New head coach Alan Kilshaw has drawn plenty of positives from Sunday’s Betfred League 1 fixture with Keighley, despite the fact that the visitors snatched a 20-20 draw from ten points down with a couple of late tries.
The Parksiders had themselves bounced back from 10-0 adrift in the opening stages, after having missed out on the chance to establish an early lead when winger Alex Brown lost possession while diving in at the corner. Kilshaw, reflecting on his first match in the South Leeds Stadium dugout, said: “In the blink of an eye we were 10-0 down instead of maybe 6-0 up, but after having done very well to bounce back and get into a winning position we played them back into the game.
“That aside, though, there was lots to like overall about our performance, especially – for much of the game – our defence, notably a spell in which we survived three goal-line drop-outs in a period in which we put ourselves under some pressure with our indiscipline.”
Hunslet’s boss, who was particularly impressed by prop Harry Kidd, substitute second row Lewis Wray and debutant fullback Reece Chapman-Smith, added: “RCS was very unfortunate to have a try ruled out for offside. We’ve looked at the footage and he looked on-side and it cost us as, with the easy conversion, it would have put us 22-10 up.
“For all that, though – and a ruled-out conversion attempt of Vila Halafihi’s try which on another day might have been given – we still managed to establish a 20-10 lead with a couple of penalties by Jy-Mel Coleman, and we should have been able to see the match out.
“But we got a bit sloppy late on. We missed the game-management of Dom Brambani and captain Duane Straugheir, who were both out through having to self-isolate, and Simon Brown, who was absent through injury. It’s one that got away – Keighley got back into the contest with a bit of a freak try by Charlie Graham, when the ball could have ricocheted anywhere from his kick, and our defence was found wanting for their equaliser.
“Allowing teams back into games in the closing stages has been a recurring theme all season and it’s obviously something I have to address.”