Rochdale Hornets vs Hunslet Hawks Match Preview - Stankevitch: Nothing changes
Reporter: Paul Finnerty
Date online: 07 June 2010
Rochdale Hornets go in to this Sunday’s (13 June) fixture with second-placed Hunslet Hawks at Spotland full of confidence after four consecutive victories in the co-operative Championship 1.
Coach John Stankevitch admits that the Hawks are a huge threat, but insists that it is Hornet’s preparation that matters.
“It’s the toughest game this season, they’re the best team in the division, but we’ll carry on as we are. Nothing changes. We approach each game in the same way. We’ll look at the video of their game against Leigh Centurions, and be in training on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
“No game is bigger than any other, but we need to show up prepared because they can easily put 40 past teams without being 40 points better. We need the right attitude. The teams we’ve recently beat have been mid and lower table.”
In the reverse fixture at the South Leeds Stadium, the West Yorkshire side ran out comfortable 44-8 winners, but Stankevitch insists that a lot has changed since then.
“The game last time out was not a true reflection. We had only had 20 sessions, and had only retained 5 players from last season. It was at a time when the players were getting to know each other. We had no half-backs that day, because Steven Roper and Ryan Powell were out and we had to play a number 13 at number 6.”
This time round Hornet’s are in form, having picked up five wins out of the last six, including a 64-4 rout of Gateshead in their last fixture, so Stankevitch has reason to be confident.
“We have a fully fit squad this weekend and no injuries. We’ll have Damien Reed available at centre, Paul Crook in at half back and we’ve got Wayne English back, who has been a standout this season. Andy Saywell will also bring massive experience from his Leigh days.
“We always change our game plan to break down the opposition and we’ll look where Hunslet have weaknesses. I’m a great believer that if you put enough pressure on the dam, it will eventually break. We need to keep hold of the ball and play our sets well.”
Turning over the Hawks at Spotland would set up Hornets nicely for the rest of the campaign and should they win they can begin to look ahead instead of over their shoulders.
“If we win it will be great for confidence, and we can solidify fourth place and put distance between ourselves and the other teams.
“At the same time, it will give us a great push to catch the top three, who still have to play each other, and victory would help us to catch them. There’s only a couple of points in it.”
Finishing high up the table would be a superb achievement for Hornets after recent financial woes, but securing a top-seven place remains the absolute priority for Stankevitch.
“If you’re in the playoffs you’ve got a chance. Though it would be lovely to be at home and finish as high as possible.”
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