Stanley Gene satisfied by Gateshead Thunder start as Swinton await

Gateshead head coach Stanley Gene says league opener puts Thunder in decent shape for Challenge Cup trip

Gateshead Thunder Rugby League action
Gateshead Thunder Rugby League action

Stanley Gene says Gateshead Thunder will bounce into tomorrow’s Challenge Cup opener at Swinton Lions after starting their league season with a win.

The new head coach kicked off the Championship One campaign last Sunday with a 47-28 triumph over Oxford, and they now tackle opposition from the division above as they travel to a Swinton side winless from their four Championship games to date.

“I was pretty happy, overall,” said the Papua New Guinean, whose team battled back from a point down at Gateshead International Stadium.

“Defensively we weren’t on the ball and we gave away 10 penalties, so discipline is a big issue we need to address at Swinton.

“Conceding that number of penalties means you are defending for a lot longer than you normally would be, which means you get tired. That is when mistakes start to come in, but it was only our first league game and it was still a win.”

Glad of the run-out after a convoluted start to the campaign, Gene added: “We needed match fitness because our last pre-season game had been a month before the league season, and Oxford had played a league match the previous week.

“You only get that match fitness by playing, and for a first proper game of the season I thought the guys came through OK.”

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