NEW LOOK Hunslet will get an early indication of how they might fare this year when they begin their pre-season campaign away to Betfred League One rivals York City Knights tomorrow (3pm).
York, who have already played three warm-up games, are expected to be among the front-runners in 2018 and Hunslet coach Gary Thornton reckons it will be a useful test for his side.
“We are ready for a game,” said Thornton who took over after James Coyle was dismissed midway through last year
“It seems to have been a long pre-season. Nobody likes pre-season, coaches or players but we’ve got to do it
“I think the players are all chomping at the bit now and we are ready to play.
“We’ve got a few missing with bumps and bruises that we won’t risk, but we’re going to take 20 players over there and we are really looking forward to it.”
As well as playing a local amateur select side, York have had run-outs against Betfred Super League outfit Hull KR and Championship team, Featherstone Rovers.
They finished fourth last season, six places above Hunslet and Thornton believes they are capable of challenging for promotion. He said: “I’ve seen them twice, they have recruited well and they have got a partnership with Hull KR.
“It will be a good measure for us. We don’t play them in the league until nine or 10 weeks in so it is a decent game for us to go and test ourselves.
“You can’t really see where you need to improve until you play so we are looking forward to getting a game under our belts and then we’ll see what we need to work on for the start.”
Thornton – whose team begin their league campaign away to Hemel Stags on February 18 – admitted getting through tomorrow injury-free is his “first objective” and he added: “We want to get some minutes under our belts.
“It’s the first time these guys have played together as a group so we are looking forward to seeing how the new combinations are going to work.
“We’ll go and enjoy it.
“I don’t think we are expecting too much, we will give it our best and hopefully if we do that we’ll come out of it in decent shape.”