Influential skipper Ed Barber is back from suspension to lead Huddersfield YMCA against Northern at Laund Hill tomorrow.
The experienced fly half had to sit out the opening North I East defeat at Old Crossleyans but returns (3.00) as coach Jody Shaw calls on the team to “bring their A game” for the home followers.
Steve Dyke, who was concussed against Crocs and had to spend a night in hospital, starts his mandatory two-week lay-off, so Sam Slater steps up to take his place.
And Gavin Stead is awaiting a disciplinary hearing following his sending-off in the opening game, so Sam Hodge moves from the back row to the wing in a reshuffle.
Niall Murphy has been back in training after re-signing for the club from Huddersfield and he will be on the bench.
“It’s fantastic to have Ed back because he is captain this year and he’s a very influential player for us,” explained Shaw.
“We’ve moved one or two other things around, too, which we are comfortable with, and we just want everyone to bring their ‘A game’ against Northern.
“Everyone was disappointed as a group with how we played last week at Crocs because we set high standards and didn’t live up to them, but I have to say the lads have trained really well this week and hopefully that will be reflected on the field tomorrow.”
Shaw says the mood in the camp is terrific despite the opening setback.
“We weren’t helped by the fact that Gavin Stead was sent off and we also had a sin-binning, so we were playing with 13 at one point, but we have to realise the speed and the strength in the game has increased because we have gone up a level,” he said.
“It’s important we acclimatise as quickly as possible and all we’ve said in training is to make sure we perform to our best. We haven’t talked about Northern and we don’t need to, because if we turn up and play like we can then we won’t be far off.”
YMCA: Johnson; Hodge, Ryder, Fanua, Bentley; Barber, Wilson; Slater, Hill, Rafter, Ball, Housley, Dyke (Stu), Whitehead, Lumb. Res: Sharrock, Sellers, Murphy.