IT’S pretty obvious what the main talking point in our game has been this week – the awarding of the 14 Super League franchises for the next three years.
We’re obviously delighted to be included but, to be honest, we never really thought it was in doubt.
Although we’re having a very disappointing season, the Huddersfield Giants have a tremendous amount going for us, both on and off the field.
I know first hand how well this club is run from top to bottom. Everything about this organisation is Super League.
So, when the news filtered through to us at training on Tuesday morning, the impact among the players wasn’t exactly that significant. It was simply confirmation of what we thought all along.
And, on top of that, we knew we couldn’t savour this ‘success’ for too long, because we’ve got a very important fixture to think about this week – tonight’s big challenge at Wigan Warriors.
A trip to the JJB Stadium is one I think every player enjoys.
It’s a fantastic venue, with a superb playing surface and an atmosphere which is as good as any in the competition. The way their fans get behind them is magnificent.
And let’s not forget about the team either!
They obviously haven’t had the best of times in recent seasons, but they still possess a wonderful squad, with the likes of Fielden, Barrett, Richards, O’Loughlin and Paleaaesina players who would greatly enhance any side in the competition.
But facing players of this calibre quite often brings the very best out of you, and we’re hoping that’s the case for us tonight.
We’re all desperate to do well, so we can finish this season as positively as possible.
And a good performance – and hopefully win – would help erase the bitter memory of our defeat against Warrington last Saturday.
This was one of those matches when we all genuinely felt we deserved something from the contest.
Apart from a spell at the start of the second half when they pulled it back to 18-18, we felt we were very much in control.
We dominated the first half, with Leroy Cudjoe getting a deserved hat trick – he just keeps going from strength to strength – and in the second half were denied two tries due to video referee calls.
We also had two late drop-goal attempts to their one, but unfortunately theirs went over and ours didn’t – and that was that.
But, overall, we have to be fairly satisfied with a lot of what we produced, and we’ll be looking to build on that tonight.
I know our new coach Nathan Brown was intending to watch the Warrington game on TV, and I hope he was encouraged by what he saw. No doubt we’ll find out at some stage!
The general feeling throughout the squad is that the club have made an excellent appointment in Nathan.
Although he’s still young (34), he’s already achieved a tremendous amount as coach of St George in the Australian NRL, having guided them to the play-offs.
News he’s coming has created an extra buzz about the place, but we’re all aware we now have a new boss to impress if we’re to keep our place in the senior side next season.
All being well, that will spur everyone on between now and the end of the season, because we all still believe there’s a great deal still to play for in 2008.