Too early for panic talk insists Hunslet boss Gary Thornton

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POSITIVE SIGNS came out of Hunslet’s opening pre-season game, coach Gary Thornton says, despite a disappointing scoreline.

The Betfred League One side were beaten 36-0 by Championship outfit Batley Bulldogs in the first round of the Yorkshire Cup two days ago, but Thornton felt the performance was much better than the result.

Hunslet’s league campaign does not start until three weeks after the Championship kicks off and they are still in the early stages of pre-season.

Thornton said: “For the first 20-25 minutes we were well in the game, we went set for set with Batley and asked them a few questions. There were some strange refereeing decisions and it definitely influenced the game when we lost [new signing] Richard Moore. He was sent-off [along with Batley’s Joe Taira] and then we had Duane Straugheir sin-binned later on and they scored 12 points when we were down to 11.

“In the first 20-25 minutes we showed we are not far off, but it has come a bit too early for us.

“We are only five weeks in. I was disappointed when the score blew out, but it is still six weeks until we start in the league and we did run out of steam a bit.”

Hunslet will face another Championship side, Halifax, at Featherstone on Saturday (3pm). With Zach Braham still troubled by a broken arm and Aiden Hema on his off-season break, a ban for Moore would leave Hunslet short in the pack.

“We might be a bit light in the middle unit this week, but it’s nothing to panic about,” Thornton added.

“It is about getting through these games without injuries, getting some minutes under our belts and some game time into the players’ legs.

“There’s plenty to build on and we shouldn’t be too despondent.”

Hunslet came through Sunday’s game with no major fitness problems, but Thornton said: “We got two or three mouth injuries.

“Jimmy Watson had to go to hospital to have stitches in his mouth, which is unusual.

“We also had a bit of disruption when we lost Adam Robinson in the warm-up. He felt a slight strain in his hamstring so we didn’t risk him.”