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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Skipper Scott set for timely return

SKIPPER Scott McAvoy could be set for a timely return for Whitehaven’s Championship One opener at Doncaster on Sunday (3pm).

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set to make his comeback: Scott McAvoy

The big centre missed derby clashes with Workington Town and Barrow after injuring his knee against Gateshead Thunder last month.

But he trained on Monday and coach Don Gailer said: “It was good to see him out there. He didn’t do full-on training but got through a fair bit of running.

“He’s probably about 80 per cent right, so that’s all positive. He has repaired well and has a good attitude to rehab.”

McAvoy took a seat in the stand for Sunday’s game against the Raiders, alongside a host of team-mates who were not featuring in the game and had undergone a rigorous pre-match training session.

Gailer hailed the team spirit in his big squad after introducing a ‘buddy system,’ he previously used in Australia.

He explained: “Five groups operate within the squad, which are not put together geographically.

“They have to spend a minimum of an hour a week outside the football environment to get to know each other.

“Whether it is with their families is up to them. It pays off and players develop great friendships, cementing bonds in the team. Rugby league is like that.

“I initially named a bloke in each group to organise it and told them to rotate the leadership. They are all buying in to it.

“There was a lot of talking to those making their debuts on Sunday and they were sensational with each other.

“The way the guys spoke to supporters after the event was also good. Supporters get access and can find out what they did in the game. The players are so forward in communicating with them. They are a really delightful group to work with.”

Max Wiper, who featured against hometown club Barrow on Sunday, believes that after a few early setbacks, the squad is showing strong signs of improvement as the league season approaches.

“We targeted to finish first, and while I know we were beaten by Workington and Barrow, they will be up there as well,” said Wiper, who reckons so-called fringe players staked a claim for a place after the battling defeat against the Raiders.

“It’s a long season and I’m sure at the end of it we’ll be up there at the top.”

His position may be under threat from the arrival soon of current Papua New Guinea Test centre Jessie Joe Parker, but Wiper is prepared to battle for his shirt.

“I have to get better every week and give Don a reason to keep me in the side,” he said.

Gailer defended second-row Lee Doran after he picked up a one-match ban for punching in the West Cumbrian derby.

He took an early guilty plea, ahead of Tuesday night’s disciplinary hearing, ensuring he missed only the Doncaster game.

But his coach insisted Doran intervened because winger Craig Calvert was under heavy fire from Workington Town players in a bust-up.

“Lee threw a punch, there’s no doubt about it,” said Gailer. “But this is still a gladiatorial game, and if your mate is getting four blokes raining punches on him, what’s he supposed to do?

“Do you let him get a flogging or do you help your mate? There’s still a lot about mate-ship in this game.”

Doran made an impressive 49 tackles at Derwent Park and Gailer warned he would be a hard act to follow at Doncaster.

Pride of Five £100 winners are: DG Irving, Victoria Road, Whitehaven, with ticket number 2,569; J Burns, Ullswater Avenue, Richmond, 2373; A Black, George Street, Whitehaven, 3884; J Hodgson, Foundry Road, Parton, 795; N Warmsely, Meadow Road, Mirehouse, 2804.

Leeds Line winners are: Trevor Broady, K386; Paula Lake, N3540; Mick Ryan, F1006; B Callaghan, H1457; Bedford, I0413.

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