So how’s the mood among everyone after Sunday’s excellent victory over Hull KR and the news it’s Warrington in the next round in a repeat of last year’s final?
The mood’s obviously upbeat.
We were delighted to get the result we did against a very reasonable team, because there were clearly far more easier sides to face at this stage than Hull KR.
Our first-half performance was flawless and we played as good as we could have played on the right day.
But the fact it’s Warrington in the next round isn’t really something we’ve talked about at this stage.
Our sole focus right now is Sunday’s Super League trip to Crusaders, then after that it’s all about preparing for Wigan in Edinburgh seven days later.
Only then can we seriously start to think about facing Warrington again, because a lot can change – in terms of form, injuries etc – between now and then.
Obviously the fact it’s a repeat of last season’s final when we were beaten at Wembley has already labelled our fifth-round home tie against Warrington as our chance to gain revenge.
But, as I said as soon as the draw was made, the important thing for us is to regard the fifth-round tie in isolation and see it as the next step towards our goal of trying to do what we can to get back to Wembley.
Getting to last year’s final was a thrill for everyone associated with the club – fans, players, coaching staff and backroom staff alike – and it really would be fantastic to get there again this year, too.
Does that mean, therefore, that getting back to Wembley will be used as an extra form of motivation going into the Warrington tie on May 8?
Not really, because as a club and a group we expect the players to go out there every week and compete as hard as possible.
In other words, we expect them to be motivated every week, whatever the fixture. We’d like to think that, in the players’ minds, every game is important and that they’re determined to put in 100% whenever they take to the field.
Obviously, with the Challenge Cup being a knock-out competition, you know there’s no margin for error and your judgement needs to be good or else you’re out, there are no second chances.
We saw a good side go out against us in Hull KR, and we could see how much that hurt, but fortunately we’re still alive, and we hope to remain so for as long as possible.
David Fa’alogo’s reputation has obviously been further enhanced with his performance last weekend. You must be absolutely delighted with the impact he’s making in his first season over here?
I was delighted when I managed to sign him last year, and I’m even more delighted with the way he’s playing, and we’d all like to see there’s still more to come from him!
Every week we seem to be talking about how well Dave’s playing, even though he had a disrupted pre-season after undergoing minor ankle and knee surgery and he’s still adjusting to the English style of play in Super League, and long may that continue.
It’s funny how he should play as well as he did again on Sunday, because it was only a couple of days before I was talking to Brett Hodgson and a couple of other players specifically about how I just couldn’t understand why he was playing for us. I still find it incredible to believe that another club in the Australian NRL didn’t take him on when it was revealed he would be leaving South Sydney.
Not that we’re complaining, of course!
But the really good thing about Dave is that he not only possesses all the right attributes to be a quality rugby league player, but he also cares about the result of the game as soon as he steps out onto the field, and that adds to his importance to the side.
As well as Dave Fa’alogo, you must have been happy with the rest of the forwards, too?
You know that when you play Hull KR, you’re going to find yourself in a really tough arm-wrestle.
They make you have to work tremendously hard to earn the right to get on top of them and control the contest and, fortunately, that’s what we were able to do, courtesy of our big blokes down the middle.
When they did that, we saw that as soon as Hull KR did something wrong we pretty much punished them for it.
But the real beauty of our performance on the day was that we didn’t have anyone who played bad.
Everyone played nice and solid, and then we obviously had one or two blokes who were really good, and that’s what we like to base our team on.
And when you talk about the ‘really good’ players, Kevin Brown must surely come under that category?
Kev is a good player, there’s no doubt about it.
What we’ve seen with him is that he has a habit of turning in his better games on the better days, and you need your key people in the key positions to play well on big days.
If your one, six, seven and nine play well you’re always going to have a good chance, and these positions at the Giants at this stage appear to be occupied by good quality players.
And if all the players around them do their jobs well, then you’re always going to be in with some sort of shout of doing okay.
Kevin again showed against Rovers he’s got a great kicking game. How important is it that he’s just one of a number of players in the side who possess that skill?
For starters, it certainly helps that our main kicker is a very good kicker, that helps a lot.
As a result, teams are obviously going to target Broughy a little bit and that gives us the option of other people kicking the ball.
It’s no secret why we brought Danny Brough to the club.
He showed against Hull KR that he kicks the ball very well, but the fact we’ve got others who are also accomplished kickers is a luxury not every side in the competition has.
Do you believe the appointment of Steve McNamara as the new head coach of England is a good one, and will it be to the detriment of Bradford Bulls as he combines both roles until the end of the season?
I think Steve is the natural choice to take over.
After all, he did spend the past two or three years working as the assistant to Tony Smith.
It means Steve can carry on the excellent work Tone started, rather than bring in someone else over his head who may want to change things around.
As for combining the roles, I don’t see that as a problem.
Carrying on at Bradford will give Steve the chance to watch all the players in action in Super League on a regular basis, and assess the form of everyone all the time.
It didn’t prove a problem for Tone at Warrington, so why should it be a problem for Steve at Bradford?