GARY THORNTON believes a “special team” is coming together at York City Knights after the Championship One league leaders humiliated Oldham 54-12 in the top-of-the-table battle at Huntington Stadium.
The head coach watched his side dominate from start to finish, running in nine tries as they established a six point lead at the summit.
Hailing his squad, who have also hammered fellow promotion chasing Hunslet Hawks 40-0 this season, Thornton reckons “big things” could happen for his men - if they keep grounded.
“They are a terrific group of players,” the Knights chief said. “I’ve coached for quite a while - a long time - and I have been in teams and I think you can start to notice when special teams are coming together and I think this is a team which is coming together really well.
“I think big things can happen for us. We have got to keep grounded, we know there is a long way to go yet, but they are great group of players.
“They are really close with each other, you can see that on the field. They work really hard for each other and, even when things went against us which they did at times against a team second in the league, they rallied round each other and dug themselves out of trouble.
“There was terrific team spirit and it is starting to show in the performances."
“It’s up there with it,” Thornton added when asked whether this performance bettered that 40-0 hammering doled out to Hunslet.
“The pleasing thing from my point of view was that they were both massive games and we got up for them. Sometimes it is tough for young players to get up for those big games.
“When it has counted, when we have needed to play well, we have done. The Hunslet game and this one have been the two most pleasing performances.
“We knew what we had to do and the enthusiasm was terrific. You could sense it before the game. I could smell it.”
Thornton continued: “I am really pleased for the players as much as anything. We set out a game plan all week and they went out, yet again, and carried it out superbly well.
“Ben Reynolds and Pat Smith and Jack Lee were terrific in there and organising everything that we did. It is really pleasing, from a coach’s point of view, when you put a game plan together and the players go out and deliver it as they did.
“We played on the back of a dominant pack. When you are playing on the back of that go-forward and that dominance, they showed some real class and I was delighted with some of the tries that were scored.
“I thought they managed the game really well too. There were times when we had to kick it dead and we did. There were times when we needed to put it out and we did. I thought from that perspective the game management was excellent.”