Heywood Road

Swinton Lions Rugby Club finish their pre-season preparations this Sunday as they travel to West Yorkshire outfit Keighley Cougars.

The clash will see the Lions face the fellow Betfred League One outfit, for their final pre-season friendly before the official commencement of the 2022 rugby league season.

Swinton were relegated to the third tier of the rugby league pyramid after finishing bottom of the Betfred Championship in the 2021 campaign, but are hoping to bounce straight back up this year. Club CEO Steve Wild gave his thoughts ahead of the season’s kick off:

“We’re very optimistic about the season ahead. We felt that we were unlucky to get relegated, and I think that was largely to do with the horrendous injury list last year. We’ve retained the majority of our core squad and we’ve added to that squad.

“Popular players, such as Micky Butt, Luke Waterworth and Rhodri Lloyd, our captain. These are all players that the fans really look up to, and despite the fact that we’ve gone down a division, these players have shown a great deal of loyalty and they want to get us back into the Championship, where we feel we belong.

“It’s a good squad, with some good lads and we’re all on the same page. We’ve all got one objective, and that’s to win promotion at the first attempt”

Swinton have had a mixed pre-season campaign, since their preparations began at the turn of the year. They kicked it off with a challenging trip to local Superleague outfit Salford Red Devils, for a friendly match that finished 48-12 to the home side.

Their second friendly of the campaign was a home victory against Championship side Whitehaven, with the Lions edging a close game, 28-22.

In their first competitive fixture of the season, Swinton thrashed League One outfit, West Wales Raiders, 96-0, in the second round of the Challenge Cup.

They progressed to the third round where they faced fellow League One side North Wales Crusaders, but unfortunately fell to a 20-14 defeat at their home ground, Heywood Road.

The Lions are hoping to bounce back from this disappointment with a positive performance at Cougar Park, to ensure they go into the 2022 campaign with confidence levels high. Steve Wild spoke of the expectation surrounding the club heading into this campaign:

“We won’t be complacent, especially after losing unexpectedly to North Wales Crusaders in the Challenge Cup.

“That did disrupt our preparations to some extent because we were expecting further cup matches, hence the reason we’ve quickly organised this friendly against Keighley, in order to give the squad a good run out ahead of the first league game on the 27th of March.”

Tickets are available for the pre-season away trip to Keighley on the 13th of March, via the Keighley Cougars website.

The Lions also face West Wales Raiders on the 27th of March, as they kick off their league campaign at the Heywood Road Stadium in Sale. They will be hoping for a similar result to the resounding second round Challenge Cup victory in January. Tickets are available via the Swinton Lions website.


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