SIMON FINNIGAN is confident he’ll be at the very top of his game at just the right time of the Super League season.
The 28-year-old Giants back-row forward made a successful return to top-flight action during last Friday’s thrilling 16-16 draw against Hull KR at the Galpharm.
It was Finnigan’s first senior appearance since he underwent major neck and shoulder surgery at the end of last season.
The former Ireland international is expected to retain his place for Sunday’s Super League XV trip to Castleford Tigers on Sunday.
And after his successful run-out against Hull KR, which came on the back of two appearances for the Giants Under 20s, Finnigan is confident he can make a positive impact with the senior side as they look to mount a successful play-off bid.
“It was great to be playing Super League again. It’s about 10 months since I last did it, although there were times when I was in rehabilitation when it seemed a lot longer!” he said.
“And I’m delighted to say the body’s feeling good and I can’t wait to play again.
“I have to admit my body felt incredibly sore in my first game back for the 20s at St Helens in the middle of last month – it’s probably the sorest I’ve ever felt – but I’ve got over that now and I’m looking forward to pushing on.
“Because of my time in rehab, I’ve effectively returned to play on the back of three pre-seasons, so my fitness is feeling pretty good.
“At this stage of the season, this is when many players start to ache and feel their knocks.
“But I feel fresh, strong and injury-free, and my main goal is to start playing week in, week out and get back to the pace of playing again.
“It normally takes at least a couple of games at the start of the season for players to get into their stride, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to produce my best form just as the play-offs are about to get under way.
“That’s when I’ll hopefully produce my most positive performances.”
And with the way Finnigan played on his return to Super League duty seven days ago, the signs look very promising.
As a result, he is hopeful of retaining his place for the weekend trip to Castleford, even though Shaun Lunt should be available after failing a late fitness test on a slight knock last week and Stephen Wild could prove his fitness after suffering a sore hamstring against the Robins.
“I’m just keeping my fingers crossed at this stage,” he added.
“But I’d like to think I did enough last Friday to keep my place this weekend. If I did, at least I’d have more time to prepare!
“I only found out on the morning of the Hull KR game I’d actually be playing, because that’s when Lunty was forced to pull out.
“In a way, that may have helped me, because it gave me less time to worry about playing my first Super League game in such a long time.
“But I now know I can compete at this level once again, and Browny told me I was reasonably happy with what I did.
“We were put under a lot of pressure last Friday – mostly due to the number of errors we were making – but I felt I handled it well and I was generally happy with my defence.
“The game at Castleford this weekend is going to be another big test, although we know that if we cut out the mistakes we’ll be in with a great chance of winning.
“I just hope I’m given another chance and I can be part of a solid Giants performance.”