In the next Getting To Know, Josh takes an in-depth look at our opposition on Sunday, Hunslet RL.
2022 SEASON SO FAR
On the back of a mass rebuilding programme during the off-season under Alan Kilshaw ahead of his first full season in charge at the South Leeds Stadium, 2022 has seen ups and downs for Hunslet.
A season of change has seen over 30 players join the club whilst nearly as many have moved onto pastures new.
They began the season in January with comprehensive home victories over the Cougars and community club Siddal in the Second and Third Round of this season’s Betfred Challenge Cup.
However, Hunslet were quickly brought back to earth by another of their League One rivals in the shape of the North Wales Crusaders.
This allowed all attentions to turn to the start of the Betfred League 1 season, but Hunslet so far have done it hard way as injuries and suspensions take their toll on the squad.
Trailing away at London Skolars shortly after the interval, a red card for the Skolars allowed Hunslet to turn the screw and make the most of their man advantage and return north with two points.
They again came from behind the following week against Oldham at the South Leeds Stadium, but a combination of further injuries and ill-discipline would result in a spectacular collapse away at the Rochdale Hornets.
A last-minute loss to Keighley at Easter left a sour taste in the mouth, but they got themselves back on the right track with victories over both the Midlands Hurricanes and Cornwall.
Battling home loss to Swinton showed the tide was turning for Alan Kilshaw’s side and they backed it up with an easy victory against the West Wales Raiders.
Despite a defeat to Doncaster that left their coach fuming, they responded in style with a superb team performance by inflicting only a second loss of the season on the Crusaders.
Another loss to Rochdale would come the game after but a run of three straight victories against the division’s bottom three clubs would see the Parksiders firmly cement themselves within the play-off positions.
The last two outings though have seen two hard to take losses after a second half collapse away at the Crusaders was followed by a 24-0 home loss to the Midlands Hurricanes.
Now into his first full season as Head Coach at Hunslet, Alan Kilshaw will be looking to replicate the success of his time in charge across the Pennines at the Rochdale Hornets.
Replacing Gary Thornton midway through the 2021 season, Kilshaw immediately implemented his own style on the Parksiders as he took an underachieving side from third bottom of the table to a play-off berth inside just two months.
Beginning his reign with July’s pulsating 20-20 draw against the Cougars at the South Leeds Stadium, they would go on to lose only one of the seven matches that followed that afternoon.
This incredible run of form saw Hunslet pick up convincing away wins against Doncaster and Workington, whilst also staging an incredible comeback to draw in a crunch fixture away at ‘Killer’ former club, Rochdale.
The 2022 season has been at times a tough season for the Parksiders as they have had to battle injuries and suspensions throughout the year.
Kilshaw however has maintained a steady run of form that has seen the club cement themselves within the top six in order to have a crack at promotion once the end of season play-offs roll around next month.
However, he will not be on the touchline at Cougar Park this afternoon as he serves the final match of a touchline ban handed out late last month.
Prior to taking the top job in south Leeds, Alan had taken some time away from the sport following his successful spell as coach of the Hornets.
His first season in charge at Rochdale saw him lead them to a sensational season that saw them stun full-time outfit Toulouse Olympique in France to be promoted ahead of the now Super League side as League One champions.
Following promotion, the Hornets were hotly tipped for relegation but again Kilshaw would defy the odds to keep them in the second tier before departing Spotland at the conclusion of the 2018 campaign.
This off-season has seen Alan continue to put his own mark on his new side with a mass overhaul of his squad, with over 30 new faces coming through the door since the beginning of the season with near as many players departing the South Leeds Stadium.
Looking for a strong finish to the season heading into the play-offs, ‘Killer’ will be looking for an immediate reaction this afternoon after the shock defeat to the Midlands Hurricanes earlier this season.
