STEPHEN WILD is ready to lead the Giants’ defensive effort – again!
The 27-year-old back-rower was rested for the home game against Celtic Crusaders, but returned to action for Monday’s 30-8 victory at Hull KR.
As well as scoring a crucial second-half try against Rovers, Wild was once again his side’s top tackler. He’s fifth in Super League’s top tackler list with 294, despite sitting out the Crusaders clash.
And it will require a similar effort against Leeds Rhinos at the Galpharm tonight to help create a winning platform for the Giants – not that the in-form Wild is complaining.
“It’s never my intention to make the most tackles in the game, it’s just how it works out,” said Wild.
“Fortunately, I’ve always enjoyed defending and enjoyed working hard on that part of my game, and if my efforts help us win the game then I’m obviously delighted.
“I suppose I’ve always prided myself on the amount of work I do on defence, and the systems Nathan (Brown) has introduced mean my workload will continue to be high.
“He’s keen to keep me in the middle, rather than swapping me between the back row and centres, and I’m more than happy about that.
“It obviously means it’s a bit more physically demanding, but I’m feeling fitter than I have done for the past four or five years and I’m thoroughly enjoying the role I’ve been given.
“On top of that, I’ve also grabbed a few tries, and after having to wait until the last game of last season to score a try last year that’s another massive bonus!”
Wild and the second-placed Giants head into tonight’s massive clash sitting one place higher than champions Leeds on the Super League ladder, and the former Wigan ace believes that’s no fluke.
“I’m sure a lot of people have been surprised with the way we’ve started the season, but we always thought we could do well,” added Wild.
“We’ve had an excellent pre-season working under Browny, and we’ve absolutely loved it.
“We’ve also been worked incredibly hard by Bumper (conditioner Mark Andrews) on the fitness front, and I think the results are speaking for themselves.
“It’s obvious the systems Browny’s been putting into place seem to be working, although I think we’re still learning to adapt to them, which is something else that’s highly encouraging.
“And I think everyone’s responding to Browny’s style of leadership.
“As a coach, he’s fair but firm, and I think he’s got the mix pretty much spot-on.
“I’m enjoying it, and so is everyone else.”