SOME OF Leeds Rhinos’ youngsters are dealing with a new experience, which coach Rob Burrow doesn’t want them to get used to, but reckons will prove valuable in terms of the long run.
Rhinos will field a young side in tonight’s Harry Jepson Memorial Trophy tie at Hunslet, five days after a similar team were crushed 50-12 away to Keighley Cougars.
Burrow said: “A lot of them – especially the lads from Siddal – have been in very successful teams and the question was asked ‘how many games have you lost?’.
“Some of them said they’d only lost five times – and two of those were the last two Leeds games!
“It was a big shock last week and they have so much to learn about how to deal with it.
“It’s all about how they respond and how I, as a coach, respond.
“They have responded well and I hope a few lessons have been learned. I am expecting a much better performance this week.”
Half-back Jordan Lilley has recovered from a foot injury and will feature tonight, but Cory Johnson (back) and Dakota Whylie (ankle) are ruled out and Mikolaj Oledzki (shoulder) remains on the casualty list.
Hunslet, who begin their Betfred League One campaign away to Hemel Stags in nine days’ time, lost 30-6 at York City Knights in their opening warm-up, but beat Hunslet Club Parkside 48-22 last Sunday.
“It will be a youthful, very athletic Leeds team and it will be a different test to the one we had last week,” coach Gary Thornton predicted.
“Hopefully we will be able to test out some of our combinations and play a bit more.
“There’s a cup at the end of it and it’s one we have been looking forward to for a while.
“It doesn’t matter what side they put out, it is still Leeds Rhinos and we want to put up a good show.
“They will be looking to put things right and I imagine they will be better this week.”
Hunslet: From Watson, Mvududu, Gibson, Sanderson, Southernwood, Haley, Reed, Mackay, Straugheir, Flanagan, Foster, Mallinder, Tyson-Wilson, Coventry, Williams, Walton, Ashton, Crowther, S Roberts, D Roberts, Cooke, Barnett, Chappell.
Referee: Nick Bennett(South Yorkshire).
Kick-off: Tonight, 7.30pm.