Swinton Lions will play their first game in almost a year this Saturday when they visit Bradford Bulls in their first pre-season friendly.
The Lions will travel to the Tetley’s Stadium looking to build up match sharpness and preparation ahead of their Betfred Challenge Cup season opener against Newcastle Thunder on March 21.
Stuart Littler’s side will face a realistic test in the form of the Bulls, who play in the same division as Swinton, in what is seen as an ideal fixture to prepare the Lions for the 2021 campaign.
With the 2020 season curtailed almost a year ago, Littler will be eager to see his troops take to the field against an opposition again, with the last game completed being the Challenge Cup loss at Widnes, on March 15 last year.
The Lions took part in an intra-squad training game last weekend at Heywood Road in preparation for Saturdays fixture, with the full 2021 squad involved in the training exercise.
After exactly one year and one week, the Lions finally returned to the Heywood Road turf at the weekend!
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) March 1, 2021
Following this, Littler told the Lions official website: “The sun was shining and today’s session proved there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can now have huge optimism about the future in front of us.
“Everything ran smoothly and it was great to see the boys back out in some in-house competitive action, even it was just a training exercise. We now move into a game week scenario with footage to review and stats to compile, but most of all with opposition to prepare for!”
The 2021 campaign will once again see Swinton in the Betfred Championship, for the fifth consecutive season, and will see the Lions look to improve on their last completed campaign, a 9th place finish in 2019.
They will once again play home games at Heywood Road in Sale, and have added a number of new signings ahead of the season, including Kiwi Geronimo Doyle from Otahuhu Leopards.
The season opens with the Challenge Cup fixture against Newcastle, before the Lions will start their Championship campaign, an exciting local derby away at Oldham on Good Friday in which will be the first of 22 scheduled league games.
With the latest government announcement, it is hoped that Lions supporters will be allowed back at Heywood Road in the near future, but in the meantime games are being streamed on the Our League platform for supporters.
Our opening two fixtures in the 2021 season will both be streamed live on Our League!
Make sure to sign-up via the app or website and select Swinton Lions as your team during the process.
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) February 20, 2021
The game on Saturday will be played behind closed doors, but Lions fans will be able to watch the action live via the Our League platform.