AT my weekly press conference I am always asked about the mood inside the camp, regardless of whether we’ve won, drawn or lost.
And I’m already well aware that I sound like a broken record when I give my response.
Obviously, our immediate emotions following our defeat at Bradford Bulls last Saturday were ones of bitter disappointment.
However, as the week progresses the mood thankfully changes.
Right now, the boys are full of themselves once again, and everyone is buoyant, upbeat and ready to get back out onto the field.
Yes, I know I often say this after a defeat, but I can assure you it is the case.
We know no team has a divine right to win every game in Super League and that it’s impossible to be at your peak throughout the entire season.
Even though we’ve suffered defeats in our opening two games against Leeds and Bradford we know we are a good side and that the results will start to come. I know that and the players know that.
That’s why the squad remains so positive. We all know our time will come.
And although we’ve faced two of the strongest and toughest teams in the competition, the players are in pretty good shape, which is another positive.
I find it interesting how so much of the focus at many of our Super League rivals is on the injuries suffered by their players. At the Giants, it’s something we don’t talk about, apart from when we’re specifically put on the spot.
To go into the season lacking the services of two Great Britain wingers in Martin Aspinwall and David Hodgson, who have had to undergo major knee surgery, is bound to hit any team hard.
But my attitude is that there’s no point dwelling on the loss of these two great players. They’re both sidelined until the middle of the season and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about it.
What we need to do right now is focus all our attention on those players who are available and what they can do to make sure we raise our level of performance and start to get back on the winning Super League track.
That’s the only item on our current agenda.
APPARENTLY, our game on Sunday is against Castleford Tigers!
And, judging by the way many outsiders are portraying this Galpharm encounter, it’s vitally important.
It’s obviously not up to me to say one game is more important than another. As far as I’m concerned, whenever a player puts on the claret and gold shirt it’s important, whatever the circumstances.
But I’m aware that many are billing this game as important because it’s against two teams still looking to secure their first win of the season.
Obviously, we’re keen to get off the mark after our defeats to champions Leeds and Bradford, and so are Cas following their losses to Catalans and Wigan.
But, to be honest, I’m not really interested in the Tigers and what they’re doing.
I started this piece by saying we’re ‘apparently’ playing Cas this weekend to emphasise that all the focus in the build-up to the game has been about us, not the opposition.
Obviously, we have done our homework on the opposition, as we always do.
For starters, we know they were pretty unlucky not to beat Catalans in their opening home game, and were very dogged and determined in last week’s narrow defeat at Wigan when they kept going for the full 80 minutes. Brent Sherwin, Luke Dorn and Michael Korkidas all took some handling.
We know that if we’re not at our best, it could be a tough afternoon.
And this week we’ve been working flat-out to ensure we are at our very best.
As I revealed earlier in the week, a lot of the emphasis has been on our defence. We have added spice to our training in that area of the game.
Our defence clearly let us down at Bradford, and I’ve made it crystal clear to everyone that I don’t want to see that happen again.
I think it’s only fair that we should take our hats off to Bradford for the way they played. Their completion rate was superb, and we found them very difficult to beat and very difficult to break down.
But that still shouldn’t disguise the fact we were all bitterly disappointed by the final scoreline.
When you analyse the contest, that 38-12 score didn’t reflect the way the contest had been.
In so many areas are performances was far better than it had been against Leeds the week before.
Our kicking game and ball control were problem areas against the Rhinos, but they weren’t against the Bulls. It was the defence.
Despite the heavier defeat, there really were many signs against the Bulls to suggest we are heading in the right direction. The acid test obviously comes this weekend.