Hunslet RLFC: Thornton’s got his sights set on the Shield final

Gary Thornton.
Gary Thornton.
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COACH GARY Thornton admits he will be disappointed if Hunslet do not reach the Kingstone Press League One Shield final.

The top two teams will contest the decider at the end of seven additional rounds, with points carrying over from the regular season.

Hunslet, who travel to Oxford tomorrow (2pm), are in pole position after last weekend’s opening matches and Thornton said: “We’ll be disappointed if we don’t get to the final.

“We are not making too many early predictions, there’s quite a long way to go and anything can happen, but we are quietly confident of finishing at least in the top-two.

“We are certainly capable when we play to our potential.”

Hunslet are the only long-established club in the Shield competition and Thornton added: “I think it’s about mental toughness now as much as anything.

“We know we’ve got the skill levels and fitness to beat anyone in this division.

“We have to prepare properly and go into games with the right mindset.

“That’s the challenge.”

A 24-22 defeat at Oxford in May ended previous coach James Coyle’s spell at Hunslet and Thornton admitted his side – who beat Coventry Bears last weekend – are looking for “payback”.

He said: “It is a tough challenge. It is away on a 4g pitch and it’s quite a long journey. They are things that can prey on your mind, so we have to make sure we are right mentally.”

Thornton will make team changes and he said: “We have got 26-27 fit players and the only way to fit them all in is with some kind of rotation.

“Whoever comes in can do just as good a job as the player they replace.”