ALEX THOMPSON says North Wales Crusaders need maximum points from their next two matches if they have a chance of reaching the Super Eights.
The big utility forward hopes Sunday’s clash at Hemel Stags (2pm) can provide Crusaders with a second win of their League One season, with Anthony Murray’s men currently 11th in the standings after five games.
With the table set to split in two at the midway point of the season, Crusaders already have a battle on their hands to finish in the top eight thereby guranateeing a spot in the play-off shake up for the rest of the campaign.
Hemel are likely to have at least three on-loan London Broncos players in their ranks on Sunday, after they called upon a trio of dual-registration players in last weeks’
30-14 success at South Wales Scorpions, and Thompson is wary not to underestimate their weekend opponents.
“Hemel and Oxford represent two real opportunities to get two wins and realistically we need to win them both if we’re to make the top eight,” he explained.
“It’s not really been spoken about as a group but I see it as a big chance to get four points. I know we’ve struggled at times this season but we’ve not played badly and we’re just a try or two away from beating some of the better teams in the league.
“I think we can still make the top eight. We should be aiming for that, it’s a tough league but we’ve still got a strong bunch at Crusaders and I think we can beat anyone on our day. If we pick up two wins we’re right in the mix.
“Hemel had a few dual-reg lads with them last week from London Broncos and we have to expect them to have them again and no doubt they make a big difference.
“It’s important we back ourselves though to go to these places and pick up two points. If we don’t then we’d be letting Muzz down.”
Thompson crashed over for two tries in the 31-24 defeat against London Skolars last week but admits he would happily swap his points-scoring exploits for league wins.
“I’ve always tried to score as many as possible and seem to have a knack of getting the odd try which isn’t a bad habit to get into. But I’d happily trade not scoring again this season if it meant we start climbing the table and winning games of rugby,” he added.
“My missus was in the crowd so I was just showing off, but she’ll have to come and watch more often if it means I score two tries every week!
“It was another open game against London and we’re just lacking that bit of cutting edge when we most need it at the moment.
“At the end of the day, you take out lads like Karl Ashall, Christiaan Roets, Joe Burke, and lads from the amateur game are learning to play in their roles. It’s going to take time but we’ve all been impressed by their attitude and the likes of Earl (Hurst) and Kenny (Baker) have made a good start.”
Rochdale Hornets would go top if they beat Toulouse, while Scorpions head to York City Knights. Newcastle Thunder travel to Gloucester All Golds, Barrow visit Doncaster and Hunslet Hawks go to Oxford. Tomorrow’s sole fixture will see Skolars host Coventry Bears.
For a full report of Cru's trip to Hemel, see Monday's edition of the Leader.