Hunslet coach Gary Thornton wary of threat posed by Whitehaven

THEY COULD not have asked for a better start to the league season, but the going is about to get tougher for on-song Hunslet.

Saturday, 6th April 2019, 5:30 am
Ben Heaton.

The Betfred League One leaders have a 100 per cent record after four games and gave Championship side Halifax a fright in the Coral Challenge Cup last week before being pipped 28-24.

Coach Gary Thornton is happy with the progress his team are making, after they finished seventh last year, but expects tomorrow’s game at Whitehaven (3pm) to be their sternest examination so far.

The Cumbrian side are fourth, having lost only once this term and they also pushed Championship opposition all the way last week, going out 
21-20 to Rochdale Hornets.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It will be the toughest game of the season so far, when you put it all into context,” Thornton predicted.

“Doncaster away was tough, but this is probably our biggest test, with the journey to contend with and the rest of it.

“They are in a bit of form as well, they are going well, so it is a tough game for us.”

Hunslet’s status as league leaders adds to the challenge, their coach reckons.

He warned: “I think everybody will look to pick us off now we are top of the league.

“It goes with the territory and it’s one of the things we’ve got to contend with.

“We are a scalp and everybody will be on top of their game.

“Their motivation won’t be in question at all so we have got to match that.”

Whitehaven will also be gearing up for a difficult afternoon.

Hunslet are full of confidence after their strong start and last week’s performance has added to that.

“We’ve got to be confident after the way we performed against a top-four Championship team and to take them within four points,” Thornton added.

“We have got to take the positives from that and make sure we build on it, but we know how tough [Sunday] is going to be and it is a different challenge.

“It’s a good test and it’ll be good to see how we react and how we handle it.”

Thornton is hopeful influential centre Ben Heaton could be available after missing last week’s cup tie due to a calf muscle strain.