Keighley Cougars v York City Knights Match Preview by Joshua Chapman (@JRCSport)
Date: Sunday 6th August
Venue: Cougar Park, Keighley
The Cougars and the Knights both began the Eights last weeks with victories over Doncaster and Toronto to bring both teams into Cougar Park this Sunday buzzing with confidence as they meet for the second time this season just seven weeks removed from the fiery encounter that took place in late June.
LAST TIME OUT:
A dominant first half performance was the catalyst for a 24-32 victory away at Doncaster for Craig Lingard’s side. A brace from Matthew Bailey and tries from the left edge pairing of Andy Gabriel and Adam Ryder sent the Cougars into half-time with a 14 point advantage. A superb second half solo effort from Brendon Rawlins and a Matty Beharrell penalty in the second half secured the two points.
York inflicted Toronto’s first League One defeat of the season with a 26-16 victory at Bootham Crescent. Tries from Jake Butler-Fleming and Connor Robinson either side of a brace from Man of the Match Liam Harris sealed the victory for the Knights in front of a near 3000 crowd in what was an ill disciplined performance from the Wolfpack.
Cougars quartet of Scott Law, Mike Emmett, Matthew Bailey and Ben Sagar have all shaken off knocks picked up at Doncaster last weekend to be passed fit for Sunday’s game against the Knights. Brad Nicholson (Knee) has been ruled out through injury while Josh Tonks serves the fourth of his five game supension. Josh Lynam is available despite being charged with Grade A Punching by the disciplinary this week.
York full-back Ash Robson serves the first of a potentially season ending six game suspension after being found guilty of Grade E Spitting this week. Veteran winger Tommy Saxton comes into James Ford’s 19 man squad in place of David Foggin-Johnston while the Hull Kingston Rovers quartet of Jake-Butler Fleming, Liam Harris, Will Jubb and Kieron Moran are all available on dual registration.
The meeting between the two in June was a ill tempered affair played under fiery circumstances and the standard of refereeing that afternoon left both sides angered following the match. How referee Callum Straw handles any possible descretions on Sunday afternoon could prove crucial to the match as a whole and who responds better to his calls could be the side that takes the points.
COUGARS: Aaronson; Bailey; Barnes; Beharrell; Brook; Cherryholme; Conroy; Emmett; Feather; Finigan; Gabriel; Hawkyard; Law; Lynam; O’Sullivan; Rawlins; Reed; Ryder; Sagar.
KNIGHTS: Batchelor; Butler-Fleming; Dixon; Ellis; Harris; Haynes; Hey; Jubb; Moran; Morrison; Porter; A Robinson; C Robinson; Saxton; Siddons; Silk; Spears; Thompson; Tyson-Wilson.
Keighley Cougars Head Coach Craig Lingard: Our players have got a point to prove against York, certainly after how they reviewed the game and put eight of our players in for disciplinary.
“Our players ideally would love to get one over on York but we’ve got to take that emotion out of the game and play with a bit of common sense.
“We want to play with passion but we’ve got to keep it within the laws of the game and within what we what we want to do in terms of keeping to our game plan and structures.”
York City Knights Head Coach James Ford: “The win would have to be up there if you look at Toronto’s playing roster and how convincingly they’ve beaten teams. But ultimately it’s two points and we needed to come in on Tuesday and be ready to work hard again.
“If we get turned over away at Keighley this week, it rules this win against Toronto out.
“The players needed to enjoy the win against Toronto but on Tuesday we started again and prepare for this weekend. Keighley are a good team and will have a point to prove after we beat them last time.”
The referee for this Kingstone Press League One Super Eights Round Two fixture at Cougar Park is Callum Straw from Wakefield. Straw was a regular man in the middle for the Cougars throughout the 2016 season however this is the first time in 2017 he has been appointed to officiate the Cougars. Ironically, Straw’s last Cougars game was last September’s 50-8 home victory over the Knights.
This game has all the potential to blow up at any given moment after the heat and backlash that followed the previous meeting in late June but Craig Lingard is an intelligent coach who knows how to keep his side away from any possible goading and play acting and not be dragged into a game similar to the previous meeting. York will be on a high after beating the Wolfpack last time around and this should be the game of the weekend in both the League One Super Eights and League One Shield. It’s must not miss Rugby League.