SIDDAL coach Lee Greenwood has urged his players to take the most direct route to the National Conference Grand Final when they host Thatto Heath in play off action tomorrow.
Greenwood’s table-toppers - who have contested the last two deciders, beating East Hull in 2009 before being walloped by Leigh East last season - can book their place in the amateur game’s showpiece with victory over the St Helens outfit.
If they succeed, it will be the first time in three attempts that Siddal have not needed a second chance, something Greenwood believes is more important than ever this season after the club’s hectic final run in.
“We need to do what we haven’t done the last two seasons and win this game,” he said.
“As far as we are concerned, we are not thinking about playing next weekend, it is all about this game and we will put everything into it.
“It’s been a long year and we don’t want to put extra games on the fixture list.
“The perfect scenario for us is to beat Thatto Heath tomorrow and then beat Leigh East in the final.
“We are still hurting after what happened last season and we want a chance to put it right.”
Greenwood has named a near-full strength 17 for tomorrow’s game, with captain Nick Smith returning to the back row after a knee injury and versatile playmaker Chris Brooke making his comeback on the bench.
Mark Boothroyd continues in the centre, with the former Halifax professional Andy Bowman playing his last game for the club before moving to Australia as a substitute.
“Andy was desperate to play, but Mark is probably going to be playing centre for the rest of the season anyway so it made more sense to leave him there,” said Greenwood.
“Brooke has missed the last two with injury but he covers a few positions from the bench and can give us a bit of spark if we are struggling.
“It’s a good side and one that should be able to do the job.”
Siddal: Caley; Blackburn, Marsh, Boothroyd, Huck; Garrod, Illingworth; English, Sanderson, L. Simeunovich, J. Simeunovich, Smith, Hoyle. Subs: McCormack, Brooke, Bowman, Garnett
Leeds stand-off Danny McGuire could be available for England’s mid-season international after the leg injury he sustained in the Rhinos’ Challenge Cup win over Crusaders proved to be less serious than feared.
McGuire limped off in his third game back from a knee reconstruction in the first half of last Saturday’s 30-20 win with what was initially thought to be a torn quad muscle.
However, the injury has now been diagnosed as a strain and will mean he could be out of action for as little as two weeks.
McGuire was in the national elite training squad at Loughborough University earlier this week preparing for the June 10 clash with the Exiles.
Hull KR full-back Ben Cockayne will face no action from West Yorkshire Police for comments he made on a social networking site, but he has been fined and given a final warning by his club.
The 27-year-old Cockayne was the subject of a police investigation relating to alleged racist comments made on Facebook about a taxi driver but the Crown Prosecution Service have concluded that no action is required.