HUDDERSFIELD Giants have been ordered to go to Warrington Wolves on Sunday and play without fear.
Coach Paul Anderson’s men are on the verge of securing a Super League play-off spot, with a point against the newly-crowned Challenge Cup winners enough to guarantee a top-eight finish with a game to spare.
Anderson knows getting anything from a trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium isn’t going to be easy.
But the Giants chief is convinced that if his players don’t get caught up in all the emotion of Warrington’s return ‘home’ with the trophy and focus on their own game, they’ll put themselves in a strong position to mount a serious challenge.
“All eyes are going to be on Warrington this Sunday,” said Anderson, who knows he’s going to have a strong squad at his disposal after the free weekend when the Wolves beat Leeds Rhinos 35-18 at Wembley to lift the Challenge Cup for the third time in four years.
“It’s their chance to show the Cup off to their fans and for the fans to welcome back their heroes.
“That means it’s going to be an exciting occasion and we’re looking forward to being there to witness it.
“But with all the focus being on them, it means we can just go out there, play without any pressure and just concentrate on our own game. If we do that then we know we can make it very tough for them.
“Last week and this week we’ve spent a lot of time working on trying to right the wrongs of our performance against Bradford (the Giants lost 34-12 at home to the Bulls 12 days ago).
“I’ve been pleased with the players’ attitude in looking to achieve that goal, and that’s what matters to us on Sunday, nothing else.
“We’ve just got to go out there and not worry at all about Warrington and all that’ll be going on.
“Ultimately, we want it to be our day.”
Having now lifted the Challenge Cup, the Wolves have already set their sights on securing a League and Cup double, and the players have made it clear they have the belief to fulfil their dream.
Although Tony Smith’s team have won the Challenge Cup three times in four years, a Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford remains the holy grail and Wolves have not been crowned champions since 1955.
But with a healthy squad, a home run to come in the play-offs and confidence buoyed by a club record score in the cup final Wolves are primed for their best shot yet for a Super League glory night on October 6.
Back rower Trent Waterhouse, an Australian NRL Grand Final winner with Penrith Panthers in 2003, said: “I definitely think we can win both.
“The guys are pretty fresh at the moment and I think Smithy has done a good job of resting blokes and it is paying dividends at this stage of the season.
“It was a goal of ours to return to Wembley and win – now we look towards Old Trafford at the end of the year.
“The boys got pretty close last year and just fell short and that has made it an even bigger goal of ours to have a big run at the end of this season.
“We’re really confident we can do it.”