IT HAS been a long time coming and Hunslet are itching to get back into Betfred League One action, coach Gary Thornton says.
The Parksiders were without a game last weekend when most of their league rivals kicked off.
The travel to Doncaster for their opening match tomorrow (3pm) and Thornton admitted it is a relief to have points to play for at last.
“It seems to have been a long, disrupted pre-season,” he reflected.
“We are really looking forward to getting some competitive rugby under our belts.
“We’ve made the best of pre-season, but playing in January and then having five weeks before we start was not ideal.
“But it is what it is and we’re looking forward to getting going.”
Thornton is happy with the way pre-season went. He added: “The boys have worked really hard.
“Pre-season is not a nice time for anyone, players or coaches, but we’ve made the most of it.
“We’ve improved week by week which was one of the biggest objectives in the pre-season games.
“Last week, against Bradford, for 70 minutes we were very good. Obviously we will know more after Sunday, but hopefully we’ve done enough to go and put up a decent performance.”
Doncaster won 32-26 at highly-fancied Newcastle Thunder in round one a week ago.
“That was a great win for them,” Thornton noted. “I watched the game and they showed some great team spirit to come back from 22-4 down.
“They have a partnership with Hull and they are at home so we are under no illusions. It is certainly going to be tough, they will be one of the top teams this year.”
Thornton and several of his players will be returning to their former club, which he said is “a bit of added spice”.
With a fully-fit squad, the coach knows several players will be disappointed when his side is named, but he stressed: “Leagues and promotions are won with squads, not teams. Anyone not playing this week has to stay positive because they will be required at some stage.”