ALL the talk leading up to our game at Hull KR seemed to be about big Willie Mason and what impact he may have against us.
But I’m absolutely delighted to say all the talk after the game was about the lack of impact he made.
And for that, I have to take my hat off to our pack. They were again magnificent.
There’s no doubt Willie Mason is going to play a big role for Hull KR this season, both on and off the field. There’s certainly no question he’s a huge presence on the field, and his arrival from Australia has definitely helped raise our game’s profile.
But our forwards did an outstanding job against him last weekend and clearly laid the foundations for another good Huddersfield Giants win.
It was fantastic to see our new top winger, Jerry McGillvary, being named the man-of-the-match. He’s already becoming an important player for us, both in attack and defence.
And I was delighted with the way Danny Brough and myself worked together, particularly in the second half.
However, I have to stress it’s only on the back of the big men down the middle that us backs can show what we can do on attack.
In that regard, I’d just like to pay credit to what Luke O’Donnell has been doing for us in the relatively short time he’s been here.
Luke, like Willie Mason, came to England this season from Australian NRL club North Queensland Cowboys.
Although our man is an established Australia Test player and State of Origin star, his arrival didn’t attract the same level of media interest as his former Cowboys colleague.
His impact has been felt more on the field than in the headlines.
And, take it from me, that impact has been highly significant.
We knew we were signing a very special player, but we didn’t really expect Luke to be quite this important for us.
He’s a relentless player, and always the first to stand up to do the hard work. In that sense, he reminds us a bit of the way Stephen Wild went about his business.
To be honest, it’s the sort of vital on-field work many people don’t really notice, and he also works just as hard in training, always setting a totally professional example to everyone around him.
Yes, big Willie may have come in a blaze of publicity, but we wouldn’t swap him for our top Aussie for any price!
I NEVER thought I’d say this, but our top conditioner, Paul Watson, is buzzing more than ever.
And if any of you have ever met Watto, you might find that almost impossible to believe!
But it is true. The man who’s one of the most upbeat individuals in the world has now hit even greater heights in the positivity stakes.
The weekend win at Hull KR was partly responsible for that, but it’s the arrival of his beloved dogs from Australia that’s made him even more enthusiastic than ever.
And I don’t think anyone would dare criticise him about how he feels about his ‘babies’ now they’re out of quarantine – because they frighten us to death.
Watto’s got three dogs, one dalmation and two great danes, who are more like horses than dogs. Put it this way, if the great danes were on a rugby league field, I wouldn’t fancy trying to tackle them, and I don’t think our big forwards would be too keen, either!