Rugby league is set to return to Premier Sports this Monday as the Betfred Championship takes centre stage on Monday nights.
This new TV deal starts with a magnificent matchup between one of the favourites for promotion Featherstone and a dark horse in the shape of York City Knight.
The Rovers have dominated the news this week with Joey Leilua landing in the country followed by the announcement that Ryley Jacks, Ben Mathiou and Adam Cuthbertson will be joining the Rovers in 2022 but having signed Pauli Pauli ahead of this season with top notch coach James Ford at the helm, the City Knights should not be overlooked.
Ford’s battle with opposite number Brian McDermott will certainly be intriguing with Ford considered one of the best up and coming coaches whilst McDermott is somewhat a veteran as Super League’s most successful coach. Their battle has already commenced with the pair naming their 21-man squads for Monday’s encounter.
Looking at York’s first, it looks like Ford is set to hand Pauli his competitive debut having named in him in a strong squad. He could line up in the backrow alongside former Super League Champion Chris Clarkson who is one of a number of notable names in the Knights’ squad with former Wakefield skipper Danny Kirmond included as well as Jamie Ellis who has starred for a number of Super League clubs in the past and impressed in York’s thumping win over Midlands Hurricanes with a near flawless night with the boot in their 46-6 friendly triumph.
York’s 21-man squad: 1 Matty Marsh, 2 Joe Brown, 3 James Glover, 5 Will Oakes, 7 Jamie Ellis, 8 Masi Matongo, 9 Will Jubb, 10 Jack Teanby, 11 Chris Clarkson, 12 Pauli Pauli, 13 Jordan Thompson, 15 Ronan Dixon, 16 Marcus Stock, 17 Danny Kirmond, 20 Kriss Brining, 21 Toby Warren, 22 Myles Harrison, 23 Aj Towse, 24 Ronan Michael, 25 Jack Logan, 26 Brad Ward.
As for the Rovers, we could see Joey Leilua for the first time in the Championship with the centre included despite only arriving in the country on Tuesday. We could see him line up alongside former Leeds winger and fellow debutant Luke Briscoe. Jesse Sene-Lefao is another set to make his competitive Rovers’ debut as is Matty Wildie. Former Man of Steel nominee and two-time Super League Champion Adam Cuthbertson is also included despite his arrival only being revealed on Wednesday. If he plays, his debut will come against his former club.
Featherstone’s 21-man squad: 1 Brandon Pickersgill, 2 Luke Briscoe, 3 Joey Leilua, 4 Craig Hall, 5 Gareth Gale, 6 Tom Holmes, 9 Connor Jones, 10 James Lockwood, 12 Jesse Sene-Lefao, 13 Jack Bussey, 14 Matty Wildie, 15 John Davies, 16 Junior Moors, 17 Ben Hellewell, 18 Josh Hardcastle, 19 Callum Field, 20 Morgan Smith, 21 Luke Cooper, 22 Kyle Trout, 25 Bayley Gill, 26 Adam Cutbertson.