Second half fightback pleases Mantelli

Mick Mantelli expressed his relief after his side fought back from a 0-16 deficit to progress into round four of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup with an 18-16 win over Workington Town.

Thunder shipped three quick-fire tries in the opening quarter of the match and were staring at a second successive third round exit before rallying, with the second half performance pleasing the head coach.

Speaking to ThunderRugby.com Mantelli said: “Obviously relieved to get the win, we’re putting a bit of pressure on the Challenge Cup, we’ve targeted it as a comp that we want to do well in,

“I was impressed by our second half, a lot of teams can come back out and still deliver and accept a loss because they have had a bad first half, but we came out and turned it around. We limited Workington to no points and we scored 12 and that’s a pleasing aspect.

“I think we probably could have scored a few more but for missing some executions.

Addressing those scores he felt were left on the pitch, Mantelli says small gains and more cohesion will deliver them into Thunder’s tally and acknowledges that the five changes he made to the team that advanced to the League 1 Cup quarter-finals also played a part.

“We need a little bit of individual improvement and if we do that as a group then the games are going to come for us.

“Maybe me changing the team, I made five changes from last week at Hunslet, might have helped with that start, but I’ve told the boys in the first five weeks that they are still vying for their spots and that they are going to get the opportunity to vie for them. Everyone is going to get a decent crack and it is what they do with that crack.

“A few of the boys let me down today, but we’ll go back and look at the tape it tells a true story and we’ll go from there.”

Revealing what allowed Thunder to bounce back and extend their winning run in competitive games to 12 consecutive wins, Mantelli credits a combination of tough talk and the experience that exists within this group of players.

“We took Workington lightly and went in there thinking we would do it pretty easily. I didn’t hold punches and it probably wasn’t one of my better ones but there was a lot of individual mistakes of stupid stuff that we shouldn’t be doing at a semi-professional level.

“I think the lads realised that and now as an experienced team, maybe last year we mightn’t have come back from that but this year, we have the experience to put the half behind us and look at the new half, which is what we did and it worked out well for us.

“I’m looking forward to playing Workington over there this weekend which will be much more difficult.”