The first game of the season at St Helens is now just two days away. How’s everyone feeling?
This is always an exciting time of the year, and you can sense that excitement among the group.
In fact, I’d probably say I’ve spotted a fair bit of giddyness among the players.
But we’ve spoken as a group this week about the importance of maintaining our focus and the need to concentrate on our attention to detail.
This is such an important week that we can’t afford to let anything distract us in what we’re striving to achieve.
It’s been such a long and exhausting pre-season that we don’t want all that to come to waste on our opening night.
So, overall, how pleased have you been with the way training’s gone over the past few months?
I’d say everything has gone according to plan, and we’ve clearly made big strides physically.
Obviously, our physicality is an area we needed to address for our style of play. We did that in terms of our recruitment and with the training programme we implemented.
I’m pleased with the way that’s gone.
And I’m pleased with the way every member of the group has knuckled down to what has been a pretty tough period for them.
I know I singled out Jamie Cording for his efforts at the end of last year – and rightly so – but if you asked me to pick out one name who’s really stood out, I’d find that impossible.
That’s because, as a collective, we’ve made big strides in so many areas, with everybody producing a very valuable contribution.
As a result, I now want to give a rap to the group rather than a rap to any particular individual for the work that’s been done.
They’ve all had to overcome some real adversity over the past few months and now we’re all looking forward to reaping the rewards over the coming months.
How valuable have your assistant coaches, Kieron Purtill and Chris Thorman been, throughout pre-season.
They’re both quality people. That’s why they’re here.
And they’ve both made quality contributions.
In the case of Kieron, he came back in towards the end of last year, and it was difficult for him, because the rot of last season had already set in, so to speak.
But now we’ve got a whole new group and a whole new philosophy, and that’s made it a whole lot easier for Kieron.
It was also pretty similar for Chris, too.
He needed to spend a bit of time getting his feet under the table and trying to understand what I wanted from him, and he’s gone and done that.
As a group, I think we work well together and complement each other in what we do.
And that’s also the case when I extend that group to include our conditioners Greg Brown and Matt Green.
There’s a lot of honesty between us, and if something’s not right we tell each other, and that’s a really big positive.
And how valuable has your captain, Danny Brough, been?
Danny’s been good, which is what I expected and why I chose him as our new captain.
To be honest, he’s not really changed that much since when he didn’t have the captaincy.
He continues to set a superb example to all those around him, which is obviously why he’s been chosen to lead this side.
Everyone can see what an inspiration he is during games, but in all of our physical pre-season tests, he’s always in the top one or two in everything we do.
He’s a classic case of a player whose actions often speak louder than words.
So just as the season is about to get under way, who do you think are going to be your main Super League title challengers?
Well, if you listen to all of the coaches, you’d think they were all primed to win it!
This is the time when every coach will tell you they’ve never trained harder, better or longer.
I’m no different in that respect.
To be honest, I know every club in the competition will be competitive and present you with a huge challenge.
But, personally, I don’t really take that much notice of the opposition – unless we’re about to play them.
So that means I am focusing on St Helens this week, and next week I’ll be focusing on London Broncos before we host them next Sunday.
I know if I spent too much time looking at the opposition, I’d be taking my eye off the Huddersfield ball, which is asking for trouble.
All my focus is doing the right thing for the Giants.
I know that’s the right way to ensure I’m going to keep on providing for my family!