AFTER Monday’s magnificent victory for third-placed Warrington over leaders Wigan, there was a lot of talk about this being the dress rehearsal for the Super League Grand Final. As head coach of second-placed Huddersfield how did that make you feel?
It doesn’t really bother me, to be honest.
The way I look at it, it won’t make the slightest bit of difference at all what I think, so there’s no point worrying about it.
We couldn’t influence what Wigan or Warrington were doing during that game or influence what the commentators were saying or predicting.
But, like them, I share the view that it was a fantastic game of rugby league. My only complaint was that the two sets of players weren’t hitting each other hard enough!
It was a very tough, very intense game, played with a great deal of skill and played in the right manner.
And if commentators want to tell us this is a potential dress rehearsal for this season’s Grand Final, then so be it.
We’ll just keep working hard and focusing on ourselves, and let all the attention be focused on our rivals.
That’s the way it’s been all season, and we’re happy for that to continue for as long as it takes.
What I would say, however, is I thought it was disrespectful to Leeds when the commentators said the Wigan v Warrington match was last season’s Grand Final that never was.
It was disrespectful to Leeds, because they were Super League champions on merit.
They may have finished fifth in the League, but everyone knows it’s what you do in the play-offs that matter.
And when it came to the play-offs, Leeds did what was required to get to the Grand Final and win. They did that because they deserved it.
But can you use the fact you were being largely ignored as contenders during Monday’s game as an extra source of motivation?
We genuinely haven’t spoken about that as a group at all.
I can understand why you may think like that, but it’s not been the case.
As I’ve been saying all season, we’re just ignoring what the media have been saying about us and just getting on with the job at hand.
Large sections of the media keep trying to find new ways of putting us down, so we’re not going to start worrying about what they’re saying about us now.
They’ve been expecting us to fall for the past six months, but we keep finding ways to win and to finish games off.
That’s prompted observers to come up with new ways of saying we can’t do this and we can’t do that etc, etc.
Our response is simply to stick two fingers up at them, keep rolling our sleeves up, working hard and turning up for games with the right attitude.
It’s a philosophy which has stood us in good stead so far, so why change it now?
You look to have a relatively kind run-in to the end of the regular season, with home games against Catalan, Castleford, Salford and Wakefield and away trips to Huil FC, Wigan, London Broncos and Bradford Bulls. What are your thoughts on that?
My main thought is that we’re at home to Catalan Dragons tomorrow night.
That’s what we have to focus on, and then we can start top plan for our trip to Hull the following Sunday.
Obviously, we’ve had a look at the games that are still in front of us, but there’s no point dwelling on them for too long.
And part of that is down to the fact that no-one can predict the future and how we or our opponents will be shaping up between now and when we play them. Who knows which teams will be in form and which won’t in a month’s time.
Much of that will depend on how much injuries are affecting the side you can put out onto the field.
So the best course of action is taking each game as it comes.
Do the best you possibly can in that, recover, train and make sure you’re as prepared as well as you possibly can be for the next test ahead of you.