HUNSLET’S SEVEN-MATCH winning run is over, but boss Gary Thornton was full of praise for his side’s spirit in their 28-18 defeat at Workington Town.
The Parksiders dropped two places to fifth in Betfred League One, but Thornton felt they did themselves justice in difficult circumstances.
Hunslet travelled north without Dee Foggin-Johnston (foot injury), Nathan Chappell (shoulder) and Jimmy Watson (groin) and props Zach Braham (arm), Matty Nicholson (knee) and Lewis Reed (knee) were all hurt during the game.
“I can’t fault the effort,” said Thornton. “We had to make a lot of changes and we brought a couple in who haven’t played for a while. Gavin Duffy, who’s normally a winger, came in and played full-back and Daley Williams hasn’t played in three years and he played the full game at centre.
“It was admirable of the guys to do that. We had some adversity and we worked hard to get through it.”
Thornton added: “In the first half we were really good, we were 14-4 up at half-time, but a sin-binning in the first defensive set of the second half didn’t help. They got a bit of momentum after that and we never quite recovered.”
Nyle Flynn was yellow-carded after what Thornton felt was a harsh team warning and he added: “We got a few tough calls.
“They scored a try off a blatant forward pass and we were called back after a one-on-one ball-steal, when we would have scored.
“That was a 12-point turnaround and if those decisions had gone the other way we’d have won the game.”
Thornton is hopeful the three late withdrawals will be available for Sunday’s huge home derby against leaders Bradford Bulls.
“We thought Zach (Braham) had broken his arm, but he had an x-ray and it’s not broken, it’s deep bruising,” Thornton added. “Matty Nicholson and Lewis Reed both had collision injuries and they didn’t look good either.”
The grass banking opposite South Leeds Stadium’s main stand will be open for the first time on Sunday, increasing capacity by 1,000 to 3,450.