Newcastle wary of wounded Crusaders

Newcastle Thunder coach Mick Mantelli is wary of a backlash from the financially struggling North Wales Crusaders this weekend.

The Thunder host the Crusaders on Sunday afternoon.

“I’ve heard that North Wales Crusaders were competitive in the first half against Barrow but in the second half they only had 15 players,” Mantelli said.

“They’re in a bit of strife financially but we can only deal with what they put on the field. They’ll be wanting to come over and put in a good performance against us.”

Newcastle Thunder won 30-22 at Oxford last week.

“We’ll always take the two points but the style of the win wasn’t as impressive as I wanted,” Mantelli said.

“We need to check where we are and what we need to be doing going forward. We’re a new squad and we just need to make sure we don’t carried away with what’s expected so early.”

North Wales lost 37-18 at home to Barrow Raiders last weekend. 

“We only managed to turn out 15 players last week but all credit to the boys,” Coach Anthony Murray said.

“Barrow could have easily run away with it by a bigger margin. We went 28 points behind and found some form and got ourselves back into the game and were within 12 points.

“So as much as I’m disappointed we lost, I’m really pleased with the effort that the players put in. You’ve got to give credit to the opposition for being well-drilled. Our boys had a dig and that’s all you can ask for.

“It’s going to be a tough game at Newcastle. They’ve got a new coach and have recruited a couple of overseas players. We’ve managed to get a few dual-reg in for this week to make our numbers up until we get ourselves on our feet and start getting more of a squad back together.

“We’re looking to build on our second half performance against Barrow. We’re going to go there and compete and if we compete then we stand a chance of getting something out of the game.”

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