Hemel Stags ready to go toe-to-toe with full-strength league leaders

Hemel Stags crest
Hemel Stags crest

Hunslet Hawks coach Barry Eaton could be picking from full strength for Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One showdown with in-form Hemel Stags.

Liam Mackay is ready to return following a dead leg, giving Eaton plenty of options ahead of a difficult fixture.

Eaton said: “The so-called development teams are getting better and getting a lot of good players in their squads.

“The league is getting better. Hemel are on a bit of a run and they’re wanting to make a bit of a statement to the league throughout these three games where they play Oldham, ourselves and York. We’re certainly preparing for a tough one.”

Chris Clough, Dom Maloney and Alex Ingarfield are all ruled out for Hemel, but Ben Young is back in contention after recovering from a broken foot.

Stags coach Troy Perkins said: “Hunslet are the best team we’ve played this year.

“They’re the team to beat and it’s going to be tough, but we can go in with confidence after last week’s effort against Oldham.

“We need to address our defence a bit, but I was pleased with our attack.”

Stags captain BJ Swindells returns to the squad after missing last Sunday’s win over Oldham, as does fit again Ben Young, who has been out for a month with a broken foot.

Guy Aldham has been added to the travelling party together with Frenchman, Maxime Herold, but Perkins must do without Michael Brown, Alex Ingerfield, Dom Maloney and on loan Hunslet Hawks forward, Chris Cough.

The official Stags website caught up with hooker Evan Simons as he prepares for Sunday’s tough engagement against the league leaders.

Hemel, fresh from their enthralling 44-32 home success over third placed, Oldham RLFC last weekend will travel north in confident mood, but Simons is well aware of the task that faces his side.

“Hunslet Hawks are an extremely professional outfit, their coach Barry Eaton has them well drilled and very organised and I am sure they are keen to stay on top of the table,” said Simons.

“Rather like the Oldham game last Sunday, to achieve a decent result we will have to stick together as a team for the full 80 minutes. However, with team spirits high in the Stags camp, we believe we can make further improvements and look forward to the challenge ahead.”

This season’s Kingstone Press Championship 1 is becoming ever more competitive and Simons believes last Sunday’s victory over Oldham RLFC will mean the competition’s other teams are starting to become more wary of the fourth placed Stags.

“We were absolutely delighted with the win and I think we gave Oldham and the other teams around us a bit of a shock on Sunday and I can imagine Oldham will be very disappointed with the result.”

The game against the Hunslet Hawks on Sunday kicks at 3.00pm.