Thunder striving for play-offs

HOPES of reaching the National Two play-offs are still very much alive inside the Gateshead Thunder camp, with three games against teams around the bottom-half of the table still to come this season – starting today at London Skolars.

HOPES of reaching the National Two play-offs are still very much alive inside the Gateshead Thunder camp, with three games against teams around the bottom-half of the table still to come this season – starting today at London Skolars.

The team have travelled to London on a revenge mission after a disappointing loss at the Thunderdome earlier this year which halted the side’s momentum after two wins on the bounce.

And Coach Dave Woods believes his side are capable of getting something out of all their remaining games.

“We’re still looking at the play-offs but at the same time we’re just trying to improve, take some pride out of the back end of the season and win some points,” said a coach who is still building the foundations of a side which he believes will be a competitive force within the next two seasons.

“We’re looking at all the games left as winnable because we’ve beaten Keighley and Hunslet already this season and know we should have done better against London last time out. A win at London will put us up there among the teams fighting for the play-offs.”

One thing which has helped Thunder stay in touch with the play-off places is the fact they have taken bonus points from their last two defeats, something Woods believed was needed. But Woods admitted it was a sour victory for him.

“I’m happy we’re taking the bonus points but it’s a bit of a Catch-22 for us really because I don’t think we should have lost the last two games,” he said. “But it means we are improving which is obviously good.”

Woods knows errors are still costing the side points, something he is looking to correct by using a rugby version of football’s “pro-zone” statistics programme. This has allowed him to count the errors every game and, importantly, pinpoint the players making them.

“We cut our errors down to five against York last week and we’re looking to get even less this week,” he said.

Woods only has one injury worry for today’s game, with Clint Frazer out after he was injured in last week’s defeat.

RICHARD NEALE

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