17th September 2016, 19:11 | championship

Championship Shield: Weekend Previews

Championship Shield: Weekend Previews

A look ahead to the final round of fixtures in the Championship Shield.

Bradford Bulls v Sheffield Eagles (Sunday, 3.00pm)

Bradford Bulls fell to a shock defeat at the hands of relegated Workington last weekend. The loss ended the Bulls unbeaten run in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield.

Ahead of this week’s game, Coach Rohan Smith said, “Training’s been strong this week and the boys are looking to right a few wrongs from last week. It doesn’t matter how you played last week, it’s about doing something about it.”

He continued, “Historically, these games are pretty close. Sheffield have got experience of playing in big games, they’re physical and they’re well coached.

“They’ve got their own style of play and they’re prepared to throw a few tricks shots. We’re going to have our hands full, physically and mentally.

“The Championship Shield is certainly the goal, but it’s all about Sheffield for the next few days.”

Kurt Haggerty will miss the game for Bradford after picking up a two-match ban.

Sheffield Eagles lost 38-22 to Dewsbury Rams last weekend. They currently sit in third place going in to the game against Bradford.

Dewsbury Rams v Oldham (Sunday, 3.00pm)

Dewsbury bounced back from their defeat to Whitehaven with an important 38-22 win against Sheffield. Coach Glenn Morrison was pleased with his side’s response. He said, “We certainly had the desire and the pride in the shirt was back. The team took ownership of the week before and gave me what we needed. I saw the hunger back and hopefully we can bring that in to this weekend.

“We know it’s now in our hands and we’ve got to keep winning to keep our season alive. I know, if the boys turn up with the right attitude we’ve got a good enough squad to get the result we need.”

Scott Hale will miss the game due to a torn pec. Paul Sykes and Jason Crookes are also available after pulling out of last week’s game late due to injury.

Oldham edged a 20-18 victory over Whitehaven to secure their place in the Championship next season. Scott Naylor told the club website, “Everybody worked hard, tried hard, showed the right attitude and got stuck in. In a game like this, with so much riding on it, the only thing that mattered was the result and we got over the line to reach our season-long goal.

“We can look forward to the new season now and we need to start planning immediately on a whole variety of fronts so that we are no longer ever again in the position we found ourselves before this game.”

Halifax v Workington Town (Sunday, 3.00pm)

Halifax fell to a narrow 28-26 defeat at the hands of Swinton Lions. Coach Richard Marshall said, “We weren’t very good in the first half, Swinton defended their line very well and on the whole they were more desperate than us. We want to build our form and confidence going in to the play-offs and we didn’t manage that at the weekend.”

Marshall is wary of Workington’s after their victory against League Leader’s Bradford Bulls last weekend. He continued, “Workington played very well against Bradford, it was a really interesting game. They’ve not got a lot to play for now but to come up with that performance shows what a quality team they are. I’m hoping that we can turn ourselves around against them this weekend.”

Ben Heaton, Chester Butler and Captain Scott Murrell are all in doubt for this weekend’s game.

Despite being relegated to League 1, Workington managed to secure a 30-26 win over Bradford Bulls, who were unbeaten in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield before the game. Coach Phil Veivers said, “It’s mental that we could come up with a result like that with the busted troops we had to play. When you think about it, I think the pressure was off and we could just play footy and we came up with the result.

“We head to Halifax down on troops but we’ll dust everyone off and see how we go against them. We just want to get across the finish line for the last round of the year.”

Karl Olstrum will miss this weekend’s game after receiving a six-match ban.

Whitehaven v Swinton Lions (Sunday, 3.00pm)

Whitehaven were relegated to League 1 following a narrow 20-18 defeat to Oldham. Carl Forster, one of four players currently overseeing the team, said “The game could’ve gone either way but we just ran out of steam. We got back in to the game but the final whistle came too soon.”

Despite relegation, Forster is hoping the team can finish with a win over Swinton Lions, he continued, “Swinton are safe so hopefully we can catch them a bit off guard and complacent. We’re fighting to finish ahead of Workington in the table and finish the season on a high with victory.”

Swinton Lions sealed a 28-26 victory over Halifax to secure their Championship status for another year. Coach John Duffy, “I was pleased with the game. Our main goal was to survive in the Championship and we’ve done that. We always said we want to be in control of our own destiny and we needed to get that win against Halifax, who I rate highly. It was a big result.”

Looking ahead to the game against Whitehaven, Duffy continued, “They won’t want to finish on a negative and they’ll want to finish higher than Workington knowing the Cumbrians. We have to go up there and give ourselves the best opportunity to reach this shield as well.

“There is everything left to play for, we don’t want to finish playing just yet.”

Andy Bracek will return after missing last weekend’s game as he was unavailable for selection due to his dual-registration deal with Halifax.