ANDY RALEIGH believes taking on extra responsibility will help his game move to a new level
The Huddersfield-born forward, pictured, produced a man-of-the-match performance as the Giants secured a thrilling 25-24 Super League victory over Bradford Bulls on Sunday.
An outstanding opening spell at prop helped his side lay a winning foundation against the Bulls and secure a sixth top-flight triumph of the campaign.
And now the 27-year-old is setting his sights on repeating his performance at Super League champions Leeds Rhinos tonight (8.00).
“It’s another tough challenge, but after the Bradford win we’re all looking forward to it,” said Raleigh, who was happy starting at prop rather than in his usual back-row spot.
“The win over Bradford has given us a lot of confidence, and hopefully we can take that into the game at Leeds and give a really good account of ourselves.
“And if I’ve got to play at prop again, I’m more than happy to do so.
“Although back-row is my normal position, I’m happy moving up, which is something I’ve done over the past few seasons.
“That’s something that’s usually forced on me, and that was again the case last weekend with Eorl (Crabtree) and John (Skandalis) both out injured.
“They’re two big players for us, so I knew I really needed to step up.
“I now feel as if I’m one of the senior players in the squad, and that it’s at times like this that I need to take a bit more responsibility.
“To be honest, I really enjoyed doing that against Bradford, and I’d like to think it brought the best out of me.
“So, I’m hoping I can play a similar sort of role at Leeds tonight, and we can back up last weekend with another solid team performance.”
While Leeds are at full strength for the derby clash, the Giants are lacking several big-name players.
As well as Skandalis and Crabtree, Jamal Lolesi (shoulder) and David Hodgson (chest) are also sidelined.
But Raleigh remains confident his teammates will be able to overcome the losses and give an excellent account of themselves.
“Although it’s been a tough season, we have at times produced some big displays, even though we’ve never been at full strength” he added.
“And now I think we need to produce the biggest performance of all.
“Facing Leeds at Leeds is always a massive challenge.
“But I’ve always enjoyed testing myself against the very best, and I’ll enjoy that again tonight.
“In fact, I know that’s the way we all feel here.”