Swinton, one of the game's oldest established clubs, go into the weekend still wondering what is going to sustain them through the rest of the season. A packed meeting at a local pub this week debated the formation of a supporters' trust to finance the club, but their chief executive, Tony Barrow, said that 1,000 of them coming through the turnstiles at Gigg Lane for every home match would balance the books.
"We are battling along. We are keeping our heads above water,'' said Barrow. "But there is no sign of the financial backers we were told would come to the fore when our chairman, Malcolm White, resigned.''
Swinton face the toughest task in the division tomorrow hosting a Huddersfield side unbeaten in the Northern Ford Premiership, but still stinging from the surprise Challenge Cup defeat at Doncaster last week.
"It wasn't one of our better performances,'' said the Huddersfield coach, Tony Smith. "They caught us out and were the better side on the day.'' Smith could have back his key forward, Steve McNamara.
Elsewhere, the best contest should be at fourth-placed Hull KR, where Workington, second in the table, are the visitors. Apart from league points, both sides have Cup ties next weekend to prepare for – Rovers at Leeds and Town at home to Halifax.
Hull KR's coach, Gary Wilkinson, has to test his full-back, Bob Everitt and his scrum-half, Craig Murdock, before finalising his team.
Leigh, down in fifth place, but with matches in hand, are at home to improving Dewsbury and could be without the injured Vila Matautia, as well as the suspended Paul Norman. By way of compensation, they have signed Simon Knox from Oldham. The former Widnes prop has played only a handful of games for the Roughyeds, but their chairman, Chris Hamilton, said: "There is no point in keeping a player who is not happy.''
Gateshead will field a side of local youngsters, including the 17-year-old Neil Thorman, at Oldham as they try to overcome their recent upheavals.
The biggest and most emotional occasion of the weekend will be in Australia, where South Sydney play their first game since winning their legal battle for reinstatement in the National Rugby League. The level of enthusiasm for their return is reflected in a 40,000 sell-out for the Charity Shield match against St George-Illawara – a record for any pre-season friendly.Reuse content