Hunslet’s head coach Alan Kilshaw has paid tribute to his squad – and, in particular, to those players who are willing to operate out of position when necessary – following his side’s impressive Betfred League 1 victory over London Skolars on Sunday.
The Parksiders, who were 20-0 up at the break, were pegged back to 20-10 shortly after the restart but upped the tempo to prevail 38-10 and maintain their bid for a place in the end-of-season promotion play-offs.
Kilshaw said of his fourth game in charge of the south Leeds outfit: “We are looking more cohesive and we should continue to improve in that regard.
“We’ve had four different halfback pairings in place in as many games, but Jy-Mel Coleman, Lewis Young and Dave Gibbons have performed well, and I have to give big raps to Nathan Conroy, who is of course a hooker but who has stood in in the halves for me.
“It’s that kind of attitude and commitment to the cause (and Harvey Hallas did the same against the Skolars, switching to centre when Matty Chrimes, who is 50/50 for Sunday’s game at Rochdale Hornets, got injured) which stands any Rugby League team in good stead.”
He reflected: “Joe McClean went well in the second row – that position, on the left side of the field, has been a bit of a problem for me lately, because of injuries to Brad Hey (who will hopefully be fit for the West Wales fixture early next month) and Joe Summers. McClean has laid a marker down – his loan appearance for West Wales Raiders, when they drew with Doncaster, did him a power of good by the looks of it, he just needed some game-time.“
Scrum-half Dom Brambani, meanwhile, is back from self-isolation, while stand-off Simon Brown isn’t too far away from fully recovering from his rib injury. “Dom’s almost like a new signing for us, and is returning at just the right time,” said Kilshaw, who added: “Every match is more or less `sudden-death’ for us as we seek to force our way into the play-offs. That’s no bad thing as, should we make the `cut’, we’ll be nicely in that groove.
“I’ve reminded our players of how Bradford Bulls, when they won the 2005 Grand Final, did it on the back of twelve successive wins, while others have done similar. There’s no reason why we can’t do the same, and Sunday’s victory augers well for the process.
“We were in control for most of the first half and for the first ten minutes of the second period. Although we still need to focus on our starts, overall I have to be pleased with how we performed in a match which was generally well-controlled by the match officials.”
Kilshaw, meanwhile, is delighted that Kenny Sykes has agreed to resume as chairman after having stepped down last month. Sykes has remained closely involved at the South Leeds Stadium in the intervening period, continuing to undertake a myriad of administrative duties. Kilshaw, although having been at Hunslet for only a month, fully appreciates the work that Sykes and other volunteers do. “I’ve seen at first hand just what Kenny does and it’s tremendous to have him back at the helm”, he ventured. “And it does no harm at all that he is a former Hunslet player, that certainly helps him empathise with the lads. The news that he is back as chairman is certainly a boost for everyone at the South Leeds Stadium.”