THERE will be a strong Hunslet flavour to this evenings (Wednesday 9 November) huge Student Rugby League fixture between Northumbria and Leeds Beckett.
The sides go into the game boasting 100 per cent records at the head of Premier North – and a key factor in both teams’ success is the presence of players who have signed up for Hunslet ahead of the 2023 Betfred League 1 campaign.
Forwards Nathan Newbound, Tyler Walton and Peter Ryan, together with threequarter Sean Croston, are in Northumbria’s ranks, while Jordan Bull captains Leeds and his teammate Fraser Stroud is an important figure at halfback.
Ryan, who is ruled out of the game through injury, will be a more than interested observer from the sidelines, as will those Hunslet supporters and others who are able to make the trip from south Leeds to Kingston Park for the 7.30pm kick-off.
Newbound – whose great grandfather Sam Newbound won a Championship medal in 1938, when Hunslet beat Leeds 8-2 before 54,000 at Elland Road – recently joined the Parksiders from Midlands Hurricanes. He said: “It’s always a big game between Northumbria and Leeds Beckett. We had the same situation when I was at the Hurricanes, with such as Tyler Walton, Sean Croston, Jordan Bull and me involved. We played with and against each other at Student level but then became mates with the Hurricanes. It’ll be similar this time, I’m sure.
“Leeds Beckett dominated the competition for many years but that’s been turned on its head in recent times and we’ve had the better of the last four or five seasons. It’ll be an exciting game, under the lights at Kingston Park, with unbeaten records at stake, and I can’t wait. And I wish Leeds Beckett the best of luck, because they’ll need it!”
Bull, who has also switched to Hunslet from Midlands Hurricames, said: “We’re getting excited about tomorrow’s game! The teams met three times last season and Northumbria won on each occasion, including in the Grand Final, but we’re in the best position we’ve been for the last three years and we’re aiming to put that recent record right.
“Like Nathan, I’ve played (for Hurricanes and England) alongside and against some of these lads. Student allegiances will be put behind us when we’re playing for Hunslet, but in the meantime we’re confident of turning Northumbria over on their own patch, following that up by beating them at home, and going on to win the Grand Final.”
He added: “We’ve scored 216 points in our four league games so far and not conceded a single point, so even though we’re the away side you might say that, despite what Nathan reckons, we’re favourites. It’s nice of him to wish us luck but we don’t need it; we plan to come out on top tomorrow, shake their hands after the game and go on to account for them in the Grand Final!”
Hunslet’s head coach Alan Kilshaw said: “We are very supportive of our players developing in different environments. Both universities have world class facilities and excellent programmes, which is highly beneficial to Hunslet Rugby League club and which can only improve our players.
“Hopefully the lads won’t hold back on each other and will rip in; and, after the game, they are all Hunslet teammates again!”
|Liverpool John Moores||4||1||0||3||48||106||-58||3|