Hunslet Hawks: We got the players to survive - Barnett

Newly-promoted Hunslet Hawks will survive in the Co-op Championship this year, recruit Richie Barnett believes.

Barnett scored Hawks' final try in last Sunday's 36-26 home defeat by

Leeds Rhinos' reserves, their second successive pre-season loss.

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It hasn't been the best of starts for Hunslet after they romped to the Championship One title last year, but Barnett remains confident they have got what it takes to compete at the higher level.

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"We definitely can survive," Barnett insisted. "But to do that we have got to get things right straight away.

"If we get on a losing run at the start of the season team morale might go down and people might start wondering, so we just need to learn from our mistakes in these friendlies – which is what they are there for – and make sure we get ready for the start of the season.

"We are working hard and we've got to keep doing that in training to make sure we get things right.

"There's a lot of new players here and they are having to get used to different systems. We lost on Sunday and the week before, but there's no worry in the camp.

"We did play quite poorly, but hopefully when we get things right we should be good, because at training there's some good stuff going on."

Barnett saw some positive signs in last weekend's game, when Hawks – who were beaten at Featherstone Rovers on January 2 and play host to Keighley Cougars on Sunday – hit back to dominate the second half after trailing 32-10 at half-time.

"We were lethargic in the first half," he said. "No matter what team Leeds put out, they are good players – they are there for a reason.

"They were a good side and it's good to play against team like that,

because you see where you are.

"It was a wake-up call for us and it showed us what we have got to put right."

Barnett is one of a host of Hawks players with a Super League background and he believes that gives him extra responsibility in the team.

He added: "We have got some experienced players and some inexperienced ones as well.

"Hopefully we can influence the younger ones and the ones who haven't played as much. Once we gel, it will come.

"I would like to think I could influence some of the younger ones and they might learn something from me and the experience I've had at other clubs.

"In training I am always talking and helping them out and I hope I can bring something new to the team."

A former Leeds Metropolitan University student, Barnett began his career at Gateshead Thunder and had spells in the top division with Hull, Warrington Wolves and Salford City Reds, averaging better than a try every other game, before being banned for two years following a

positive drugs test.

He returned to the sport with Sheffield Eagles last season, scoring five tries in 11 appearances.

Explaining his decision to move to south Leeds, Barnett said: "Hunslet got promoted last year, I saw the set-up they've got in place here and it's looking promising – and it's more local for me as well.

"I live in Birkenshaw, between Leeds and Bradford, so it's just around the corner. I'm settling in okay.

"The boys are a good set of lads. At the moment it's about getting used to a new team, but it's going all right."

Kyle Bartley. PIC: Jonathan Gawthorpe

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