THERE have been a number of complaints about the Millennium pitch in the wake of the Magic Weekend.
It’s true that quite a few of the players were slipping around, but I personally don’t think it was as bad as some were making out.
I honestly believe we were lucky to be playing on such a good surface at this time of the year, because a lot of pitches are in an awful condition.
Instead of playing on worn, muddy grounds – slipping on a surface like this is always going to be a problem – we were able on a pitch full of lush green grass.
Furthermore, I also thought it was great to be back in Cardiff, and staging the event at this stage of the season.
From what I’ve heard, the fans who made the trip enjoyed themselves and the turn-out was encouraging.
It was a very promising start.
FOR a first run-out of the season, things really couldn’t have gone that much better.
We secured a very solid win against good opposition and, as the new captain, I was really proud to lead a team that put in an effort like that.
Everyone made a valuable contribution – the forwards, in particular – and the team spirit is just growing and growing all the time.
To beat a side like Warrington, who are going to be up there at the end of the season, is a great start, but that’s all it is – a start.
It was obvious to everyone that we’re still pretty rusty on attack and we need to keep working on that. And it’s a case that if we can get our attack as good as our defence, then we could be a good team.
At the same time, we also need to start being consistent. We’ve had good games before but then failed to back it up with another, and that’s something we’re determined to avoid this time around.
That means the focus this week is all about making sure we put in an improved performance at Castleford tomorrow.
They’re always hard to beat on their own patch, as they unfortunately proved against us last season.
They’ve got a good set of forwards and in Rangi Chase they boast a highly-influential player who likes to get his hands on the ball at every opportunity. Shutting him down has to be a key.
And shutting up the Cas fans – in the nicest possible sense, of course! – is also important.
They make a tremendous amount of noise, and certainly make you well aware of exactly what they think of you!
That adds to what is always an electric atmosphere, but we know that if we’re able to keep them quiet we must be doing our job pretty well.
At the same time, it would also be fantastic to hear our supporters in good voice, just like they were in Cardiff last weekend.
I don’t know how many supporters we had inside the Millennium Stadium, but they definitely made themselves heard.
We really can’t thank them enough for the way they got behind us, and it was just so good to get them the results they all so richly deserved.
Hopefully, it will be similar this weekend at Castleford.
Our fans usually travel there in good numbers, and giving them something to smile about again is very high up on our agenda.