GARY THORNTON is to face his “happy half-back headache” for the trip to arch-rivals Hunslet on Sunday as Jonny Presley is fit again – while Pat Smith and Benn Hardcastle have both been named in the Kingstone Press Championship One Team of the Week.
Presley is by far the most experienced of the three and is in line for a return, but Smith was The Press man of the match in the Knights’ opening day win over Gloucestershire and Hardcastle came up with two decisive moments to make sure of victory.
Said Thornton: “If Jonny is fit, and it’s looking that way, he will come into the equation. It could be a tough decision but it’s a happy headache to have. I didn’t have to choose last week with Prez being ruled out but I will have to choose this week.”
As for the Team of the Week inclusions, Thornton said: “Pat’s been terrific since he came to the club and was outstanding again on Sunday and his inclusion was fully justified. There is still massive improvement in that partnership as well.
“Benn got targeted a lot defensively – Gloucester sent an awful lot of traffic down his side and their big Tongan (James Tutu’ila) kept picking him out. That took a bit of edge off his attacking play but the deciding moment in the match was his show-and-go to create the try for Jason Golden. He’s got that match-winning quality.”
Hardcastle also scored an interception try and kicked three goals in Sunday’s 26-16 win.
Added Thornton: “You’ve also got to consider the goal-kicking attributes that Benn has. We haven’t got too many goalkickers at the moment.
“Pat has got such flexibility we could put him in at hooker, but then Jack Lee and Kriss Brining are very good there, so that’s another good selection headache to have.”
The Knights’ under-20s reserves match against Featherstone, which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been called off.
Injuries in the first team have left club chiefs wary of asking some players to double up by playing that night and in the Championship One clash at arch-rivals Hunslet on Sunday. The game was a friendly but the clubs will look to rearrange it.
• The RFL has ruled the scoreline from Oldham’s 18-4 Championship One win at South Wales Scorpions on Sunday shall stand as a result. The game was abandoned after 72 minutes after the match-day doctor had concerns about players showing signs of hypothermia.