Hunslet boss Gary Thornton impressed by on-loan Warrington Wolves teenager David Gibbons

Academy international David Gibbons is beginning to make a name for himself at Hunslet.

By Peter Smith
Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 4:45 pm
Hunslet's on-loan Warrington half-back David Gibbons. Picture by Steve Gaunt/Touchline Pictures/Hunslet RLFC.
Hunslet's on-loan Warrington half-back David Gibbons. Picture by Steve Gaunt/Touchline Pictures/Hunslet RLFC.

The half-back’s father Dave played for clubs including Leeds and Hunslet and is now an assistant-coach with Rhinos’ women’s team.

The former East Leeds youngster, who is on loan from Warrington Wolves, impressed in the second half of the Parksiders’ draw against Doncaster, setting up one try and scoring another.

Hunslet coach Gary Thornton reflected: “I was very impressed by Gibbons.

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“He may not play in every game for us, once Dom Brambani has recovered from his calf injury, but he’ll certainly have an important part to play in the rest of our season as we push for promotion.”

He added: “What pleased me as much as anything about Dave was the way he reacted to a couple of errors in the first half, where he’d thrown out one or two forward passes and had taken wrong options,.

“He showed a lot of maturity for a 19-year-old, who’d previously been limited to academy rugby, to react so very positively.”

Thornton reckons Gibbons is benefiting from playing alongside an experienced stand-off.

“Simon Brown is a key figure,” he said.

“He is one of the most important players in the side.

“A lot of his contribution goes unnoticed by most, but he has a massive influence on organising and marshalling the team and ensuring we are structured and stick to the game plan.

“His contribution and leadership takes the pressure off the younger players like Gibbo, which allows them to shine.”

Thornton felt Hunslet should have beaten Doncaster, who equalised in the final moments.

“We were totally dominant in the first half, but didn’t take our chances,” he recalled.

“We went for the power play far too much, and didn’t stick to our game plan.

“The strategy had worked the previous week at London Skolars, but Doncaster were a different matter defensively.

“We had a lot of good field position in the opening period, but bombed a number of opportunities.

“However, the fitness issue which plagued us a few weeks ago has now gone.

“We were drawing 0-0 at Keighley at the end of May and ended up losing 40-0, but it’s clearly a very different story now.”

Thornton, a former Doncaster coach, stressed: “While we’re disappointed not to have prevailed in a match we could and should have won, the fact remains that we drew with a team that had only lost once this season and which was second in the table, so we’ve certainly improved - and there’s more to come.”

The Parksiers were without Vila Halafihi, who has an infected knee.

Thornton explained: “It was picked up at London Skolars, where he grazed his knee on their artificial pitch.

“It didn’t look like anything at the time, but it got worse during the week and he had to pull out of the side on the Friday as he couldn’t even train.”

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