McComb's season off to a flier with four tries in three outings

​RICHIE Hawkyard (calf), Luke Nelmes (gashed head), Dave Hewitt (thigh) and Danny Grimshaw (hamstring) will be monitored this week ahead of Oldham’s clash with Newcastle Thunder at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm kick-off).

It will be the fourth and final pre-season warm-up game for the Roughyeds, who have a rest on Sunday, February 10 before starting the Betfred League 1 campaign with the visit of fancied Workington Town to the Vestacare on February 17.

Grimshaw was included in the initial 19-man squad for the Swinton game, but was later withdrawn and replaced by in-form Zack McComb, who scored his fourth try in three games at Swinton to get his 2019 campaign off to a flying start.

Full-back Hawkyard scored an early try when he touched down Anthony Bowman’s clever kick, but he later required treatment and he didn’t resume for the second half.
Hewitt played for about an hour with a thigh heavily strapped before he was also taken off.

Assistant coach Peter Carey, conducting the post-game media interview in the absence of Scott Naylor because of a family commitment, said the injury substitutions were precautionary and also designed to give as many players as possible a run.

He added:

“It was a tough game but, the Law Cup apart, it was what these pre-season games are all about, and that’s to give as many lads as you can game time and to take the opportunity to try out one or two things.

“It was scrappy in parts, but there were also a lot of good things on view from both sides.

“From our point of view it was a chance to try out a few different things and to take a look at different ways we want to play this year,

“I rotated a few players to have a look at options, notably playing Anthony Bowman in the second-row for a spell.

” ‘Chewy’ (Hewitt) had a thigh strapped up and he was taken off after about an hour because he’s had a lot of time on the field in our three games so far.

“Jamie Greenwood got a lot more game time this week and Aaron Jones-Bishop was replaced at half-time so that Harry Maders could get on the field.

“Luke Nelmes had several stitches in his head after an accidental clash with a Swinton player who lost a tooth.

“Phil Joy also got more game time and, despite the result, we got a lot out of the game and took a lot of positives from it.

“We are now looking forward to Newcastle at home when we hope to get a bigger crowd than we had against Rochdale.

“The boys love to have the Vestacare crowd behind them and they’e the first to say it can make a big difference.”



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