Frustrated Gary Thornton left puzzling over Hunslet collapses

Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.
Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton.
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An inability to close out games from a winning position has left Hunslet coach Gary Thornton frustrated and puzzled.

Hunslet led 12-4 in the second-half of their clash with Betfred League One leaders Whitehaven, but conceded 15 unanswered points during the final quarter. It was a fatal blow to Hunslet’s hopes of finishing top of the table and Thornton admitted the game followed a familiar pattern.

Duane Straugheir.

Duane Straugheir.

“We lost it in the last 20 minutes, again,” he said.

“There was some poor discipline and some soft penalties and we ended up with a sin-binning.

“The lads were getting a bit frustrated with some of the referee’s calls, but we’ve got to be better than that.”

Thornton is concerned his players aren’t learning from their mistakes. He added: “It’s yet another one when we failed to close a game out from a winning position and ended up losing.

“It is hugely disappointing, it was a very similar pattern to the two previous home games against Doncaster and Newcastle. That adds to the frustration and disappointment because we are clearly not learning lessons.

“We were good for 60 minutes and deserved our 12-4 lead, but we couldn’t close it out and that is so frustrating because we thought that was something we needed to improve on from last year.”

Thornton felt it was more a case of Hunslet losing the game than Whitehaven winning it.

“We are getting ourselves into strong positions, playing well and then just imploding,” he observed. “We scored a nice try and got ourselves 12-4 up and from then on in it was all Whitehaven.

“I am wondering what is causing us to react like that. We were looking comfortable, Whitehaven didn’t do anything different, anything special, they just completed.

“I am really puzzled by it.”

Hunslet picked up no new injuries and captain Duane Straugheir reported no ill-effects after his comeback from an Achilles problem.

“He got through okay,” Thornton reported. “He was a bit rusty, but there were no further problems.”