Newcastle Thunder v Keighley Cougars Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 22nd April
Venue: Kingston Park, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne
The Cougars were defeated away at Oldham last weekend on a difficult afternoon at the Vestacare Stadium, but they will be looking for a reaction this weekend as they head out on the road once again, this time north for the re-arranged Betfred League One Round 2 fixture with the Newcastle Thunder.
LAST TIME OUT:
Newcastle continued their superb away form in 2018 with a 10-30 victory at the North Wales Crusaders. First half tries from Evan Simons, Aaron Ollett, Danny Nicklas and Vincent Rennie gave the Thunder a comfortable lead at half-time, Rennie added a second after the interval to wrap up the victory in an otherwise routine win across the border for Jason Payne and his side.
The Cougars threatend a comeback but ended up falling to a 32-18 defeat away at Oldham. After falling 16-0 down after just 11 minutes, tries from Brad Nicholson and Josh Tonks and a Benn Hardcastle penalty meant the gap at half-time was only 2 points between the sides. But a slow start and a number of dubious decisions from the official allowed Oldham to pull away meaning Adam Ryder’s second half effort was nothing more than a mere consolation.
Thunder Head Coach Jason Payne has brought Tyler Craig into contention for Sunday’s game as he comes into the 19 man squad with both Rhys Clarke and Niall Sidney dropping out from last week’s away victory in North Wales. Scotland international Dan Turland was named in the original 19 man but has since dropped out, Tuoyo Egodo is unavailable for selection meaning no Castleford players are included on dual-registration. Former Cougar Aaron Ollett is included, meaning he will make his 100th career appearance tomorrow afternoon.
Fresh off his debut at Oldham last Sunday, Darrell Griffin continues in the side and will make his 400th career appearance at Kingston Park. Hamish Barnes (Shoulder) is ruled out through injury and drops out of the side along with Davey Dixon and Lewis Fairhurst. Cameron Leeming (Knee) is back from a 3 month injury lay-off and could debut in the north-east with both Harry Aaronson and Brendon Rawlins recalled to the 19 by Craig Lingard. This game comes too soon however for Harvey Hallas (Shoulder), Trae O’Sullivan (Concussion) and Jose Kenga (Ankle).
In Lewis Young and Theerapol Ritson, Newcastle boast the reigning winner and runner-up of the League One Young Player of the Year award. Both pose danger with their ball handling skills, frightening speed and versatility which means whether they are at full-back, out on the wing or playing in the halves, the Cougars will have to be on their guard to prevent the youngsters causing too many problems.
THUNDER: Agoro, H Aldous, J Aldous, Brown, Calland, Craig, Fitzsimmons, Lloyd, Luckley, McAvoy, Nicklas, Ollett, Pointer, Rennie, Ritson, Shaw, Simons, Turland, Young.
COUGARS: Aaronson, Bailey, Beharrell, Conroy, Emmett, Gabriel, Griffin, Hardcastle, Hawkyard, Law, Leeming, Lynam, Morris, Nicholson, Rawlins, Ryder, Tonks, Whiteley, Wright.
Newcastle Thunder Head Coach Jason Payne has yet to comment.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: “They’ve got some big, strong and experienced middles. They’ve also got a lot of pace in their backs.
“They’ve got Tee Ritson who plays at full back and he’s like lightning. You’ve also got Lewis Young at half back. He scored three tries against us last year and he’s got pace to burn.
“They can strike all over the park so we need to make sure we get into the game. We’ve started badly in several games this season and we have to make sure that we don’t give ourselves a mountain to climb early on.”
The whistle blower for this re-arranged Betfred League One Round 2 fixture at Kingston Park is Billy Pearson from Barnsley. Pearson was also appointed for the original date in early March before ‘the beast from the east’ claimed the fixture as it did many more around the country in all sports over that two week period.
Craig Lingard will be looking for a reaction from his side after last week’s defeat at Oldham against a Newcastle side that his hit form after a slow start to the 2018 season. Jason Payne masterminded two victories over the Cougars last season and has exciting youngsters Lewis Young and Theerapol Ritson running the show behind a solid pack but Benn Hardcastle will be looking to mark his homecoming in style as the Cougars look to get back to winning ways ahead of consecutive home fixtures at Cougar Park.