Newsome Panthers take on local rivals Almondbury Spartans in the Yorkshire Men’s Amateur Rugby League Premier Division on Saturday (March 25).
The two clubs faced each other last year in a cup competition but since Newsome’s promotion, the two Huddersfield sides will now do battle in the league.
Head coach Richie Hawkyard has rallied his troops ahead of the fixture and while he’s confident of victory he’s warned it won’t be straightforward. Hawkyard has reflected on the Panthers’ opening game win over well respected amateur side Siddal last weekend.
On the Almondbury fixture, Hawkyard said: “We are looking forward to the game. We know we will be up for it as will they. It’s brilliant to see two Huddersfield sides in the Premier Division, that hasn’t happened for a while.
“We have outlined what we want to do this season and no disrespect to Almondbury but if we want to achieve those goals we need to beat teams like them.
“We know they have some good talent, what we don’t know is who will actually be playing for them on the day. They have a dual-reg agreement with Oldham in the Rugby Football League. So some of their better players might be playing for Oldham at the weekend rather than Almondbury. So it’s hard for us to prepare. All we can do is concentrate on ourselves.
“They have good players like Josh Willcox and Jason Southwell who will be looking to hurt us and so we need to be ready in how we deal with them. Almondbury are a side that can damage us and so we’ll need to be ready and have the right attitude.”
The Panthers beat Siddal 25-18 last week and Hawkyard, whilst pleased with the performance, was frustrated with his side’s sloppy play too.
“Siddal are a very good side and we beat them and you can tell it’s a step up, so when we looked back at the game we thought on reflection we had done well. We also thought, however, that we’re sloppy with the ball in hand.
“I have told the players we need to improve if we are to achieve what we want to this season. I think for the first game there was always going to be things we can work on. It’s now the challenge for us to step up and look to improve as the weeks go by.”
Newsome Panthers take on Almondbury at home on Saturday March 25 (2.30).