Ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash in Betfred League One where table toppers York head to Derwent Park to face in form Workington, Get ’em Onside spoke to a player from each side. Recently voted the third tier’s player of the month in Rugby League World, experienced hooker Sean Penkywicz is looking forward the match.
“We will approach York like we do every game,” the 36-year-old said. “I think that if you do things differently it only adds unnecessary pressure which will only hinder us,” he reasoned, continuing that “we’ll go out there with confidence.” Indeed, that confidence is fair and justified as, while they are preparing to face the team who are top of the table, the Knights are there partially as a result of Workington’s stunning victory over the then-table topping Bradford two weeks ago. The match-clinching try at Odsal was scored by Penkywicz himself and the former Halifax, Huddersfield, Leigh and Toronto man was understandably delighted. “It was a great result,” he remkarked. “We went there full of confidence as we beat them at home and i thought the boys played really well an came away with a deserved victory.”
One of the form teams in League One currently, Workington have arguably surprised many in what is the first season as a head coach for former Super League and international star Leon Pryce, the man who took Penkywicz to Cumbria at the turn of the year. “A mate of mine asked if I fancied another year as Workington were interested. That was in November – I told him to give me a call after Christmas. He did and I signed as soon as I knew pre-season had finished!” he joked. A hugely experienced player having been involved in the professional ranks for almost two decades, Penkywicz has played under many coaches and, when asked about his current one, the former Welsh international gave high praise. “I think the biggest thing about leon is that hes a winner,” he reasoned. “Everything he does is for us all to be the best we can be and get the win. He’s doing it right also with the team mostly being Cumbrians with a few travellers. He’s new to coaching but I think hess doing a great job.”
Pryce has taken Workington on a run of eight wins in their last nine matches, their only reverse being in the all-Cumbrian clash against Whitehaven. However, the match before that run was a humbling 40-8 defeat away to Sunday’s opponents York, the team both Pryce and Penkywicz have tagged as the best in the competition. The match at Derwent Park – which will be streamed live on the OurLeague app and website – will have huge ramifications for the promotion picture in League One with York keen to hold onto top spot with just four games remaining before the play offs. Workington, however, will be keen to strengthen their grasp on third place.