Date: Saturday 13th June
Venue: Kingston Park
Newcastle Thunder will be hoping to keep up the pressure on the side’s above them in the Kingstone Press League 1 table when they welcome Gloucestershire All Golds to Kingston Park on Saturday.
Last week’s 44-32 loss to Swinton Lions was a setback for Stanley Gene’s men as they missed out on the chance to leapfrog Oldham and Rochdale to go second, and it was a defeat that disappointed their coach.
“What I was so frustrated about was that the team knew where they were going to come from but we just didn’t defend it,” he said. “They found some grit to work their way back to a score line of 32-34 but the two tries at the end killed us. When you play a quality team like Swinton you don’t give them a 20-point start.”
Gene is also aware of the threat of his side’s next opponents, despite the fact that they will be expected to win the game.
“On paper you could say we should win against Gloucester but it’s harder for a coach to prepare for a game against teams below you. Mentally we’ve got to focus really well.
“Gloucester have been putting on some good shows and they’ve got some very good players and coaching staff down there so we’re not going to take them lightly but we definitely want to bounce back. The league’s getting very close and the more games you lose the harder it gets.”
All Golds currently sit in 10th spot with just three wins from their nine games so far and coach Lee Greenwood was left to pick out the positives in a last minute loss at home to Hemel Stags last week.
“We put ourselves in a winning position against Hemel last week and looked in control but we just sort of panicked and were trying to score on every set we had”, he commented. “Sure enough Hemel got a couple of chances and took one of them. It was disappointing but we live to fight another day.”
It doesn’t get any easier with a long trip to Newcastle to play one of the top teams in the division, however Greenwood is confident his men will give it their all come Saturday.
“Newcastle are doing well, they’ve recruited well, brought some good Papua New Guinea players in but also used the link with Hull KR well to bring some good young lads in. We know it’s going to be difficult but we’re certainly not shying away from it and the players will give it their best shot.”
Prediction: Newcastle Thunder to win by 18 points.