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2003 Match Preview: Swinton (Cup)
Match Preview: Wigan v Swinton - Cup Quarter Final Match Preview Posted on Friday, March 14 2003 @ 12:43:32 GMT by Bilko
It's a big opportunity to reach the Semi Finals of the Challenge Cup this weekend as National League Division 2 side Swinton Lions come to the JJB.

 
Swinton Lions v Wigan Warriors Powergen Challenge Cup Quarter Final
Sunday 16th March 2003. Kick Off 3.00pm at JJB Stadium.
Match Introduction
It's the Quarter Finals of the Challenge Cup this weekend and Wigan travel to, errrm, Wigan for an "away" match against Swinton Lions on Sunday at the JJB Stadium.

Of course the fixture was meant to be played at Swinton's Moor Lane ground but with that venue only having a capacity of 2,500, the Lions reluctantly switched the game to the JJB Stadium.

Swinton coach Peter Roe said: "We would have preferred to play at our own ground because our spectator base has increased lately but the Rugby League instructed us to switch it to a different venue. We looked at neutral venues but they would not have offered us the same financial benefits."

Swinton have come a hell of a long way in the past year. 12 months a go they had a dwindling fan base and almost went out of existence. That small fan base  managed to set up the "Swinton supporters' trust" and raise £25,000 which was, in the words of Swinton director Richard Taylor, "the difference between finishing the (last) season and not doing." 

Serious Financial problems at Bury Football Club also meant they have to leave Gigg Lane, their home for the past ten years since Station Road was sold in 1992. They also had a terrible time on the pitch winning just 6 of 27 NFP matches.

Twelve months on, the Lions have moved to Moor Lane, the home of Salford City FC, which is much nearer to Swinton then Bury was. They are also slowly but surely increasing their fan base and performances on the pitch have improved under new Coach Peter Roe, back for his second spell at the club.

Two weeks a go they hammered Featherstone 32-10 to reach the Quarter Finals of the cup but just last weekend they came crashing back down to earth losing 38-6 at Whitehaven in the Arriva Trains Cup. They had to bring in an young amateur player for the Whitehaven match due to only having 16 fit players. 

Coach Roe said: "We had to rake in an amateur kid for Whitehaven. It was a reminder that we're still not far off being a struggling club and people have to understand that and be realistic."

Very true. They have to be realistic. They've little chance of beating us but the Swinton fans won't care. Sunday's game will see the Swinton Supporters Trust's hard work having paid off and credit to them. Sunday's game will see Swinton earn a reported £17,500 which is a fortune to them.

Wigan coach Stuart Raper sends his players into the game demanding they play consistently well for the full 80 minutes and rightly so. Both at Doncaster two weeks a go and against Huddersfield last week, the Warriors have let the opposition score when in complete control of the game.

They led 50-0 after 55 minutes at Doncaster but let them score 10 unanswered points late on. That didn't really matter in the end but against the Giants they let, what I felt was a comfortable 13-0 and then 19-4 lead, be whittled down to, at one point, just a 29-22 lead. It may be comfortable again this weekend but if we have another 50-0 lead early in the second half, don't slack off, punish them! Let's have 80 on the board!

On the injury front, Danny Tickle is expected to be ruled out with a Wrist Injury so Paul Johnson could be returning (following his suspension) by playing in the Second Row. Raper's is confident Johnson can do a good job in that position but I'm sure about him in that role. I suppose we haven't many options left though with both Mick Cassidy and Andy Farrell still unavailable. The proof of whether he can do a good job should be in the pudding! We shall see.

Opposition One to Watch

Kris Tassell

Another aspect which shows how far Swinton have come recently is their signing of Kris Tassell, the former Canterbury, North Queensland, Salford and Wakefield centre. He is a current Welsh international no less and moved to Swinton when they offered him a combined job of playing and being part of the clubs commercial department. He still believes he can play at an higher level though. 

