In the next Getting To Know, Josh takes an in-depth look at Good Friday hosts 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 winter and spring of change has seen 27 players join the club whilst 16 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.
The progression in the cup came either side of a fiery Harry Jepson Trophy clash against a youthful Leeds Rhinos side, the Parksiders would though win the contest and the trophy.
However, Hunslet were quickly brought back to earth by another of their League One rivals in the shape of the North Wales Crusaders.
The first game of Rugby League to be played on the Wirral in over a century saw a comprehensive and clinical performance from the Crusaders knock their visitors out of the Challenge Cup.
This allowed all attentions to turn to the start of the Betfred League 1 season, but Hunslet so far have had to do it the hard way as injuries take their toll on the squad.
Trailing 12-4 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, recovering from 4-22 to secure a share of the spoils in a game that again would sideline key figures such as Duane Straugheir and Dave Gibbons.
And despite a fast start last time out at Rochdale, a combination of further injuries and ill-discipline would result in a spectacular collapse that saw the Hornets march their way to victory with Hunslet being reduced to 12 men on three separate occasions following two sin-bins and a red card.
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.
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 27 new faces arriving whilst he has shown 16 of the squad he inherited through the exit door.
Neither he or the club have made any secret of their ambitions for 2022 and they will be looking to put an early marker down against one of their promotion rivals come Sunday afternoon.
SQUAD: 1 – Jimmy Watson; 2 – Wayne Reittie; 3 – Jack Render; 4 – Jason Mossop; 5 – Kiedan Hartley; 6 – Dave Gibbons; 7 – Jack Mallinson; 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; 16 – Matty Stableford; 17 – Rowland Kaye; 18 – Aaron Jones-Bishop; 19 – Charley Bodman; 20 – Rian Rowley; 21 – Dom Horn; 22- Liam Carr; 23 – Jordan Paga; 24 – Dean Zammit; 25 – Fraser Stroud; 26- Jacob Beer; 27 – Sam Moorhouse; 28 – Joe Sanderson; 29 – Kieran Moran; TBC – Connor Moore; TBC – Frazer Morris; TBC – Cole Oakley; TBC – Daniel Okoro; TBC – Tre Webster
RETAINED FROM 2021: Harvey Hallas; Kiedan Hartley; Aaron Jones-Bishop; Duane Straugheir; Jimmy Watson; Harvey Whiteley; Dean Zammit
TRANSFERS IN: Josh Jordan-Roberts (Rochdale Hornets); Dave Gibbons (Warrington Wolves); Jack Mallinson (Leeds Rhinos); Rian Rowley (Leeds Rhinos); Jack Render (Fryston Warriors); Wayne Reittie (Batley Bulldogs); Frazer Morris (Dewsbury Rams); Dom Horn (Batley Bulldogs); Jacob Beer (Huddersfield Giants); Ethan O’Hanlon (Bradford Bulls); Jordan Syme (Rochdale Hornets); Cameron Berry (Bradford Bulls); Joe Summers (Featherstone Rovers); Jason Mossop (Whitehaven); Matty Stableford (Oulton Raiders); Jordan Paga (Midlands Hurricanes); Tre Webster (Huddersfield Giants); Liam Carr (Hull Kingston Rovers); Rowland Kaye (West Wales Raiders); Charley Bodman (West Wales Raiders); Sam Moorhouse (Dewsbury Rams); Fraser Stroud (West Wales Raiders); Joe Sanderson (Batley Bulldogs); Kieran Moran (Keighley Cougars)
LOANS IN: Connor Moore (Hull Kingston Rovers); Cole Oakley (Halifax Panthers); Daniel Okoro (Hull Kingston Rovers)
TRANSFERS OUT: Jy-Mel Coleman (London Broncos); 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); Simon Brown (Released); Nathan Conroy (Released); Brad Hey (Released); Joe McClean (Released); Lewis Wray (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)
30TH January 2022: Hunslet RL 22-6 Keighley Cougars
25TH July 2021: Hunslet 20-20 Keighley Cougars
30TH May 2021: Keighley Cougars 40-0 Hunslet RL
10TH August 2019: Keighley Cougars 10-32 Hunslet RL
7TH June 2019: Hunslet RL 34-0 Keighley Cougars
By Joshua Chapman