Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw provides pre-season update ahead of Keighley Cougars Challenge Cup clash

Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw has revealed his team will go into their first competitive game of 2022 without any warm-up matches under their belt.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 31st December 2021, 9:34 am

The Parksiders will play host to Keighley Cougars in the second round of the Betfred Challenge Cup at the end of January, almost two months before their opening League One fixture.

Kilshaw’s men take on Leeds Rhinos for the Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Trophy a week after the Cougars clash and more Challenge Cup rounds are scheduled for February and March.

“We won’t be having any friendlies leading into the cup game,” Kilshaw confirmed.

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Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw. Picture by Hunslet RLFC.

“That will be our first hit out and we are all looking forward to it.

“We have a couple of players with knocks, but 25 out of our 27 are training and fully fit [and] there is nothing to concern us long term.”

Pre-season training will resume on Wednesday following a Christmas and new year break.

Seventeen new faces have joined the club since the end of last season and Kilshaw’s revamped squad have been training three times a week from early November.

He said: “We’ve been building strong foundations in the gym, focusing on core and stability work, while on the field there’s been plenty of rugby league core skills-based work.

“We finished the first phase of pre-season training with a hit out between ourselves, to gauge just where the group was at and how effective the work we had been doing [was] in a game scenario and under fatigue.

“I was very pleased with the outcome, in fact the exercise was very beneficial.”

Kilshaw insisted: “We have set some standards and had some really good discussions around playing philosophy and the club’s culture.

“When the players return we will gradually increase the intensity of our sessions and the volume of the conditioning.

“We need to make sure we find the correct balance as we need to prepare the group to play some forthcoming games while not forgetting that our overriding priority is the Betfred League 1 season, which starts at the end of March.”

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