Tassell said: "I think I still belong in Super League. I have got confidence in my ability at that level. It's a matter of going out and playing my normal game."

Tassell will certainly be one to watch on Sunday. He has a good scoring record at Super League level with Salford and Wakefield scoring 17 tries in 49 appearances.

Expected Shirt Number: 3
Team News
Wigan Swinton
Danny Tickle is expected to be out of Sunday's clash with Swinton due to a wrist injury. Paul Johnson has been named in the 2nd row although Raper may change his side before Sunday. Andy Farrell, Mick Cassidy & Terry O'Connor are all still missing. Swinton are without prop Chris Roe, who is out with a knee injury, stand-off Rob Gallagher, who has a fractured cheekbone, and Kris Smith, who recently underwent knee surgery.
Team Sheet
Wigan Swinton
Probable: Radlinski, Carney, Hodgson, Ainscough, Dallas, O'Neill, Lam, C Smith, Newton, Sculthorpe, Wild, Johnson, O'Loughlin. Subs: M Smith, Bibey, Aspinwall, Hock.
 
Probable: English, Mead, Tassell, Hassan, Roach, Bithel, Hough, Knox, Barraclough, Leatham, Wingfield, Ellison, Cannon. Subs: Cushion, Cheetham, Shea, Russell.
 
Match Referee
Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan Swinton
"Paul needs the football and the greater intensity in the second row will suit him fine. PJ's not a dirty player, the incident at Castleford was a one-off." Stuart Raper on Paul Johnson.
"It will be a great occasion for the club. There is no pressure on us and we will go there to enjoy the game. We know it will be the biggest shock of the century (if we win) but we are quite prepared to go under those circumstances." Swinton coach Peter Roe.
Opposition Form (Last 6)
Date Opposition Competition Result Score
09/03/03 Whitehaven (A) Arriva Trains Cup Lost 6-38
02/03/03 Featherstone (H) Challenge Cup Rd 5 Won 32-10
23/02/03 Oldham (H) Arriva Trains Cup Lost 16-24
09/02/03 Chorley (H) Challenge Cup Rd 4 Won 32-16
02/02/03 Leigh (H) Arriva Trains Cup Lost 10-24
26/01/03 Shaw Cross (H) Challenge Cup Rd 3 Won 46-0

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): WWLWLL

Previous Challenge Cup Meetings
Year & Round Result
1909-10 Rd 1 Wigan 16 Swinton 5
1941-42 Rd 3 Swinton 0 Wigan 9, Wigan 12 Swinton 17 (Agg 21-17 Wigan)*
1945-46 Rd 1 Swinton 5 Wigan 4, Wigan 14 Swinton 2 (Agg 18-7 Wigan)*
1963-64 Rd 1 Swinton 13 Wigan 8 (Replay after Wigan 15 Swinton 15)
1964-65 S.Final Wigan 25 Swinton 10 (At St Helens)
1970-71 Rd 2 Swinton 8 Wigan 2

CC Record: Swinton 2 Wigan 4, 1 draw

*Denotes game played over two legs

Matchday Weather

From BBCi.

Sunny Sunny
Wind: 11mph from the South East.
Temps: Max: 11°C Low: 2°C

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors): Adults: £12.00 Under 18 yrs: £8.00 Senior Citizens: £8.00
West Stand: Adults: £16.00 No Concessions.
East Stand: Adults: £14.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £10
South Stand: Adults: £12.00 Concessions/Juniors/OAP's: £8.00
Click for JJB Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: No TV Coverage    
Radio:95.1 BBC GMR will be doing football from 2-4pm so Rugby coverage will only be focused on from 4pm. Their main game will be Salford v Saints but they will have coverage from the JJB also.
Internet: Live coverage once the football has finished at 4pm from BBC GMR at bbc.co.uk/manchester.
Opposition Views
SwintonLions.net - Official Site
Lions Message Board
Prediction
Comfortable easy win. 60+ points
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