2022 SQUAD NUMBERS: 1 – Jimmy Watson; 2 – Wayne Reittie; 3 – Jack Render; 4 – Jason Mossop; 5 – Kiedan Hartley; 6 – Dave Gibbons; 7 – Mackenzie Turner; 8 – Harvey Hallas; 9 – Harvey Whiteley; 10 – Duane Straugheir; 11 – Josh Jordan-Roberts; 12 – Joe Summers; 13 – Jordan Syme; 14 – Cameron Berry; 15 – Ethan O’Hanlon; 17 – Cole Oakley; 18 – Josh Milthorpe; 21 – Pat Walker; 22- Liam Carr; 23 – Jordan Paga; 24 – Ross Peltier; 25 – Fraser Stroud; 26 – Matty Beharrell; 28 – Joe Sanderson; 29 – Kieran Moran; 31 – Jacob Doyle; 32 – Oli Burton; 33 – Joe Hird; 34 – Sion Jones; 35 – Macauley Hallett
TRANSFERS IN: Josh Jordan-Roberts (Rochdale Hornets); Dave Gibbons (Warrington Wolves); Jack Render (Fryston Warriors); Wayne Reittie (Batley Bulldogs); Ethan O’Hanlon (Bradford Bulls); Jordan Syme (Rochdale Hornets); Cameron Berry (Bradford Bulls); Joe Summers (Featherstone Rovers); Jason Mossop (Whitehaven); Jordan Paga (Midlands Hurricanes); Liam Carr (Hull Kingston Rovers); Fraser Stroud (West Wales Raiders); Joe Sanderson (Batley Bulldogs); Kieran Moran (Keighley Cougars); Macauley Hallett (Three Tuns); Sion Jones (Pontypridd RU); Pat Walker (Unattached)
LOANS IN: Cole Oakley (Halifax Panthers); Jacob Doyle (Featherstone Rovers); Oli Burton (Batley Bulldogs); Joe Hird (Leeds Rhinos); Mackenzie Turner (Leeds Rhinos); Matty Beharrell (Dewsbury Rams); Ross Peltier (Dewsbury Rams); Josh Milthorpe (Batley Bulldogs)
TRANSFERS OUT: Harry Kidd (Dewsbury Rams); Mikey Wood (Sheffield Eagles); Matty Chrimes (Sheffield Eagles); Vila Halafihi (Sheffield Eagles); Jordan Andrade (Oldham RLFC); Will Cooke (Oldham RLFC); Liam Copland (Oldham RLFC); AJ Boardman (Midlands Hurricanes); Aaron Jones-Bishop (Cornwall RLFC); Charley Bodman (Cornwall RLFC); Jacob Beer (Cornwall RLFC); Sam Moorhouse (Stanningley); Dom Horn (Kirkburton Cougars); Jack Mallinson (Albury Thunder); Frazer Morris (Work Commitments); Matty Stableford (Work Commitments); Simon Brown (Released); Brad Hey (Released); Rowland Kaye (Released); Joe McClean (Released); Rian Rowley (Released); Tre Webster (Released); Richard Wilkinson (Released); Lewis Wray (Released); Dean Zammit (Released); Dom Brambani (Retired); Alex Rowe (Retired)
ONE TO WATCH
Originally joining the club on loan last season, the decision to make the acquisition of Wayne Reittie a permanent one is a deal is proving beneficial to Hunslet.
The Jamaica international is a strong carrier of the ball from his wing in yardage and offers tenacious defence down the Hunslet right edge.
And he has proven his worth since joining the club for a second spell midway through the last campaign as Reittie continues to be a standout performer for Hunslet since the appointment of Alan Kilshaw as Head Coach.
A product of the Leeds Rhinos academy after playing his junior rugby at Hunslet Club Parkside, Wayne burst onto the scene with Doncaster in 2008 as he played a key part in the squad that achieved promotion that year under Ellery Hanley.
However, financial troubles at the Dons meant he would depart the club midway through 2009 for a brief spell with his now current club before moving onto the York City Knights for the 2010 season.
He would add another promotion to his resume as he scored 5 tries that year as York earned promotion to the Championship, but Reittie’s performances caught the eye, and he would depart to sign with the Batley Bulldogs.
Another breakout year, this time in the games second tier, saw Wayne continue to earn rave reviews and he would move once again, this time to the Halifax Panthers.
After two seasons at The Shay, in which time he scored 24 tries in 43 appearances and won the Northern Rail Cup, he would return to Mount Pleasant for a second spell with Batley.
It would be there where he established himself as a folk hero with the Bulldogs, contributing to a successful period in the club’s summer era history when under John Kear they defied the odds to qualify for the top four and have a chance to earn promotion to Super League.
It wasn’t meant to be for the Bulldogs, but the winger continued to feature regularly under Matt Diskin before chances became limited following the appointment of Craig Lingard.
With Batley again amongst the division’s top contenders, gametime was few and far between and with eyes on a World Cup place with Jamaica, the winger made the decision to join Hunslet once again.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS (LAST FIVE MEETINGS ONLY)
15TH April 2022: Hunslet RL 16-20 Keighley Cougars
30TH January 2022: Hunslet RL 22-6 Keighley Cougars
25TH July 2021: Hunslet RL 20-20 Keighley Cougars
30TH May 2021: Keighley Cougars 40-0 Hunslet RL
10TH August 2019: Keighley Cougars 10-32 Hunslet RL
By Joshua Chapman