Shield win will salvage Hunslet’s campaign

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VICTORY in tomorrow’s Kingstone Press League One Shield final would salvage something from a disappointing season for Hunslet.

The Parksiders snatched top spot on the Shield table thanks to an 18-12 win over London Skolars last Sunday and will face the same opposition, who finished second, in the decider at South Leeds Stadium (3pm).

Hunslet had aimed to be in the top-eight at the end of the regular season, but missed out by two places and Thornton – who was appointed in May – reckons the Shield is a worthwhile consolation prize,

“It has not been a great season for the club, with a change of coach and missing out on the top-eight,” Thornton reflected.

“But winning the Shield would go some way to appeasing that.

“We have got to the final and we want to make sure we don’t blow it.

“It is something we set out to do at the start of this process and it is important we finish the job.

“Winning the Shield would give us a springboard into pre-season.”

Thornton feels his team have clawed some pride back in the final third of the campaign.

He added: “The players have worked really hard over the seven weeks of the Shield.

“They have trained really hard and prepared well and we just need them to go out and finish the job.

“Everything has been geared towards this week and it would be nice to build a positive out of the negative of not being in the top-eight.”

As well as securing home advantage, last Sunday’s victory ensured Hunslet will go into the final in confident mood.

But Thornton expects Skolars to come out all guns blazing and he reckons the final could go down to the wire.

“This is a one-off and anything can happen in those games,” he said.

“I think they will be pretty confident coming back.

“They didn’t do too badly last week – it was a really tight game and they will probably fancy their chances, especially with the injuries we picked up.

“We’ve lost Matty Nicholson and Nyle Flynn and they are two important important players for us.”