11:29am Thursday 20th March 2014
BOSS Scott Rhodes is hoping York Acorn ARLC's form and luck change sharply and quickly - starting this weekend.
Acorn, with two defeats from two in National Conference League division one, host a Mayfield side who have lost just once in 18 games stretching back to last season.
The rub of the green has also gone against the Blue and Golds so far, with Rhodes bemoaning a ludicrous penalty count in their defeat to Shaw Cross last time out a fortnight ago. But he knows his men must start picking up points soon to stand a chance of bouncing straight back to the top tier.
"We're not playing well," admitted Rhodes, citing much-changed line-ups as a reason for their stuttering form.
"We found it difficult to get momentum against Shaw Cross and our discipline was poor. But this week is a new week. Mayfield are doing well and we're expecting a tough game. I pinpointed Normanton and Mayfield as promotion contenders and we need to pick points off them. That's why this is a massive game.
"We played Mayfield a couple of years ago the last time we were in division one and they are a big, physical outfit. They had a couple of good Fijians and I believe they've got a couple more. We'll have to lift our performance."
Joel Johnson comes into the squad, as do Davey Burns, Antony Chilton and Andy Gargan after their run-outs for the 'A' team last week.
Arran Thompson has gone to Australia, though, while Leigh Rientoul has joined Tom Hill on the long-term treatment table after suffering a double elbow fracture against Shaw Cross.
Rhodes added: "We lacked intensity that day. We were poor in a poor game. The penalty count didn't help - I stopped counting at 30, plus two sin-binnings. We got pinged for anything and everything that day - I'd never seen anything like it - so in that sense things are going against us too.
"I won't whinge about that, though. We should be playing better and winning these games."
Heworth boss Tim Rumford is optimistic his side are making process progress in division three.
The Villagers have one win, one loss and now one draw at the start of their season, following the 26-26 stalemate at Coventry, courtesy of Mark Hayes' hat-trick try late on.
On Saturday they go to inconsistent Hindley, who hammered Eastmoor one week but were hammered by Underbank the next.
Rumford said: "We were pleased last week to come away from Coventry with a draw but on reflection it could easily have been a win as we had a couple of tries disallowed and there were a couple of things we didn't control so well.
"We're more confident now, though, in what we're doing in our own processes. We worked a bit better at Coventry by sticking to those processes, and seeing that it gets results could kick us on."
In-form centre George Wilkinson is unavailable this weekend, while 17-year-olds Connor Paige and Josh Turley, who both "held their own" last week, might drop back out.
Daryl Fogg is back, as are threequarters Ben Stoker and Chris Taylor.
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