POST MATCH PAYNE – London Skolars

Thunder head coach Jason Payne praised his side’s second-half performance on Sunday afternoon, as the team recovered from a slow start to take a 46-14 win over London Skolars.

Trailing 4-6 after 25mins, Thunder hit back with some electric and cohesive play to take an ultimately comfortable victory as they threw off the demons of some difficult results in recent weeks.

Speaking post-match, Payne said: “It was a good win in the end, it was a slow start and I think that was a bit of a mirror image of how we have been in the last couple of weeks, in terms of being a bit low on confidence and not getting the results we’d like to be getting and that really told in that first half.

“Passes we would normally give we held on to, we were a little bit cautious and in turn we didn’t really create many opportunities, but as soon as we got back to doing what we do in the second, our back five carried the ball hard, our middles were direct and a halves steered us around the field and made good decisions and we looked a different team.”

Scoring 30 of their points in the second half, it was a good response to a half-time team talk where Payne dissected those first-half shortcomings.

He added: “We got into our back five about the way we were retaining the ball, carrying the ball and our physicality and I think our bench middles were really good and give us a real boost by being a little bit more direct, getting a little bit wider and getting away from the ruck a little bit.

“We’d identified some weaknesses with the Skolars around the C defender so we started doing that a little bit more and got a little bit more joy, but overall it was just our energy and our general directness.”

Attentions now turn to Sunday’s trip to Keighley Cougars for the first in a six-match run in that Payne says are all must win if Thunder are to stand any chance of having a shot at promotion come September.

“It’s must-win, we’ve got to win six from six now otherwise it’s season over. I still believe that if we will get that last spot if we do that so that’s our mission, win six straight at all cost, performances are secondary and results are paramount.”