Tough wins are the best and that was the case with Hunslet’s 39-32 victory over Whitehaven in Betfred League One.
It was the Parksiders’ third successive win and came despite three injuries and after they had seen a 22-8 lead turned into a 10-point deficit.
“We didn’t make it easy for ourselves, but the players showed terrific team spirit, courage, togetherness and toughness,” reflected coach Gary Thornton.
He said: “We were 22-8 in front just before half-time and a dubious call went against us from the kick-off after our fourth try, Mickey Haley had the ball stolen, but it was given as a knock-on and they scored from the scrum.
“So instead of being 22-8 at half-time it was 22-14 and within 20 minutes we were 32-22 down.
“We had a terrible patch when we couldn’t get the ball; they had six back-to-back sets for various reasons, penalties, conceded tries and errors.
“But we came back really well and I was proud of the way we finished the game, especially because with 15 minutes to go we had no fit subs left; we were down to 13 fit players.”
It was the latest example of Hunslet staging a powerful finish and Thornton added: “We scored 17 unanswered points in 17 minutes and that’s credit to my coaching and strength and conditioning staff.
“They have got the players really fit and we are finishing games strongly and winning at the death.
“We need to look at the middle period, but I can’t take too much away from the players – I was delighted with the result and it was a good game and a good advert for League One.”
Of the injuries, Thornton confirmed: “Mickey Haley damaged his ribs, Jack Lee injured his back, Duane Straugheir did his hamstring and Brad Foster was having cramp in his hamstring and could not go back on.
“Duane was the worst, he could be out for four to six weeks, which is a massive loss.”
Hunslet are eighth in League 1, but only two points behind third-placed Oldham. They travel to London Skolars on Saturday and Thornton described that as a “banana skin”.