North Wales Crusaders head coach Clive Griffiths is looking forward to what he describes as the “real deal” as his side host Oldham Roughyeds in the Northern Rail Cup on Sunday (2.30pm kick off).
Crusaders are embarking on an important second season in the Championship One and have prepared well with three wins out of four in pre-season.
“It’s been a good pre-season, which we didn’t have last year, so the real deal starts now”, Griffiths said.
“We’ll have to see what we’re like against opposition of our own standard now. We played some teams above and some teams below in standard, and we equiped ourselves pretty well, so let’s see what we can do now.
“I’m pretty confident but not over confident, as rugby league can come back to bite you on the backside. We’re just looking forward to it.”
A number of new recruits and trialists have arrived over the off-season, all of whom have featured in pre-season and given Griffiths something to think about ahead of the first competitive match.
But the Crusaders boss won’t be worrying too much about his team selection, as he looks to give all of the squad a chance.
“It will be a bit of a headache”, he said. “But we’ll aim to give everyone a game [in the Northern Rail Cup] and keep everyone ready for the Scorpions game.”
“I’m not going to experiment – but we’ve got players who can play in a number of positions. I’m just looking to give everyone an opportunity, as I don’t want people sitting on the sidelines for four weeks.
“We’ve got a good, balanced team now, and I know I’ve got good players who we can pick at the weekend and then rely on next week if we need them.”
Roughyeds’ Danger Man – Dale Bloomfield
The capture of Dale Bloomfield from Rochdale Hornets is a great signing for the Oldham club ahead of an important 2013 season, as he has a large amount of experience and has constantly delivered at this level. He was ever present for the Hornets last term, making 20 appearances and scoring 11 tries.
The Roughyeds have lost talented personnel over the off-season – Miles Greenwood who has departed for Batley just one example – and signings such as Bloomfield’s will go a long way to minimise the impact of those losses.
Form Guide (Last 6)
Oldham Roughyeds – WWLWWL
Oldham enter the Northern Rail Cup on the back of two pre-season victories against Rochdale Hornets, which saw them lift the annual Law Cup played out between the two clubs, and their Super League partnership club Salford City Reds, who fielded a host of youngsters.
The Roughyeds sealed a place in the play-offs last term despite an awful run in mid-season which saw coach Tony Benson eventually leave the club, and caused a lot of disruption to the squad following a strong start to the campaign.
Their victories over Workington Town and Gateshead Thunder, along with a well-earned bonus point against Town in Cumbria, in the last few rounds went a long way to securing their play-off place.
Entry for this fixture is £14 for adults and £8 for concessions and children, with U7s for free and family tickets, either two adults and two children or one adult and three children, priced at £30.
To make the most of hospitality, priced at £299 for 10 in the Voodoo Moon Executive Suite or £29.99 per head in the Voodoo Moon Altitude Suite, call 08432 896 407 or email email@example.com.
There is a special edition newspaper for the two Northern Rail ties against Oldham and Rochdale which will be on sale instead of the usual matchday programme, and you can purchase them from newsagents, at the stadium on matchday or from the office.
The 32-page supplement has plenty of content, including features on the World Cup, North Wales Conference, the Welsh contingent of the North Wales Crusaders squad and the new signings for 2013, and is a must have for any Crusaders supporter. And even better, they’re on sale for just £1!
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