Rugby league: We must be rock solid, says Siddal coach Greenwood

LAST season's Grand Final combatants Siddal and Leigh East clash in Lancashire tomorrow (2.0) in one of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures of the Conference League season.

The red rose side were convincing winners of the big game at Widnes in May as Siddal relinquished their title, but the Chevinedge men have since ended a depressing run of results against their rivals with a 9-8 home win in early September.

A late Lee Gudor drop goal was decisive on the scoreboard but it was the home defence which won the day as far as coach Lee Greenwood was concerned and his is looking for a repeat in tomorrow's top four Premier Division contest.

"We defended really well last time - the one try they got was from a lucky deflection of a kick," said Greenwood.

The teams returned to action with contrasting wins last week, Easts blitzing visitors Wigan St Judes 56-6 while Siddal made hard work of beating Saddleworth Rangers 20-14 at Chevinedge.

Greenwood was disappointed with the quality of his side's performance while conceding that Rangers had probably improved from earlier in the season.

"The effort was okay but we looked rusty," said Greenwood.

"This is going to be much tougher and the defence has got to improve massively."

Greenwood is not reading too much into Easts' walloping of a lowly St Judes side, who do not travel well.

He has seen the tries from that game and they only confirmed what he already knew - that three players are largely responsible for the side's attacking potency.

They are fullback Ryan Fieldhouse, half-back Danny Kilshaw and free-scoring loose forward Gary Middlehurst.

Greenwood said: "They are the three stand-out players in a good side and we need to do a job on those three while being aware of the rest."

Greenwood expects to see plenty of Fieldhouse this week. The player is having trials for Halifax and the Siddal coach would not be surprised to see him turn out tomorrow and against his professional club, Batley, in Sunday's Mount Pleasant friendly.

John Birt, who came off the bench last weekend, is likely to be absent tomorrow because of a new baby in the household.

However, Mark Boothroyd is likely to come in at centre, prompting a minor reshuffle in the backs.

Greenwood believes tomorrow's fixture is the toughest left for Siddal in their bid for a lofty finishing position before the play-offs.

"If we can win on Saturday we can kick on. If we lose, the battle for a place in the top four will be more difficult."