HUNSLET are delighted – but not at all surprised – by the overwhelmingly positive response of their players to the club’s request that, in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, they accept furlough leave arrangements and payments.

Head coach Gary Thornton emailed his squad late last week setting out the situation faced by the Betfred League 1 leaders – and by all other clubs – and suggested that players accept furlough terms in line with existing contracts, with other payments based on win bonuses so far this season being shared equally.

All contracted players responded quickly with their acceptance and Thornton, who has been at the helm at the South Leeds Stadium since 2018, said: “It’s very pleasing. One of the factors behind me signing – and retaining – players was character, and that’s certainly been very evident in the lads’ collective attitude.

“That positive approach is one of the reasons for us currently being top of the table and will hopefully put us in a strong position to secure promotion as and when the 2020 campaign resumes.”

He continued: “We’re obviously unable to train as a group at the moment but I’ve no reason to doubt that all the players are putting the required work in, albeit in the relative comfort of their own homes.

“They’re all keen to get back into action and I know that they are very aware of the work being done by their board on the club’s – and their – behalf. I’ve been very impressed by the pro-active approach to the impact of the coronavirus crisis by our directors, with no avenue unexplored as Hunslet seek solutions to the many challenges that face all professional sports clubs.

“These are difficult times but in all the circumstances I really do feel that we are in a strong position. We have a very professional board, made up of volunteers, that brings many complementary skills and talents to the table, and we have extremely committed players of real quality. Our backroom staff, including my assistant coaches Gary Barnett and Mark Cass, also have a great deal to offer and, of course, our supporters are as enthusiastic and vociferous as any in the competition.     “All we need now is for the coronavirus crisis to pass, and to get back into action!”