Jason Payne: Gateshead Thunder can maintain play-off push

Skipper Jason Payne and his Gateshead Thunder side search for a third win in a row tomorrow when Hemel Stags are their visitors

Gateshead Thunder Rugby League action
Gateshead Thunder Rugby League action

Jason Payne hopes to lead Gateshead Thunder towards the promised land of the Championship One play-offs when Hemel Stags visit the International Stadium tomorrow.

Thunder occupy the last of the top five play-off positions, sixth-placed Gloucester sitting on the same number of points but with a game still in hand.

Having beaten Gloucester away and Oxford at home in their last two outings Payne is determined to extend that run to three but knows nothing can be taken for granted against a Hemel side renowned for their abrasive approach.

The captain said: “We sat down going into the final six games of the season and laid down a few targets.

“The first of those was the last two games were absolute must-wins and we have managed to achieve that.

“We knew they were both winnable and we have put ourselves in a position now where the play-offs are a realistic possibility.

“For that to come about we basically have to win most of the remaining four and Hemel next up will definitely be a tough one if we want to stay in the race.”

Highlighting recent improvements, he added: “Things are coming together. We have a new half-back in with Benn Hardcastle and it takes time for people to get used to things.

“He has been great so far, but the biggest thing has been correcting some of the mistakes we had been showing for the majority of the season.”

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