is Andy Sweet from Castleford. Sweet was the man in the middle for March’s meeting between the two sides when the Wolfpack emerged 21-48 winners over the Cougars with his last appointment for Craig Lingard’s side coming in May’s pulsating 42-58 home defeat at the hands of the Barrow Raiders.
The Cougars are very much the underdogs, have as the majority of the sides the Wolfpack have faced throughout their debut year, and Toronto will be looking to put on a show in their final away match of the 2017 season prior to completing the year with four consecutive home matches across the Atlantic. Another big crowd is expected this Sunday afternoon at Cougar Park and Craig Lingard will be hoping his side can spring the surprise to make it four wins on the bounce.