Gill calls for focus ahead of West Wales

Kieran Gill is targeting an extension of Thunder’s winning run to seven matches this afternoon, as the Betfred League 1 run-in takes the trip to bottom side West Wales Raiders on Saturday afternoon.

Thunder will be hoping for a straight forward afternoon at Stebonheath Park as they aim to maintain their position just behind league leaders Whitehaven and poised to strike, should the Cumbrians slip up before mid-September.

But with the Welsh outfit springing a surprise in their last match by beating Coventry Bears to bring to an end a 43 match losing streak, Gill insists Thunder must be focused to make those aims a reality.

“Hopefully we will keep our form, but you have to give credit to West Wales on that performance against Coventry. Not a lot of people would think that they would come away with a win like that, but it just shows how determined they are, week in, week out.

“They’re a team that we can’t take lightly, especially after getting that win and what happened to us at the start of the season.

“They put a lot of points on Coventry so they will be on a high and will be carrying a lot of positives that we’ll need to look into this week, to make sure that we can shut down plays and target some of their players and making sure that it all works together.

“That result shows anyone can beat anyone in this league and shows what they are starting to become.”

Joining Thunder on a season-long loan from Castleford Tigers, 2019 has seen Gill at the forefront of the team’s impressive year to date and acting as an on-field leader around some talented, but youthful players.

Only 23 himself it is a position that the highly-rated centre credits with maturing him as a person, getting him back to playing consistently and enjoying his rugby again.

“I’ve matured a lot over the year, coming to realise we have quite a lot of young players coming through and especially on our left edge, I am actually the oldest and I have been enjoying having that leadership responsibility on and off the field a lot.

“I’m enjoying my time at Thunder and this season has helped me improve massively, especially in the last couple of months with Denis and Simon coming in.

“They have an understanding of how I play and I like how they coach and it’s important having that bond together as players and coaching staff and as it shows on the field that it is paying off, where we are six out of six.

“It’s been nice to get some consistency under my belt, after having a few years where there were a few injuries, it’s nice to be in a team that is very welcoming and I am enjoying my rugby.”

With the season potentially extending into the play-offs as Thunder strive for promotion, there are potentially more games for Gill to look forward to and he maintains if that is what it takes to get the club promoted, the team won’t be fazed by that.

“We want to be winning all five of our games left and proving that we want that automatic promotion. To do that, we need Whitehaven to drop a game, but they are playing extremely well and credit to them, they have taken their chances, as are we.

“If going up is going to be thought the play-offs then so be it, we just want to make sure we are in the Championship for next year.”

Live updates from Stebonheath Park will be provided by the club’s official twitter feed. Follow @ThunderRugby to be kept up to date.