GATESHEAD Thunder’s Jason Payne believes his side can build on last weekend’s performance when they face Leigh Centurions tomorrow, writes PAUL REECE.
The long-serving prop described training as “fantastic” this week following last Sunday’s agonising 26-22 defeat at York.
Payne, Thunder’s captain, labelled the performance as the side’s best in 12 months and believes a first win of the season won’t be far away.
Championship visitors Centurions will be heavy favourites in the Northern Rail Cup tie, but Payne feels Thunder will have no fear.
He said: “We were all really happy with last week’s performance, and hopefully we can take that confidence into tomorrow’s game.
“It was a tough game but we turned up and put in our best performance for over a year, and we were over the moon.
“The fact we didn’t get the win was disappointing, and that shows how far we have came from last season.
“Training has been fantastic this week, it has been a while since we came in off the back of a good performance and it was nice to see smiles on faces.
“Leigh are one of the best sides outside of Super League but we will head into the game with nothing to lose and give it a real go.”
Thunder have lost their opening two matches of the season while Centurions head into the match on the back of a 30-12 win at home to Hunslet.
Tomorrow’s tie has been switched to Newcastle Falcons’ home ground, Kingston Park, and Payne has happy recollections of Thunder’s last visit across the river. The skipper was part of the 2008 side which lifted the National League Two Championship at the ground, and hopes the change of scene will benefit the team.
“I have good memories of playing there and winning the league in front of the TV cameras.
“It is a purpose-built rugby ground, and it will be nice to have the fans on top of us for a change instead of separated by the track.
“Hopefully the new surroundings can give us a boost and we can take some confidence from the game into the first league match next week.”