This weekend sees Crusaders back in League One action taking on Doncaster RLFC as we look to get our first win of the league season.
A tough start has seen Crusaders go down in round one against a strong Dewsbury Rams outfit and lose in what was a game of two halves away at Hunslet in the second league game of the year.
During that time Crusaders have seen more success in the Challenge Cup with a big 70-0 win against Royal Navy Rugby League in round one and a hard fought 18-10 victory against Thatto Heath in round 2. The reward for these victories is a round 4 trip to Keighley Cougars and a potential round 5 trip to either Batley Bulldogs or amateur outfit Hunslet ARLFC.
Doncaster have had a strong start to the season with a tight win against Hunslet in round 1, following this up with a gritty performance away from home as they beat Rochdale Hornets 20-10 in their second league game of the season. Last weekend saw them victorious against fellow League One side Workington Town in the Challenge Cup as they recorded a win in the dying seconds of the contest.
Crusaders will have a number of men missing this weekend after suffering a host of injury and suspension setbacks. Brad Billsborough has been ruled out for a potential 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury picked up in the opening minutes at Thatto Heath and Dave Gibbons will miss the next 5 games due to seeing red against Hunslet. Dec Hulme misses out after a knock to the head early on in last weeks game against Thatto Heath. Rob Massam remains a doubt due to an abdominal injury with captain Callum Hazzard and Jack Holmes also in doubt following head knocks at Hunslet. Brad Brennan is also unavailable for selection this week. One positive is that Jordan Andrade remains available for selection after escaping a ban following his sin binning at Hunslet.
This week we also see a number of additions to the squad. In on dual reg from St Helens come Lewis Baxter (second row/loose forward), Danny Moss (half back/full back), Ben Lane (stand off) and familiar face Mckenzie Buckley who featured in the pre season game against Warrington and the round 1 loss against Dewsbury. Ex St Helens youngster Jake Bloxham will also be available having signed after a successful trial.
Head Coach Carl forster is aware that Crusaders will be seen as the underdogs this weekend and said: “I’ve just got to stress to the lads that we’ve got nothing to lose and it's kind of a free hit for us. The 17 that will go there Sunday will go there fully prepared for the fight knowing that the pressure is off. We just need to go there and enjoy the game and hopefully come away with a shock result.”