By Sean Hayes | 21/1/17
In last year’s Law Cup at The Crown Oil Arena Lewis Palfrey and Danny Yates lined up on opposite sides of the field as rivals, however on Sunday they will be lining up side-by-side.
The Hornets’ new partnership was on show against Salford Red Devils last Sunday as they showed glimpses of what they are capable.
New signing Palfrey is excited by the prospect of playing alongside Yates in 2017, and felt that their combinations started coming together after a shaky start.
“He’s very clever player Danny,” he commented.
“I think at the weekend we were a little bit scratchy, but as the game grew our combinations started getting better and better. We’re hoping to kick on and improve that this weekend.”
Palfrey was a big influence on the result last season, as he steered his side to a 29-12 and even added the late drop-goal which rubbed salt into Rochdale’s wounds.
He is hoping to have a similar impact on his first return to his former club since an off-season move to their fierce rivals.
“Obviously you go out in every game to play as best as you can. It’s nice winning the Law Cup, there’s a lot of history in it and it’s a local derby.
“To go back to my old club at their home ground and to lift the trophy as man of the match would be pretty special.”
The man of the match from Oldham’s 2016 side Josh Crowley is also now in Rochdale colours, along with Jack Holmes who featured for the Roughyeds on that day.
Garry Middlehurst made the move with Palfrey in pre-season after a short spell at Bower Fold, and with a number of Oldham born players in the Hornets side there will be plenty of emotion in the game.
In their first outing of the new year Rochdale were beaten by Super League side Salford, however in their first hit-out as a new squad they impressed in patches against their top flight opponents.
The hosts are a game ahead in pre-season as they were beaten 32-14 away to Swinton Lions before they were held to a 22-all draw at Craven Park against League 1 outfit Barrow Raiders.
Both sides will only be fielding 17 players rather than a full squad as is the case in most friendlies, and after vowing to name his strongest side in last week’s post-match press conference Alan Kilshaw has lived up to that promise.
“It’s as close to a league or cup game as you can get,” insisted the Hornets head coach.
“We want to go there and give a good account of ourselves. Oldham have got a very good home record and should be commended for their performance in the Championship last year.
“Off the field there is a lot of respect for the club, they have got a low budget like us, they stretch that budget and get the best out of their players. They are well coached and off the field there is respect, but once we get there on the weekend we won’t be respecting them on the field we will be firing in.”
Rob Massam missed last week due to an ankle injury and is in contention after being named in the 20 man squad on Friday evening, while Ryan Maneely is set to feature after being granted an extra week off after being on Scotland duty during the Four Nations.
The full squad is: Miles Greenwood, Jake Eccleston, Jack Holmes, Lewis Galbraith, Rob Massam, Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates, Samir Tahraoui, Ben Moores, Gavin Bennion, Jordan Case, Josh Crowley, Gary Middlehurst, Ryan Maneely, Jo Taira, Matt Hadden, Lee Mitchell (DR), Chris Riley, Paddy Jones, Jay Lobwein