Swinton Lions play host to Halifax at Heywood Road on Sunday with John Duffy’s men needing just a draw to secure Championship safety. Halifax will have a home semi-final in the Shield playoffs but who they will face is still to be decided.

Last Time Out

Swinton Lions lost 46-28 to Bradford Bulls at the Provident Stadium last Sunday as Ethan Ryan starred with an hat-trick performance. The Lions were 22-6 down at the break but the first action of note was Stuart Littler being sent to the sin-bin for dissent. Adam O’Brien notched a brace for the Bulls in the first half while Ryan and Jay Pitts also made their way over the whitewash. Macauley Hallett was the lone try-scorer for Swinton. In the latter stages of the half, Kurt Haggerty and Andy Thornley were called to one side by the referee for fighting. Haggerty received a red card while Swinton’s Thornley was shown yellow. After the restart, Ben Kavanagh extended Bradford’s lead before Bulls centre Kris Welham was also sin-binned for dissent. Ben White and Chris Atkin scored consecutive tries for Swinton as they cut the deficit to ten points but the Bradford ship was settled with tries from Dane Chisholm and Ryan. In the final quarter, Hallett notched his second try of the afternoon prior to teammate Mike Butt touching down with ten minutes remaining. The Bulls finished the match in fitting fashion as Ryan completed his hat-trick. 

Halifax got the better of Oldham 32-16 at The Shay but they were made to work for the victory. The half-time score read 8-6 to the hosts following tries from Ben Heaton and Nick Rawsthorne. Kieran Gill got Oldham on the board after seven minutes. In the second period, Gill and Kenny Hughes both crossed the chalk for the Roughyeds as they went into a ten point lead. Halifax were under the pump but they reacted well as they got back on level terms with tries from Heaton and Miles Greenwood. Gareth Moore kicked a penalty goal to put the West Yorkshire side in front and the win was sealed when Scott Murrell and Adam Tangata registered four pointers in the final quarter.

Key Battle

Swinton’s half-backs of Ben White and Chris Atkin both got over the whitewash in their last match and they will be hoping to flourish on home turf this weekend. They will be in with a tough test of outplaying Ben Johnston and Gareth Moore, two players who can really dominate a team on their day. It will be an intriguing battle in the halves on Sunday as these players go head to head with hope of helping their side to victory.

Prediction

Swinton won’t be wanting their fate to go down to the final day of the season. They have a chance to take the pressure away with a win over Halifax this weekend but it’s easier said than done. Halifax will be eager to go into the playoffs with a good run of form behind them and a win against the Lions will do just fine for Richard Marshall’s men – Halifax by 10