Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Saturday 31st July
Total RL.Com Welsh Rugby League Conference Semi-Final (2.30pm)
Aberavon Fighting Irish v Torfaen Tigers (Aberavon Greenstars RFC) - winners to play Bridgend Blue Bulls
Total RL.Com Welsh Rugby League Shield Semi Final (2.30pm) Cardiff Demons v Swansea Valley Miners (Taffs Well RFC) - winner to play Newport Titans
Welsh Shield Semi-Final preview - Cardiff Demons v Swansea Valley Miners Cardiff Demons are out for revenge when they host Swansea Valley Miners in the semi-final of the Total RL.com Welsh Rugby League Shield at Taff's Well RFC this Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm). The Demons lost to the Miners by only two points in their last encounter at Ystalyfera three weeks ago and are determined that this match will not be a repeat performance. Chairman Ian Golden comments "Last time we played Swansea at home, we beat them by 50 points. We only lost by two points when we played them at their place because they had the better attitude on the day. We are the better footballing side as is proved by looking at this season's table and I see no reason why we shouldn't be facing Newport in the final on August 7th. We have a strong fit squad and everyone is treating this like the game it is - an important semi-final match." Cardiff make only three changes to the side that beat Valley Cougars 48-30 last week. New Zealander, Andrew Bradshaw has regained full fitness and has been named at full-back, Mark Dando replaces the injured Glen Phillips, while Kyle Blake starts at hooker as there is a doubt over James Madden's fitness. Madden has initially been named on the bench but will take a fitness test before the match on Saturday. Swansea have also named their strongest possible squad and former Cardiff Demons favourite, Pete Gooding, now the Swansea player coach, is also full of confidence. Earlier this week in a press statement he quoted, "We are glad to be playing Cardiff as we have the beating of them if we have a full side. This just shows the strength of the Welsh Conference in that Cardiff have got virtually the same squad as they had last year when they won the South West Conference but finished mid-table in the Welsh league. As Swansea Bulls we won one match last season but that was through default. This is, in all purposes, a new club and the only time we have been at our best was against Cardiff, when we beat them. We are just playing for next year and looking to get a better squad and a better side. We are looking to put a development plan together soon for next season.'' Admission to the match at Taff's Well is only ?2 for adults, ?1 for senior citizens and free for children. Most importantly the club would like to point out that both Premier and Regular Season Tickets ARE valid for the match. Cardiff Demons: 1.Andrew Bradshaw, 2.Karl Jones, 3.Neil Thomas, Rhodri Thomas, 5.Idris Evans, 6.Gareth Jones, 7.Peter Moore, 8.Anthony Loxton, 9.Kyle Blake, 10.Dave Roberson, 11.Mark Divine, 12.Evan Powell, Mark Dando. SUBS: Huw Williams, 16.Tom Young, 17.Andy Jones, James Madden.
Swansea Valley Miners: Peter Gooding, Anthony Evans, Dean Carter, Darren David, Gareth James, Andy Ford, Paul Whapham, Adam Sinnott, Ivor Chowings, Jon Paul Stevens, Nathan Jenkins, Grant Robson, Andy Lustig, Christian Roets, Jason Humphries, Pat Mclernon, Rhys Cole Due to injuries and player unavailabilties, Valley Cougars have withdrawn from the Welsh Shield competition giving Newport Titans a bye to the Final at Aberavon on August 7th.
Other fixtures for this week in the Conference are... REGIONAL TROPHY SEMI-FINALS
Chester Wolves V Liverpool Buccaneers (7pm) (winners to play Widnes Saints)
Saturday 31st July South
West London Sharks V Greenwich Admirals Somerset Vikings V Gloucestershire Warriors
Coventry Bears V Leicester Phoenix Rotherham Giants V Nottingham Outlaws
North London Skolars V South Norfolk Saints (winners to play Ipswich Rhinos)
North-East Jarrow Vikings V Peterlee Pumas (winners to play Newcastle Knights)
Penrith Pumas V West Cumbrian Crusaders (winners to play Barrow)
Wetherby Bulldogs V Hull Phoenix (winners to play Leeds Akademiks)
REGIONAL SHIELD SEMI-FINALS
Saturday 31st July North West Lancaster V Blackpool (winners to play Crewe Wolves)
Mansfield Storm V Worksop Sharks
South Oxford Cavaliers v Telford Raiders (winners to play South London Storm)