Make or break weekend for Hunslet's play-off hopes

HUNSLET ARE approaching make or break time in their battle for a play-offs spot.

Sunday, 22nd July 2018, 3:21 pm
Updated Sunday, 22nd July 2018, 3:27 pm
Gary Thornton.

Successive defeats to fourth-placed Workington Town and leaders Bradford Bulls have left Hunslet sixth in Betfred League One. They are at home to seventh-placed Doncaster tomorrow (3pm) and visit Keighley Cougars, who are eighth, a week later and coach Gary Thornton is predicting more “twists and turns” before the end of the regular season.

The league leaders will be go up to the Betfred Championship with the next four teams playing-off for the other promotion place.

Wins for Hunslet in the next two games could knock Doncaster and Keighley out of the running and Thornton - who had a spell as Dons’ coach - said: “Sunday is a big game and the start of an important period.

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“We’re playing two teams just below us on the table and we’ve got to be on the money this week.

“Doncaster will be looking for revenge after we beat them at their place and they are playing pretty well at the moment so it will be a tough one.”

The loss of forward Josh Jordan-Roberts – who had been on loan from Leeds Rhinos, but has now joined York City Knights – is a blow, but Thornton is confident Hunslet have the tools to get the job done.

He said: “We were unfortunate up at Workington and we gave a good account of ourselves against Bradford, we were in the game for large parts of it. There’s no panic, the situation’s not a crisis. We’ve lost a couple and we’re disappointed about that, but we’ve got an opportunity to get back on track.

“We are reliant on other results going our way, but there’s going to be a lot of twists and turns because all the top teams are playing each other and we have got a chance to put one of our competitors away this weekend.”

Hunslet will be without loose-forward Liam Mackay who suffered a hamstring problem against Bradford. Centre Tom Ashton (Achilles) is a fitness doubt, but Thornton is hopeful Matty Nicholson, Zach Braham and Brad Foster will return to face their former club.