Thunder have not always had the easiest of times in recent seasons, so their fourth place finish in this campaign can be seen as a real step forward for the club.
“I am immensely proud of the team, my first year as coach could not have gone any better,” said Gene.
“This side has struggled over the last few years, finishing at the bottom of the table, but all the heartache has finally paid off.
“The players have all improved massively this season and I am so pleased for the club that finally things are going well.
“However Hemel are a really good and competent side and we will not be taking anything for granted going into the play-offs.”
Thunder won 11 of their league fixtures this season; solid form which Gene believes should help them play better knock-out rugby.
“In play-off rugby it is anybody’s game, it doesn’t matter where you finished in the table,,” he said.
“I know from my playing days that you can put too much pressure on yourself and so I have told the players to treat this like any other game.
“We have real belief in ourselves at the moment: at the start of the season our aim was to make the play-offs but I don’t think anybody believed that we would. Now I can see that all the players have a spring in their step.
“We don’t want to look too far ahead into next season. There are bigger and better things to come from the club and to have a team from this area in Super League would be fantastic but we are not talking about that just yet.”