7th July 2017, 14:50 | league1
Newcastle come in to the game against Coventry Bears this weekend on the back of five consecutive League 1 victories and currently occupy fifth place in the Kingstone Press League 1 table.
In Round 13, Thunder travelled to face Doncaster RLFC and came away with a 10-20 win. Coach Jason Payne said, “Last week was probably the biggest game of the season so far for us. We were equal on points in the table but we were just ahead on points difference, so we knew we had to get a result.
“We were absolutely over the moon with the victory. We still didn’t play how we wanted to play, we’re still quite a way off with the ball but from a defensive point of view, we put in a really good performance.
“I was proud of the team for that and overall I was happy because the two points were the main thing on Sunday.
“The players have really bought in to what we are doing, they have smiles on their faces and are working hard for each other and that naturally will give you a lift in performance, we didn’t think it would be so dramatic but we’re happy with where we are.”
Looking ahead to Coventry, Payne continued, “They’re are a good team, they’re probably guilty of being a little bit inconsistent but we’ll be preparing to face the best possible Coventry side.
“They ran Workington really close a couple of weeks ago and if they’re on it on the day we know they can cause us problems.
“They know we only need a point to secure a position in the top eight so they’ll be looking to spoil the party for us.
“We’re expecting a tough game against Coventry, they’ve got a physical middle and some smart players, we just need to focus and get the job done this weekend.
“Every single point we get, not even a league point but points difference is absolutely massive. It’s such a compact league and tight season that anything can happen, so we’re concentrating on making that top eight and if we can secure that we can start worrying about high up the table we finish.”
Last weekend, Coventry Bears fell to a 56-24 defeat away at Hunslet RLFC. Coach Tom Tsang said, “To an extent, the game against Hunslet summed up our season so far. For a lot of games we’ve been in competitive touch with the opposition for large parts, our downfall has been ill-discipline and giving away cheap penalties.
“It’s naivety with our team, they’re young and Hunslet managed to pull away and get the win because of that.”
Tsang is expecting a tough contest when Coventry travel to face Newcastle this weekend, he said, “Newcastle are in fine form and it’s a long trip for us so that may take its toll. Since Jason has taken over there he’s installed a bit of passion and pride in to what the team are doing.
“He’s a very good coach and I know the team are looking to perform for him week-in, week-out. They’ll have their eye on the top eight and want to go in to that section of the season with a bit of form and style, so they’ll be looking for a good performance.
“We never really look too much in to what the opposition are doing though, we just need to focus on ourselves and see little improvements every week.
“It’s a longer process for us that just week to week fixing things up before you start to see consistent improvement, we just want to go in to the game confident that we can be competitive in large patches.”
Across the rest of Kingstone Press League 1, Hunslet RLFC will be hoping to build on their first win under new coach Gary Thornton when they travel to London Skolars on Saturday (3.00pm) before Barrow Raiders take on Oxford RLFC (6.30pm), in a replay of the League 1 Cup semi-final.
Toronto Wolfpack welcome University of Gloucestershire All Golds to Canada on Saturday evening (7.00pm) as they keep attempt to keep hold of the League 1 top spot.
On Sunday, second-placed Whitehaven travel to North Wales Crusaders as they search for a twelfth consecutive win in League 1 (2.30pm).
Keighley Cougars travel to Cumbria to face Workington Town, while York City Knights welcome Hemel Stags and South Wales Ironmen come head to head with Doncaster RLFC.
All fixtures unless stated kick-off at 3.00pm on Sunday, July 9.