Newsome Panthers head to London this weekend for their first ever Challenge Cup tie with meticulous off-the-field planning aimed at giving the team the best chance of victory.
Panthers head coach Ritchie Hawkyard and the club’s committee have ensured the players will be in the best condition for a long away trip to Wests Warriors on Saturday (January 13).
In the build-up, the squad has had some good training sessions including a high-intensity cardio fitness Hyrox session with Kev Bower at Northern Fitness Gym in Linthwaite.
The team will also have an overnight stay before the game and the club’s physio is travelling too to ensure the players are primed and ready.
A crowdfunder raised over £800 to help towards the costs and sponsors have helped out too. Huddersfield Giants have provided a minibus for fans to go down and The Zone also raised money by raffling tickets for a hospitality box.
Hawkyard said: “We’ve had a good few training sessions and Kev Bower put the players through their paces at Hyrox. We have planned it all and hopefully everything will go to plan.
“We will meet at Grappolo’s restaurant in Lockwood on Friday for a team feed and then travel down by coach. It’ll be a four to four-and-a-half hour journey. We’ll stay in a hotel overnight and have breakfast and then we’ll have a stretching session with the physio.”
One or two of the younger members of the squad are needed by Bradford Bulls for a friendly but that will give an opportunity to others and Hawkyard added: “Everyone is really excited.
“It’s our first time in the Challenge Cup – the most prestigious club competition – and it gives everyone a chance to dream of getting a big club in the later rounds.”
Panthers already know they will play Rochdale Mayfield at home at the end of January if they beat the Warriors and that’s a huge incentive, and a chance to boost the club’s finances.
Panthers would be able to charge admission for the second round tie and it would be huge for the wider amateur game in Huddersfield.
Hawkyard doesn’t want to tempt fate by making too many plans for a game that might not happen. However, with only two weeks to arrange a second round fixture, some logistics just couldn’t wait – such as car parking arrangements.
“If we do get through it will be foot to the pedal and the committee will start working on it on the coach coming back on Saturday night,” said Hawkyard. “It’s exciting times.”
Kick-off on Saturday is 2pm.