THE jaw may still be a little on the sore side.
But that’s not going to stop me lining up for the Giants in tonight’s exciting top-of-the-table clash against Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium!
I’ve now seen the incident that left me having to leave the field on a stretcher after being caught late by Crusaders’ Hep Cahill in last Sunday’s game, and there’s really very little in it.
Hep picked up a one-match ban for making contact with me after I’d kicked the ball, but if he’d escaped a suspension I wouldn’t have complained.
It was pretty clear he was just trying to put pressure on me and there was no malice in the challenge whatsoever. But, boy, did it hurt!
In fact, as soon as the game was over, Hep was trying to find out if I was okay.
He was genuinely concerned about my welfare and was very apologetic about what went on, and I don’t believe for one second that this was simply an attempt to get in his defence as quickly as possible to help his cause at the subsequent disciplinary hearing.
But Hep wasn’t the only Crusaders player who was worried about my physical condition.
I lost count of the number of their players who came up to me before they set off back to Wrexham to make sure I was making a full recovery – not that this surprised me.
One of the many great things about being a professional rugby league player is the mutual respect we have for each other.
On the field, we give each other hell, but off it we all do get on exceptionally well. After all, there aren’t really that many of us and we do tend to stick together.
But obviously the biggest respect you have is for your own clubmates, which is quite clearly the case at the Giants.
I know I keep saying this, but we are a very tight-knit group and have complete confidence in each other’s ability, which is the key to being a successful side.
And this was again borne out in the win over Crusaders.
Even though Gregg McNally was making his debut at full-back, we all knew he’d do a great job for us, and he didn’t let anyone down. He showed just how much potential he has to be a quality Super League player.
And Michael Lawrence wasted little time showing he has the potential to be a world-class second-row forward.
Bruno was clearly one of our best players last weekend, and his work off the ball complimented everything else about his game.
His switch has, of course, been made possible because we’ve got a ready-made centre replacement in Joe Wardle.
Joe’s already making a name for himself as a rock-solid three-quarter and is playing with a maturity well beyond his years.
It’s almost incredible to believe he’s still only 19 years old, and he’s the Giants’ ‘40-20’ – a player who’s about 20 but looks nearer 40. I think every club’s got one.
So it was great news to hear Joe’s been handed a contract extension.
We all enjoy playing alongside him and it’s fantastic to know this will be the case at the club for at least three more years to come.
I’m sure he’ll celebrate the good news with another top performance against Warrington tonight.
And we know that if all 17 of us play to our full potential, we’ll have a great chance of making it a hat trick of triumphs over the Wolves this season.
It can be done.