Rugby League: Crowther ready for clash of cousins

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The Independent Online
THE close links between Sheffield and Castleford will be underlined today when cousins Matt Crowther and Jason Flowers hurtle into each other.

Crowther, one of Sheffield's contingent of Castleford-born players, is a recent convert to the left wing. If he gets around the outside of the Cas defence, it will be their full-back Flowers who will have the responsibility for stopping him.

"If he gets through, he'll go right over the top of him," says the Eagles' coach, John Kear. "Matt has the ability to become a top-class winger this season."

Flowers, the scorer of his side's winning try against Bradford in the last round, will have other ideas about that, but Cas are treating the unfashionable Eagles as potentially more dangerous opponents than the vanquished Leeds and Bradford.

Judiciously strengthened and full of purpose and optimism, Sheffield do indeed represent a tricky hurdle. Although their reputation is as a tenacious, workmanlike side, the addition of Dave Watson at stand-off and the presence of Crowther on one wing and Nick Pinkney on the other hint at a more expansive approach.

The London Broncos got the draw they wanted, in the shape of First Division Hull Kingston Rovers, but they will be hoping for more cohesion in their play and better support at The Stoop than they got against Halifax in the last round. That was an unconvincing victory, showing that London have still to gel on the pitch.

With that - and the threat of Rovers' explosive Stanley Gene - in mind the Broncos will play Peter Gill at stand-off, with Terry Matterson at loose forward and Robbie Beazley returning at hooker.

They should be good enough - and a poster campaign should bring in a better crowd than the disappointing 3,000 who watched the Halifax game - but need to be wary of the goal- kicking of Mike Fletcher.