Warrington are wary of success

Click to follow
The Warrington coach, Brian Johnson, believes the odds will be stacked against his side when they go into a match that could have a significant effect on the Championship four days after playing in midweek, writes Dave Hadfield.

Warrington will face a relatively fresh and rested Leeds while still recovering from their game with Castleford on Wednesday. Johnson, an advocate of once-a-week rugby, says it is now even harder for a team to overcome that handicap. "It is a very, very big disadvantage," he said. "The way the game is now, there is no way you can slow it down if you're feeling a bit tired."

Warrington feel the system penalises them for their success in reaching the Regal Trophy final. A club like Wigan which reaches finals every year inevitably builds up a backlog of league fixtures but, if Johnson's theory is correct, even they will find it more difficult to battle on now that referees clamp down more consistently on slowing tactics.

"We will just have to dig deep," Johnson said. He will be without Jason Lee, who injured his back against Castleford, but could have Rob Myler fit after flu.

Leeds went to the top of the table last week, but drew criticism for the way their effort trailed off in the last 10 minutes, allowing Bradford to get back to 46-30. "What people forget is that that was our third match in a week," the Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, said. "At the same time, we've had a talk about what happened. The players know when things are not right."

Craig Innes' recovery from a hamstring pull means that Leeds, whose luck with injuries is in marked contrast to last season's, again keep the same team.

Leo Casey will miss Featherstone Rovers' match against Doncaster, one in which they must break their losing sequence if they are to start moving away from the foot of the table. The prop has been suspended for four matches following his sending-off at StHelens last week.

The referees' coaching director, Greg McCallum, has told officials to penalise players who lift opponents into positions where a "spear" tackle could result. Players lifting the man in possession by putting a hand between his legs now run the risk of being sent off as well as that of an angry reaction from the victim.

Swinton have signed the St Helens forward, Ian Connor, for the second time. The Second Division club have snapped up the 24-year-old prop on loan. Connor joined Swinton in 1988 from West Park Rugby Union club. He joined St Helens for £27,500 in 1989.