HE has won a Grand Final and Challenge Cup with Wigan Warriors but tomorrow’s Qualifiers game against Huddersfield Giants will be just as important for Hull KR centre Iain Thornley.
The East Yorkshire club will no doubt look to his experience as they seek the win that will secure their Super League safety – and allow them to avoid the peril of the Million Pound Game.
When the 25 year-old joined Rovers last autumn, he would have hoped not to have been dragged into such a relegation battle.
“It’s a little bit different to what I’m used to but the mentality going into it is just the same,” said Thornley, who won the double with Wigan in 2013.
“They are all really tough games to be in mentally and physically.
“I was playing for trophies in the past but now it’s Super League status and it’s just as important; the game’s just as big and means just as much. It’s like a cup final. It’s a game we need to win, the biggest game of the season or our careers even as we’re playing for our jobs, bills that pay the mortgage, food on the table…
“If we don’t win we’re in the Million Game and if we lose that the club’s going down and it’s not going to be the same.”
Despite Hull KR’s woes this term, former Yorkshire Carnegie rugby union player Thornley has been a consistent force, scoring 11 tries in 28 appearances. His experience could be key as they look for those crucial points.
“It will help towards nerves but there’s real experience on our edge,” insisted Thornley.
“We’ve Terry Campese who has played loads of NRL games and in State of Origin while Josh Mantellato is a really experienced winger. Then, whether it’s Maurice Blair or Chris Clarkson (at second-row), both have played in big games for big clubs so there’s no one I’d expect the pressure to get to. We’ve all got to do our individual jobs to help out.”
Thornley, who helped Salford Red Devils survive the Qualifiers last season while on a six-week loan spell, will be up against in-form centre Leroy Cudjoe.
“He’s been in the England set-up a few years now and is a real good ball-carrier on that edge along with his winger Jermaine McGillvary,” he said.
“That side’s a real tough edge to defend and attack against. We’ll have to be on our best form.”