HUNSLET’S PREPARATIONS for 2018 start now, writes Peter Smith.
The south Leeds club close a disappointing Kingstone Press League One regular season campaign at home to Newcastle Thunder tomorrow (3pm).
They are 10th in the table and almost certain to miss out on the Super-8s, instead taking part in the Shield competition over the final quarter of the season.
Coach Gary Thornton, who joined Hunslet in May, described their league position as “unacceptable” and stressed players need to prove they deserve to be at the club next year.
Thornton has been confirmed as coach for 2018 and he said: “For those whose contracts are up for renewal, how they behave in training and how they perform on the field will determine if they get a contract for next season.
“There’s a bit of pressure on the players to perform. I need to sit down with the board and review the current squad and look at what we need to do to strengthen for next year and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It is disappointing a club like Hunslet hasn’t made the top-eight and nobody sees that as acceptable. Everybody has been let down and now it’s a case of the players showing some pride and earning a contract for next year and if not we will go out and look elsewhere. We have to finish the season as strongly as possible.”
Thornton said the first order of business is improving on the performance in last week’s 30-16 defeat at London Skolars.
“It is still an important game for us,” he said of the clash with Newcastle.
“We have to make sure we don’t fall further down the league.”
Tommy Brierley’s spell on loan from York City Knights has been extended until the end of the season, but Michael Hayward (Batley Bulldogs) and Luke Fowden (Rochdale Hornets) have returned to their parent clubs and experienced prop Matt Carbutt has retired due to work commitments.
Hunslet have signed second-row/centre Dean Roberts, who had been on trial with York. He is the brother of recent recruit Shaun Roberts.