Playing for Hunslet is a big opportunity for some of Leeds Rhinos’ fringe players, Hawks coach Barry Eaton reckons.
Utility-player Luke Briscoe – who signed a one-year deal with Hunslet last week – and dual-registered Rhinos prop Robbie Mulhern are both in Hawks’ squad for tonight’s Kingstone Press Championship opener against Featherstone Rovers at Belle Vue, Wakefield (7.30pm).
Winger James Duckworth signed a one-season contract at the same time as Briscoe and hooker Robbie Ward has also been dual-registered with Hunslet.
Duckworth and Briscoe can’t be recalled by the Super League club.
And Eaton, who has a part-time role on Leeds’ coaching staff, said: “They are too old for the under-19s and they need somewhere to go where they feel a consistent part of it.
“They are going to hopefully play some games and Leeds will keep an eye on them.
“If they do well enough there’s every chance they could end up going back there.”
Meanwhile, Eaton said he is relishing tonight’s first game since Hawks won last season’s Championship One Grand Final.
“We can’t wait for it to start now,” he said. “We’ve had a good pre-season and we are ready for it.”
Rovers had to give up home advantage, due to problems with their Big Fellas Stadium pitch, but team boss Andy Hay insisted: “We’re not concerned about that. It’s the first game of the year and we played there against Wakefield in pre-season. We’ve known about it for a while, so everybody’s ready.”
Hay added: “Hunslet have got some good players, so it will be a tough game. It’s a bit of an unknown because they weren’t in our division last year and we haven’t seen too much of them, but we can’t take anybody lightly.
“It is all about what happens on the day.”