COACH TALK – FINNIGAN REFLECTS FIRST GAME

Simon Finnigan reflects on Newcastle Thunder’s performance against Oldham RLFC where they came out on top after a dominant second half performance.

In a win that amplified the enjoyment of Thunder’s 20th anniversary celebrations where Thunder came from behind in emphatic fashion lead by academy graduate Alex Clegg who scored his first hattrick in the Thunder colours. Finnigan reflected on his first game in charge and said:

“Oldham took it to us in the first 30 minutes and I didn’t think we particularly did ourselves any favours. I don’t think we started the game with any intent and it was exactly like the old cliché – ‘they ran harder and tackled harder than us.’ But I can’t give the boys enough credit for the way they turned it round and do what they did to get themselves back and win the game. It takes a huge amount of character and that’s not something I’ve gave them this week, that’s what they have got themselves so full credit to them.”

Heading into the second half, Thunder were firing with all cylinders as they scored 18 unanswered points to push themselves into the lead and seal the two points.

On Thunder’s attitude in the second half Finnigan says:

“I think we will always score points so I don’t think we are never not going to be in a game but if you haven’t got any intent and you don’t want to do the hard stuff then you’re going to find any game difficult. They (the players) turned that around and they were a completely different team in that second half and they have got to take all the credit for all of that, I thought they were outstanding in that second half, from one to seventeen. Our bench were very good when they came on and gave us a bit more intent than we started the game with but then everyone started to have it so I’m very happy but there is still lots to work on.”

A number of players stood out today with Alex Clegg claiming his trio of tries and Evan Simons earning man of the match but Finnigan says:

“I don’t want to single out loads of players because I thought our bench were good, Alex Clegg also took his tries really well and they took some finishing, Evan was also good in the middle but we had a good performance across the park. I don’t want to single too many out because to turn it around like that you need one to seventeen.

I’ve not seen all the games, but I can see there is no runaway leader in this competition. We are very similar in quality wise so no one will run away with the league. There will be results that go against you but let’s just try and win enough games. We are trying to do that, we got one today against a team that will be around us at the end of the season but it’s a long way to go.”

Thunder’s next game will see them travel to Whitehaven on the 28th April in what will be seen as an exciting clash.

Thunder’s next home game will be in the newly formed 1895 Cup which gives Championship and League One clubs another chance to play at Wembley. Thunder face Keighley Cougars round one of the competitions which is to be played at Kingston Park on Saturday the 4th May, (2:30 ko).