WORK ETHIC and attitude are the two ingredients coach Barry Eaton is looking for in Hunslet Hawks’ performance against Leeds Rhinos tonight.
Eaton has named a strong squad for the traditional Lazenby Cup pre-season derby at South Leeds Stadium, which is being played on a Friday night for the first time since it was reintroduced 11 years ago.
Hawks were relegated to Kingstone Press One last season and do not begin their league campaign until March 5, though before then they will face York City Knights in the iPro Sport Cup and also have a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie.
“The season is still more than a month away and we have had a fair amount of disruption to training due to all the rain,” said Eaton, who will have a foot in both camps as one of Rhinos’ assistant-coaches.
“Normally at this time we are worried about frost and snow, but this year it has been waterlogging.
“We have had to do a lot of small-sided stuff on the five-a-side 3g pitch at South Leeds Stadium.
“We’re grateful to the council for shuffling things around to accommodate us, but we have not been able to do as much team stuff as we’d like.
“We’ve had a strong focus on work ethic and attitude in training and that’s what we’ll be looking for in the game.
“The players are ready for a hit-out, for sure.”
Hawks’ squad includes winger Lee Mapals, whose contract was terminated for gross misconduct two years ago.
Eaton will give a run-out to trialist Jamie Milburn, from the Fryston Warriors amateur club.
Rhinos’ squad includes teenagers Cameron Smith, Jack Wray, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Mikolaj Oledzki and Ryan Jones, who were this week named in the England Academy squad for 2016.
Other Rhinos players selected for the England academy squad are Connor Sunderland, Dyson Nicholson and Harvey Whiteley.
Leeds’ Harry Newman, Kiedan Hartley and Loui McConnell have been selected for England Youth.
The Youth squad includes Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ Joe Summers and Josh Pinder, plus Castleford Tigers’ Callum McLelland.
Castleford’s Conor Fitzsimmons and Wakefield’s Judah Mazive have been selected for the Academy squad.