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Thunder tear into training efforts.

Byline: By Richard Neale

Gateshead Thunder may have been without a game for the last two weeks, but there has been no let-up in intensity in the camp as the side looked to reverse the slide which has seen them lose two games on the bounce ( with the players training so hard assistant manager Chris Hood has been forced to order a new kit.

"We've been training really hard on the physical side of the game, going into the collision and wrestling the opposition players, and it's been so intense we've ripped all our kit," said Hood.

"We have wanted to get back on the pitch, but while we've had a break there should be no rustiness in the physical side of things, and we've worked on our game drills over the weekend so we should go into Monday's match ready to compete."

The break has, in fact, worked well for the side as it has allowed those players with injuries, both serious and niggling, to recover while new arrivals Clint Frazer and Mark Christensen have been given the time to settle in and learn the Thunder game-plans.

Thunder travel to Manchester to face Swinton Lions looking to reproduce the form which saw them comfortably beat York in the opening game of the National League Two campaign. But while Hood admits there were things in that game worth reproducing, he believes the players don't want to use it as their benchmark.

He said: "We've obviously not been as good the last couple of games and I think that was down to a bit of complacency along with a few injury problems. Because we were so far behind the other teams in pre-season, we were really bedding in during the National Rail Cup competition so when we played against York we had just begun to click and did well.

"After that I think a few players were a little bit complacent about the way things were going to go, but the defeats since have shown them what happens if we don't put the effort in and go the extra couple of metres in the tackle ( like we did against York. It made them realise if we do A, B and C well we will get the rewards and if not we will get beaten.

"But the lads don't want to look at the York match as their 'big game' this year. They want to go out and play like that every week to prove they can.

"They want to forget about York now and look back on the next win. There is a lot of confidence in the squad and they are looking forward to going that extra yard for their team-mates."

While Swinton have talented stars who can cause Thunder problems, one thing which will not cause the side any difficulty is the wide pitch ( being as Gateshead Stadium is just as wide.

"Swinton can play an expansive game on their pitch which has really big in-goal areas and nice wide lines," added Hood.

"But we should be used to that because both their pitch and ours can't be considered 'regular' rugby league pitches and are similar, so we will be able to play a similar game to our home matches.

"We'll be looking to get through our sets of six and then put a good kick over, but then also really defending well."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 7, 2007
Words:564
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