In Opposition – Hunslet RLFC

Phase one of the 2017 Kingstone Press League 1 season draws to a close this weekend as Thunder travel to Hunslet, for a game that will ensure a dramatic finale to the battle for fourth place in the pre-split table.

Thunder are locked in a three-way fight between Doncaster, York and themselves to secure that position and take a fourth home game during the Super 8s, whilst Hunslet themselves still have an outside chance of making the top eight.

The permutations for Thunder are simple.  Beat Hunslet and if York slip to defeat against Workington, they will take fourth.

Should the Knights win, then Thunder can still seize the coveted spot, should the beat Hunslet with a clear score of 17 points or more greater than a winning score for the Bootham Crescent side.

Thunder and Hunslet have met once already this season at the South Leeds Stadium when they faced off in the opening round of the League 1 Cup.

It was a fixture that went the way of the visitors as Thunder ran in seven tries for a 10-34 win to take advantage of a Gavin Duffy red card.

It is a campaign that started well but has failed to consistently fire as this weekend’s hosts strive to make the top eight.

Following a narrow 10-6 win over the All Golds on an opening day, there were big wins over Hemel Stags and South Wales Ironmen, and a narrow loss away to Doncaster.

Losing out by only a point to Whitehaven, they got back to winning ways against North Wales, before disappointingly slipping up against Oxford the following week.

Following a 30-22 win over Workington, a three-match losing streak against Barrow, York and Toronto undermined their position in the top eight.

That slide was arrested by a 56-24 win over Coventry in round 13, before a 30-16 loss away to London Skolars last week was not the result that Hunslet were looking for.

 

Players to Watch

Jake Normington – A former Leeds Rhino Junior, Normington is a big powerful unit who is equally at home in the centre or back row and is a strong finisher. He has made 13 starts for Hunslet this season and has scored six tries.

George Flanagan – A highly rated hooker, Hunslet were delighted when Flanagan signed a new two-year deal in the summer of 2016. An ex-Bradford Bulls junior, the 29-year-old brings Championship experience having also played for Batley Bulldogs, Dewsbury Rams and Featherstone Rovers.

He has made 59 appearances for the club to date, including 15 this season and has scored a total of 36 tries

Danny Ansell – A 24-year-old goal-kicking halfback Ansell joined Hunslet from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in 2012, he is a pivotal player, with good vision and an excellent pass.

His six years at South Leeds Stadium have seen him make 80 appearances and score 279 points