Hunslet RLFC: Shield win is ‘springboard’ Thornton’s men

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton
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BOSS GARY Thornton is confident Hunslet will have a better season next year.

The Parksiders finished 10th in Kingstone Press League One, but went on to win six of their seven games in the Shield competition and beat London Skolars 32-12 in the final two days ago.

It was a positive end to a disappointing campaign and Thornton said: “That’s the springboard for us as far as I’m concerned.

“We have got a fair plan in our mind who we want to retain and where we think we need to strengthen.

“We are quite a way down on that with a few players and we will be announcing them over the coming weeks.”

Bradford Bulls will be among Hunslet’s rivals next year and Thornton added: “We have some areas we want to improve and we need to strengthen.

“This league is getting very competitive – I am speaking to lots of agents and there’s quite a few Championship players dropping down.

“I think the top end of League One will be a very, very good competition next year and we’ve got to make sure we can be competitive.

“We’re not too far off, we’re just a few players short.”

Thornton admitted: “We need a bit more experience, we are a very young team.

“Joe Sanderson is only 19 and playing at half-back is a lot of responsibility, but he will be better with this first year under his belt.

“It is a big transition from academy football to first team rugby at this level.”

Stand-off Joel Gibson suffered a shoulder injury in the Shield victory, but Thornton is confident there was no long-term damage.

He said: “We thought it was dislocated at first, but we don’t think it is now – it looks more like a stinger-type injury.”

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