After losing to Wigan, you must be delighted with the way you bounced back at Hull KR on Saturday?
Yes, we were.
It’s never easy to go to Craven Park and get a win, so we were delighted to return with such a good, solid win under our belt.
We weren’t too impressed with the start we made to the contest. The boys looked as if they were trying to score off every play in the opening stages.
But once they sorted themselves out, they put some decent footy together, and in the end it was a pretty decent win.
When you’re playing a good side and win 38-16 away from home you’ve got to be happy about that.
Once again you rotated the side, but the cohesion didn’t look too bad, did it?
No it didn’t.
A lot of people go on about how we’re rotating the squad and the potential problems it can create.
But apart from (hooker or half-back) Luke Robinson missing the opening weeks of the season, we’ve kept our one, seven, six and nine the same.
That means we haven’t actually rotated people in what you’d say were the key positions, the players who touch the ball the most.
I suppose it may have affected some people in getting the combinations right in the back-rowers and halves a little bit, but it’s not proved a major problem for us.
But the key for us is that we’ve got a lot of younger players in our squad who have been training hard for three years and have deserved their chance to show what they can do at Super League level.
You look at how well Jerry McGillvary’s going now, for instance.
He’s one of those who’s trained hard for a couple of years, remained patient and has now had an opportunity to show what he can do, and has obviously taken it with both hands.
I thought he was outstanding against Hull KR the other night. It’s the best I’ve seen him play for us.
Jerry’s been doing a lot of good stuff for us this year, but his concentration throughout the whole 80 minutes against Rovers was terrific.
But we’ve also got plenty of other kids waiting in the wings who could do the same if they’re given the opportunity.
They’ve all trained really hard in the off-season, and we all promised them an opportunity. I’m delighted we’ve been able to keep that promise.
Fortunately, injuries are very low for us at the moment, so the only thing we can do to give everyone a chance is to rotate the squad.
And another reason for doing this is that we still don’t know what our best team is and what positions people should actually be playing in this side.
So far, what we’ve been doing is a good learning process for all of us, giving all our players an opportunity to show us what they can do.
After this weekend we plan to field what we feel is our best 17. Then the other people in the squad will have to chase and catch them.
Sky TV have christened you the Tinkerman over the way you keep rotating your squad. How do you feel about that?
I don’t really know much about that.
But I’ve heard it’s some sort of reference to a soccer manager who used to tinker with his team.
As I said, at the start of the year it was always our intention to give the youngsters a chance and we see nothing wrong with doing that at all.
Giving the youngsters the chance to test themselves at Super League level is the best way for them improve.
But whatever names the media come up with for what we’re doing, we’ll just have a laugh about it and move on, because we genuinely believe this is the best for our team and our club at this stage.
You mention earlier how you’re one, six and seven have been the same all season. So exactly how pleased are you with the contribution Scott Grix, Kevin Brough and Danny Brough have been making.
They’ve all been right up there.
Like I say, we haven’t rotated our players in those positions, and that’s simply down to the fact we haven’t needed to.
Their form has meant they’ve virtually been picking themselves, which is a big bonus for such key positions.
Last season, Kevin Brown and Danny Brough were doing an excellent job for us in the halves, and they’ve been building on this at the start of this year.
Their second-half performances against Hull KR were pretty strong, and their general level of consistency this year has been good.
They have certainly been key to our early-season successes.
But the way Grixy has started the year has been a bonus.
He’s obviously had some big boots to fill for us at full-back, but he’s doing a great job.
We always knew when we put him there he’d do a solid job at worse, because he’s a good solid player.
He’s committed, he’s got some nice skills and always puts the team first. If he had to die with the ball, he’d die for the team.
What’s also good is that we know that as the year goes on he’ll keep on improving, because he’s still relatively new to the full-back role.
But while Grixy himself deserves credit for the way he’s playing, it’s only right to give Brett Hodgson some credit for the work he did with him when we knew he’d be taking the role from him.
Were you pleased with the way Danny Kirmond and Andy Raleigh played in their first games of the season at Hull KR when they effectively came in to replace David Fa’alogo and Graeme Horne?
The change for Doof (Fa’alogo) ended up being a forced one as he picked up a slight leg injury.
But in the case of Horney, he hadn’t had a week off and deserved one.
He’s been doing a pretty solid job for us and we’ve been happy with the way he’s been playing.
But, as I said, there were others in the squad who have deserved their chance, and that’s why it was time to give Kirmo and Andy a run.
Kirmo was handed a start and did a good job for us.
And so did Andy, who played up front from the bench and was really strong in his first stint and also started the second half strongly as well.
They both produced performances which have added in more competition for places in the squad.