How much are you looking forward to playing Super League leaders Wigan at the Magic Weekend in Edinburgh?
Wigan are obviously going to provide us with a massive challenge. Under Michael Maguire, they’re doing some really good stuff, but we’re really looking forward to it, because we’re starting to improve as a team and we’re starting to play a bit better.
But there’s no doubt Wigan will be a threat. They’re looking a lot fitter than last year and now play far more direct
And what do you think about the Magic Weekend as an idea?
I think it’s a great idea, and terrific for league-loving fans.
I’d never come across it before last year, but it’s a concept that I think is really good.
I’m sure it would work in Australia, because there are a lot of fans there that just love watching the game.
The thing with is Australia, though, is that you have a club like Brisbane Broncos who average 30,000 a week, and other clubs over 20,000, so it’s hard to know which stadium you could take it to. But I’m sure something like that could work.
Did your team selection against Crusaders last Sunday mean you had one eye on Wigan?
It was more of a case of giving some blokes a well-deserved.rest.
Andy Raleigh, Luke Robinson and Martin Aspinwall all played throughout Easter and it was just their turn to take time off and freshen up.
I suppose you could say we were taking a bit of chance in resting three players who have been doing such a good job for us and then lost Brett Hodgson late in the day.
But, fortunately, the blokes who came in did a good job and contributed to a very solid win last weekend.
So you must have been delighted there was no repeat of the defeat at Salford on Easter Monday?
As I said, I thought it was a good, professional display against Crusaders.
The opposition are obviously a much, much improved team and have already secured some excellent wins this season.
They really tested us in the first half and there were times when we needed to be at our very best defensively.
Towards the end of that opening period they put us under a lot of pressure, dominated field position and had a fair few repeat sets for different reasons.
But apart from our defence being strong, I thought our ability to back that up to counter-attack to score our third try just before the break was very pleasing.
Once again Kevin Brown put in an outstanding performance. Would you go along with that?
Kev played great, there’s no doubt about it, but I was also pleased with Fuey (David Faiumu). They were our two stand-outs.
However, they were arguably our best two among a lot of people who did some good stuff on the day – and that, of course, is the key to our success.
Was the first senior appearance of the year of Brad Drew following knee surgery another big success?
Everyone was absolutely delighted to see Drewy back out there, and he looked good.
And the timing of his return couldn’t have been any better.
We obviously lost Shaun Lunt with his Achilles injury in the warm-up, and hooker is an important position.
That meant we were forced to make a late switch with Scotty Grix, who was our 18th man, coming in and having a spell at hooker, as well as on the wing.
It was then down to another hooker in Drewy to show us what he could do.
Unfortunately, when he first came on he was made to do a lot of tackling because we just didn’t have any ball.
But in his second stint we had a fair bit of possession and he showed everyone what he can do.
I think everyone was cheering when he scored his try!
As well as losing Shaun in the warm-up, you also weren’t helped with the late withdrawal of Brett Hodgson (what has now been diagnosed as a thigh strain), were you?
Brett had been struggling with the injury during the week and it didn’t recover how we had hoped.
He did train on Saturday morning, but the problem blew back up and, as much as we wanted him to play, it just wasn’t worth taking a risk as big as this.
Fortunately, Leroy Cudjoe was on hand to fill in at full-back and again did a good job.
Obviously, the even bigger news with Brett is the fact he’s leaving the Giants to join Warrington for two years at the end of the season. How disappointed are you about that?
It’s very disappointing, isn’t it?
But, at the same time, it’s obviously a gain for Warrington and he’ll be a very good addition to their squad.
For us, however, we’ve got him for the rest of the year and that’s going to be great.
I know between now and the end of the season, the people in our leadership group like Kev will be able to get a lot out of him, while Brett will also be able to continue to educate some of our other full-backs along the way.
Everyone knows what he’s done for this club and what he’ll continue to do this year.
But what has happened has happened now, life goes on, we’ll all move forward and for myself and the coaching staff it’s a case of striving to find the best replacement we can, whether it’s within the club or from outside the club.
It goes without saying, of course, that Leroy and Scotty Grix are immediately in the frame to be our new full-back, because we all know they are both capable of doing a good job for us.
But, for now, we’re all just thinking about working with Brett for the rest of this year.
It’s good to hear Shaun Lunt should be back in a couple of weeks with his injury after it was initially feared it could be six to eight weeks. But you must still be a bit disappointed he’s been sidelined?
We all felt Lunty was starting to recapture the outstanding form he was showing last season, so this injury is a blow to everyone.
Like Brett, he’s an important part of our team, and has been for the past 18 months.
Fortunately, of course, Drewy made a successful return at the weekend and we’ll be able to welcome back Luke Robinson, who was rested at Crusaders and has been outstanding for us since he’s changed roles.
That’s two quality hookers we’ve got for cover straight away, and we’ve also got Fuey who can also play at nine and do a great job, as well.
Obviously, we’d rather have Lunty available, but at least we do still have some very strong options.