Hunslet RLFC 44-18 Salford Reds
Having a squad of 30 players is tough to maintain without the benefit of having a second team. So Friday’s (3 February 2023) second pre-season friendly for Hunslet hastily arranged against Salford Reds proved a great opportunity to try out some lesser known talent and also a few trialists.
Having missed a pre-season game against Halifax because of the weather, Salford made the journey across the Pennines with a mainly second string team, but would prove a good test for a new look Parksiders.
In fact it was Salford who opened the scoring after Hunslet had good early pressure. Alexander Davidson was too strong near the posts and with conversion the visitors lead 0-6 on only the 5th minute.
Hunslet worked their way into the game though with Harvey Whiteley very lively and Sean Croston making good inroads, and on the 12th minute he shipped the ball quickly to the right for Jordan Syme to dive over. 4-6
Now Hunslet were looking the part and Brad Wheeler proved too strong for the Reds defence wrestling his way over in the left corner. Just three minutes later he cut a hole in the visitor’s line and fed Harvey Whiteley who scampered for the line, the try converted by Kieron Lawton. 14-6 after 22 minutes.
The Parksiders’ good work was undone though by giving away a penalty and close in to the line, Salford registered a soft try under the posts easily converted for 14-12.
Morgan Punchard and Fraser Stroud were combining well and Jordan Syme’s experience was telling, and Hunslet were unlucky not to stretch their lead. But on the half time hooter a lucky kick bounced Salford’s way and the loose ball was scooped up to score by Samir Tahraoui. 14-18
Hunslet could count themselves unlucky not to be leading at half time after having the lion’s share of possession, but in the second half they had their foot on the gas from the off.
Trialist Spencer Darley was too strong near the line on 42 minutes, converted by Lawton and minutes later a superb through ball sent Aaron York over on the right hand side. 24-18
Had Hunslet been more accurate with the boot the game would have been over and done with, but on 59 minutes it more or less was, as after some slick handling Lewis Wray went in under the posts making the kick easy. 30-18
With Jordan Bull and Nathan Newbound making big yards and Daniel Barcoe lively around the ruck space opened up for Dan McGrath to make a lovely mazy run to set up Aaron York for his second try of the evening. 34-16
Salford were now tiring and on 70 minutes York featured again, setting up Sean Croston who wrestled his way over for a try. 38-16
Kieron Lawton had been impressive at full-back making good inroads and one of last year’s favourites Jack Render again backed up from last Sunday’s match with a solid performance. Render put the icing on the cake, when from a Hunslet scrum, quick hands gave him a fairly simple task to score in the corner, this time Morgan Punchard adding the extras. 44-18
The try was scored on the hooter and the victory was Hunslet’s. Impressive performances from notably Wheeler and Bull may give Coach Alan Kilshaw a headache when picking his team for the Harry Jepson Trophy against Leeds Rhinos next Sunday (12 February 2023), but in truth a good depth of squad is needed if Hunslet are to go far this season in League 1.
Aaron York took the Man of the Match award picked by Hunslet’s main sponsor Jason Peterkin of 24/7 Blinds, and should be a real fan favourite this season for the Parksiders.
Hunslet RLFC: Jack Render, Kieron Lawton, Nathan Conroy, Aaron York, Danny Barcoe, Nathan Newbound, Jordan Syme, Lewis Wray, Harvey Whiteley, Tyler Walton, Morgan Punchard, Liam Carr, Fraser Stroud, Dan McGrath, Jordan Bull, Sean Croston, Brad Wheeler, Rob Worrincey
Salford Reds: Billy Walker, Nathan Taylor, Jacob Lee, Jack Stevens, Nathan Connell, Toby Hughes, Matthew Rudd, Jordan Brown, Finley Yates, Matthew Unsworth, Henry Davies, Alexander Davidson, Jack Newbegin, Scott Pritchard, Kellen Wood, Lucas Iles, Kieran Lewis, Samir Tahraoui, Jorge Cabral, Euan Haynes.