Ambitious Rochdale Hornets get their new Betfred League 1 season underway at home to Keighley Cougars in the headline fixture of the weekend, which sees all five fixtures take place at 3pm on Sunday.
The Hornets have seen significant off-field change during the close season, including the appointment of a new Chairman in Andy Mazey, as they look to bounce back from finishing rock bottom of the Betfred Championship in 2019.
While the pre-season chat around the club hasn’t centred around promotion, they will be hoping to put the building blocks in place as they aim to establish themselves back in the championship.
“The coach isn’t under any pressure to produce immediate results,” Mazey said in Betfred’s in-depth feature on the club.
“It’s about slowly growing the fanbase and engaging the town again and withing three to five years we can establish this club as a strong Championship club, not just trying to stay up every year.
“We feel we’ve put a competitive squad together,” he added.
“The goal from our perspective is to get some smiles back on faces, fans enjoying their expereinces with us again and watching a winning team.”
They have added significant experience to their halves with the addition of Leigh Centurions legend Martyn Ridyard, while former Super League hooker Sean . Penkywicz has been installed as captain. They will line up alongside a host of local talent from the likes of leading community club Rochdale Mayfield.
Standing in their way this weekend are Keighley Cougars – the West Yorkshire outfit will be keen to hit back after suffering a 24-6 defeat at the hands of Workington Town in Round 1.
The Cougars have retained the majority of the squad which bravely battled back from as -12 points deduction in 2019, and have made a headline addition in the form of ex-Castleford centre Jake Webster and could well cause problems on Sunday with their explosive back line which includes the highly-rated Taylor Prell and the freescoring Mo Agoro.
You can watch Rochdale vs Keighley LIVE and for FREE on Our League and Twitch this Sunday, 3pm kick off.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Barrow Raiders will go in search of back-to-back wins when they host Coventry Bears, while winless pair West Wales Raiders and Doncaster go head-to-head at the Keepmoat Stadium.
And the early top two will clash in West Yorkshire with Hunslet – 50-10 winners at West Wales – hosting North Wales Crusaders, who recorded an impressive 40-16 win at London Skolars.
On the back of an eye-catching 24-6 home win over Keighley, Workington Town will be seeking another win when they travel to face promotion-chasing Newcastle Thunder.
This weekend’s Betfred League 1 Fixtures in full:
Barrow Raiders vs Coventry Bears
Doncaster RLFC vs West Wales Raiders
Hunslet vs North Wales Crusaders
Newcastle Thunder vs Workington Town
Rochdale Hornets vs Keighley Cougars