HUNSLET’S head coach Alan Kilshaw, whose players return to training on Wednesday 5 January following the Christmas break, is delighted by how preparations ahead of the 2022 Betfred League 1 campaign have progressed.

Killer’s new-look and largely young squad has been training three times a week since the beginning of November and he said: “We’ve been building strong foundations in the gym, focusing on core and stability work while, on the field, there’s been plenty of Rugby League core skills based work.

“We finished the first phase of pre-season training with a hit out between ourselves, to gauge just where the group was at and how effective the work we had been doing in a game scenario, and under fatigue, had been. I was very pleased with the outcome, in fact the exercise was very beneficial.”

He continued: “We have set some standards and have had some really good discussions around playing philosophy and the club’s culture.

“When the players return we will gradually increase the intensity of our sessions, and the volume of the conditioning. We need to make sure we find the correct balance as we need to prepare the group to play some forthcoming games while not forgetting that our overriding priority is the Betfred League 1 season, which starts at the end of March.”

Hunslet have already confirmed that the traditional and eagerly anticipated Harry Jepson OBE Memorial Trophy match against old rivals Leeds Rhinos will be played on Sunday 6 February, at the South Leeds Stadium. The weekend before that fixture the Parksiders host Keighley Cougars in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup. “We won’t be having any friendlies leading into the cup game so that will be our first hit out, and we are all looking forward to it,” said Kilshaw, who concluded. “We have a couple of players with knocks but 25 out of our 27 are training and fully fit; there is nothing to concern us long term.”