Kingstone Press League 1 Preview: Newcastle Thunder v Oxford

Newcastle Thunder coach Stanley Gene wasn’t overly impressed by his side’s one point win at Rochdale Hornets.

“We played dumb,” he said. “We talked about completing sets and cutting down on the errors and it didn’t work for us but this group of players will fight all the way to the end.

“For us to go to Rochdale and get two points it’s better than looking back on how many sets we completed – I’ll take the win and the two points.

On Sunday’s home game against Oxford he said: “We won’t take them lightly, they’ve got two Bradford players in and a couple back from London who are really dangerous with the ball.

“We’re a team who want to get that winning mentality. I’m looking at making a couple of changes but there won’t be too many.”

Reflecting on Oxford’s win over Hemel Stags coach Tim Rumford said: “I was happy with the win but not the performance. It was a real scrappy game. Credit to the opposition they came out with a game plan, which predominantly was to slow the game down and make it a bit of a war of attrition.

“Our guys were probably guilty of getting suckered into that a little bit more than we would have wanted. But we found a way to win, so we can take a lot out of that.

“We’ll need to be better at Newcastle on Sunday. We know all about their side and the threats they pose – the big Papua New Guinea guys, the strong running back rowers on the edges and obviously the pace they’ve got out wide.

“It’s a big task for our guys but we’re training hard this week and putting a few things right from the weekend. We’ll go there with our eyes wide open and we’ll have a dig, look to be competitive and see what comes out of it.”

Oxford are likely to be without half-backs Danny Allan and Andy Speake for up to a month. Allan has a knee injury and Speake suffered shoulder ligament damage.

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