Hunslet v North Wales: Crusaders offer test of promotion credentials
TOMORROW'S VISIT of North Wales Crusaders (3pm) is payback time for Hunslet.
The south Leeds club are on a seven-game winning run – the joint-best, along with London Broncos, in any of the three professional divisions – since their last defeat, which was away to North Wales in the Shield competition on August 13 last year.
Hunslet began their Betfred League One campaign with a win at Hemel Stags and have also beaten Oulton Raiders in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Those results will send them into tomorrow’s game in confident mood, but North Wales are unbeaten in their last five league matches – dating back to a defeat by Barrow in June – and Hunslet coach Gary Thornton is expecting an early test of his side’s promotion credentials.
“North Wales had a great win against Keighley the other week and they are a good side,” he warned. “They probably under-performed a bit last year, but they are a big side, they are well-drilled and they have two good, experienced half-backs.
“They are a threat, it certainly won’t be easy, but they beat us away last year and it’s a bit of payback.”
Thornton added: “We have been focusing on them this week and their strengths.
“To come back from 22-4 down at half-time against Keighley and win shows they never go away and they have plenty of spirit, so we have to be wary and on our game.”
Thornton said Hunslet are keen to regain the momentum they had before last week’s fixture against Whitehaven was postponed.
“That was disappointing,” he added. “It has been a bit disruptive in terms of preparation, we didn’t get on the field much last week and it has broken our momentum a bit.
“After the wins over Hemel and Oulton we wanted to back that up, but hopefully we can get the job done this week.
“We are on a decent run and we are at home and we’ve said we want to make sure we win our home games.
“We’ve got two massive games coming up against Bradford and it is up to the players to do the business and be in form for those.”
Hunslet will be without Brad Foster who suffered a hamstring injury training on an indoor track last week.