veteran centre Danny Maun is preparing for his second successive Grand Final – and that has fulfilled a promise made to his coach Barry Eaton.
Maun joined Hunslet Hawks last autumn after playing his final game for Batley Bulldogs in their Kingstone Press Championship title decider against Sheffield Eagles.
He has been a key figure in Hawks’ march to a Championship One showdown with Oldham at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday, scoring a crucial try in the 32-24 final eliminator win away to league leaders York City Knights two days ago.
“I told Baz that was my goal, to get to the Grand Final,” Maun revealed. “It was heartbreaking last year with Batley, but it was great to get there as well and for Hunslet to get to the Grand Final – with all the young kids they’ve got and a few experienced heads – it’s a credit to [chief executive] Daz Williams and all the hard work he puts in.
“It’s great for the supporters of the club, so it’s a nice feeling.
“It is a great club, it’s well-run by Daz, all the fans stick together and it’s nice to reward them for all the travelling we have done this year.”
Hawks’ squad features several past or present Leeds Rhinos players, including Richard Moore, Jimmy Watson, Luke Briscoe, Liam Hood and James Duckworth and Maun said: “It will be good for them to go back to Headingley.
“They have done a great job here, their attitude has been first class and that’s testament to the Leeds club as well.”
Hawks lost to Oldham in their first play-offs tie this year, but Maun reckons the subsequent wins over Gateshead Thunder and York will send them into the final in good heart. They trailed 12-0 at half-time last Sunday and were 18-10 adrift inside the final 15 minutes, but a late surge saw them through and Maun observed: “We knew it would be a tough game.
“In the first half we didn’t take our chances like we should have done and I thought they scrambled really well and defended like their lives depended on it.
“We had a talk at half-time and Baz said stick to our structure and we’ll get them. Luckily we got a few calls in the second half and it was a good win.”
Hawks kept their nerve when York seemed to have built a match-winning lead and Maun added: “If you look at the Super League play-offs, it’s a patience game. It’s about taking your chances and I think we did that in the second half. We played for 80 minutes, which is pleasing. To do it in a semi-final will give us a lot of confidence against Oldham.
“They beat us the other week, but form goes out the window. It’s all on the 80 minutes. They are a good side, well-coached by Scott Naylor, but we know what we need to do and I think we’ll step up, enjoy ourselves and see what happens.”
Maun, 33, has yet to decide whether he will play on next season – when Hawks could be up against the likes of Bradford Bulls and London Broncos in the Championship.
“I feel good at the minute,” he said. “I’ve looked after myself a bit better this year and got through the games with no niggles. I’ll get the Grand Final out of the way and see what happens.”
Hawks have been allocated 500 tickets for Sunday, priced £17 (£10 concessions) for the Western Terrace and £20 (£10) for the North Stand).
Meanwhile, York’s former Batley Bulldogs boss Gary Thornton has been told his contract will not be renewed following the loss to Hawks.