AFTER our excellent win over Castleford, we were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves when we walked into training at the start of the week.
Although we were all fully aware the performance was still far from being perfect, we felt we were definitely heading in the right direction.
And, as a result, I think we were all secretly hoping our ‘reward’ would be for Jon Sharp and his coaching team to treat us a little more lightly on the training ground.
Not on your life!
We could understand why it had been a bit of a ‘bashathon’ the week before, because it was widely felt a more physical training approach may be necessary to help us gain our first victory of the season.
So to be treated pretty similar this week came as something of a shock to our system.
But we could certainly understand why.
Jon’s always been a very smart coach and I know he was very conscious to keep our collective feet on the ground after the manner of our victory the week before.
This was Jon’s very direct message to us that we’re still not at the standard he wants us to be, and that one 60-point thrashing of an opponent wasn’t going to make any major difference at all.
Yes, he was pleased with certain aspects of our game, but he was very keen to tell us there’s still room for major improvement, starting against Hull at the Galpharm on Sunday.
But at least we go into this weekend’s contest with our confidence nice and high.
It’s amazing what confidence can do for a team. Everything on the field seems to run so much smoother.
And that was clearly the case against Castleford last weekend.
What helped that day was that we started so strongly.
In the opening stages of a game you always get a feel as to whether this is going to be your day or not. There was immediately a feel to this one that it was.
Even though the unfortunate Shane Elford had an early try disallowed – the video replays have clearly shown he was a yard onside when he followed up Luke Robinson’s kick to the corner – it wasn’t long before we had taken complete control.
By the end of the day, we were able to reflect on what was easily one of the best attacking performances I’ve been involved in.
There’s hardly any better feeling than playing in a game like this when almost everything seemed so effortlessly to fall into place.
The build-up to Paul Whatuira’s try alone was an absolute joy.
But, personally, one of my plays of the game was in the move that led to our first try from Luke Robinson.
If you remember, John Skandalis charged through a hole after being put through from a delightful pass by fellow prop Keith Mason.
Let’s be honest, front-row forwards aren’t really noted for putting on plays like that. They’re more often associated with half-backs.
But, I can assure you, there was certainly no fluke about what they did at all.
Keith works hard on his ball skills in training and it came as no surprise to anyone in the side that it had come off.
And another of my favourite plays was the sight of big Eorl Crabtree, pictured, charging away at great pace to give Luke his second try late in the game.
So, there we go, widespread praise for three of our really big guys for producing moments usually associated with the team’s backs.
But I think this just goes to show how dominant the forwards were throughout this game.
I just hope this is just the start, because us backs just love it when the pack takes control. It makes our jobs so much easier!