It’s fair to say that it’s been a difficult time for League 1 over the last few months with the loss of London from the pro game to the Southern Conference, and the potential loss of Newcastle which, thankfully has now been averted. Damian Irvine and I were heavily involved in discussions with other League 1 Clubs and led negotiations with the Championship Clubs and the RFL to try and get a resolution. Unfortunately, our push for a one division, two conference solution wasn’t successful but, as ever, we and the other League 1 Clubs remain resilient and are determined to provide another compelling competition in 2024. As you will be aware, we will now play 20 league games this season, including 4 loop fixtures. For Hunslet, that means we will play North Wales and Workington twice at home and Keighley and Midlands twice away. We are also in the middle of the re-vamped 1895 Cup which have given us two West Yorkshire derbies at home to Featherstone and Batley.

Turning briefly to the 2025 league structures. I can confirm that talks remain ongoing with the RFL and all other professional Clubs, and we should hopefully have clarification before our season kicks off in March so that everyone will know exactly what they are playing for and what the future structure will look like. I can’t say more than that at the moment, but I will endeavour to keep you updated as matters progress.

There’s no doubt that the upcoming season will be a baptism of fire for our new Head Coach Dean Muir, who has blown everyone away with his enthusiasm and commitment to the role, but it’s a challenge that both he and the squad are very much up for. In terms of the league, I’m expecting it to be even more competitive than last year. Taking our opponents in alphabetical order:

Cornwall won three of their last 4 league games in 2023 to finish strongly and ran just about every Club close at Penryn for at least 60 minutes. As they continue to develop that resilience and squad strength in depth through converting the local RU talent, they will remain a tough cookie to beat at home and more than capable of a few surprises on the road too. Head Coach: Mike Abbot. Key Player: Harry Aaronson, pace to burn and strong finisher. More info:

Keighley will still be smarting from last year’s relegation which was by a final points difference of just 3 (oof!!). They will be planning to bounce straight back and were of course unbeaten during their last season in League 1. The fact that Dean is their ex-assistant Coach, we have recruited a number of their players from that unbeaten season and given that they have ex Hunslet players Ryder, Foggin – Johnston and Copland in their ranks, will all add extra spice to our three clashes this season. Those fixtures could be critical for both Club’s ambitions. Head Coach: Matt Foster. Key Player: Jack Miller, canny operator who creates and takes chances clinically. More info:

Midlands have always been capable of pulling off good wins against the odds. Lest we forget, a couple of  seasons ago they won 29-0 at SLS, and last season shocked Doncaster with a remarkable 41-10 victory at the Keepmoat. They need to turn those kinds of results into consistency, and to that end they’ve invested more in their squad this year and are also in a DR arrangement with Sheffield Eagles which will give them further options. This could well be the year they emerge from the shadows, misjudge them at your peril.  Head Coach: Mark Dunning. Key Player – Matty Welham, keen eye for the try line and always a danger in the opposition half. More info:

Newcastle is the unknown factor. They will no doubt rely heavily on local talent, particularly from the University, given the late confirmation of their acceptance into the league. Off the field, our ex-Chairman Steve Ball is helping out in the boardroom and his experience will no doubt be welcomed and he will also use his contacts on the player recruitment side. Their biggest achievement in 2024 may yet prove to be getting to the starting line and no one should underestimate that achievement. Congratulations go to all those that were involved in making it happen. Head Coach: Chris Thorman. Key Player: The squad is still being assembled as I write. More info:

It’s amazing how many people were shocked by North Wales Crusaders reaching the League 1 Grand Final last year. They overcame huge obstacles in terms of injuries to key players at the start of the season as well as having to play almost all of their home games at a variety of venues whilst the pitch at Colwyn Bay was being upgraded. They deserve huge plaudits for overcoming that adversity in such a positive manner. Let’s also not forget that each of the previous two seasons saw them finish third, so don’t be surprised to see them as serious contenders yet again. Head Coach: Carl Forster. Key Player – Carl Forster, Canny operator and excellent motivator, leads by example. More Info:

Oldham are the bookies favourites. The new consortium headed up by Mike Ford has recruited extremely well with bags of Championship and SL experience brought in. The appointment of Sean Long as Head Coach is also a statement of intent. Topping that off with a return to Boundary Park and an increasing fanbase, they will definitely be the team to beat this season. Head Coach: Sean Long. Key Player – Jordan Turner, Super League quality at League 1 level? Say no more! More info:

You can never write off Rochdale who have the wily Gary Thornton at the helm. He has built his 2024 squad round the experience of players such as Brierley, Forster, McNally, Nelmes, Ridyard, and our popular ex- captain Duane Struaghier, all of which could give them the X factor. Head Coach: Gary Thornton. Key Man – Martin Ridyard, pulls all the strings. More info:

Workington are somewhat of  a nemesis for us, having a very good recent record at SLS, including almost taking our undefeated home league record last season. So, we will need to be on our mettle as we play them at home twice in 2024. Their own home form is always solid and provides them with the platform to challenge strongly in the league. I can’t see that changing, and so expect them to be well in the mix. Head Coach: Anthony Murray. Key Man – Jarrod Sammut, huge experience and has the ability to create something out of nothing when you least expect it. More info:

As for Hunslet, we have a new coach and a much-changed squad, with an average age of just 24. But we do have experienced heads in the ranks in key positions and they will need to play a crucial role in bringing on the youth element. Hopefully we’ll be contesting promotion again, but every team will be up for the challenge. Key Man: The one in Myrtle, White and Flame, leaving nothing out on the pitch.

Who will be the winner? Rugby League’s always the winner of course!

Get ready to join the rollercoaster! Respect the officials, respect your opponents, enjoy the excitement, surf the ups and downs, manage the heartaches and joy, but expect shocks and surprises throughout. After all, Rugby League isn’t known as “The Greatest Game” for nothing. Come on the Huns!

Come and join the Hunslet Family

Season Tickets / Memberships / Sponsorships

Don’t miss any of the action at SLS. If you haven’t already done so, grab yourself a season ticket now at:

Better still, become a King or Watson member and receive your season ticket as part of a wider package along with other benefits. Our membership details can be found here:

Player sponsorships are available here:

Match Day sponsorship opportunities are available here: