GIANTS chief Nathan Brown has called for maximum effort from his players to guarantee opening-night Super League XV success against Bradford Bulls at the Galpharm Stadium tonight (8.00).
The Huddersfield head coach is delighted with the shape of his players as they bid to build on last season’s magnificent club record third-place Super League finish and Challenge Cup final appearance at Wembley.
Much of that success was down to the work ethic running throughout the club.
And even though Brown feels his squad is stronger and boasts more class in 2010, the Australian knows that if his players don’t put in 100% effort they can forget about savouring another success-filled season.
“We believe we’re entering the season in better shape than last year and with more quality in the squad,” said Brown, whose opening match is live on Sky TV.
“But that alone won’t guarantee ourselves success.
“To make sure we build on what we achieved last season we need to keep on putting in the effort and hard work on a consistent basis.
“If we do that and continue to build on the systems we’ve put in place over the past 14 months or so, we’ll give ourselves a chance.
“That’s the challenge we face as we get ready to start the new season.
“We do feel confident, but tonight we’ll obviously have a clearer idea.
“Yes, last week’s win at Castleford was very encouraging and there were many positive signs.
“But this game against Bradford will be played at a far higher intensity, and we know we’re going to have to be at our best.
“This is when all the hard work over the past few months is finally put to the test.”
Brown’s Giants made the best possible start to their Super League XIV campaign a year ago when they opened with a 30-8 victory at Catalans Dragons on Valentine’s Day.
But they followed up with two defeats in the next three top-flight fixtures before embarking on an impressive charge up the Super League table.
That showed getting off to a winning start in round one isn’t vital, but Brown would still be bitterly disappointed if his side’s opening shot drew a blank.
“You always want to get off to a winning start if you can, but no-one is going to slit their wrists if they don’t,” he added.
“Sides can’t win the competition in February and March time, but you can certainly lose it.
“Winning at this stage does give you some early momentum and helps you build confidence, there’s no doubt about that.
“All we can say at this stage is that we do feel positive as the season approaches and, on the back of a good week’s preparation, we’re positive going into the game. We feel ready.”
Today's Examiner contains a 16-page special supplement to celebrate the start of the Giants' campaign in Super League XV.
In the full colour pull-out special you can find out who's the toughest Giant, what are the teams chances of topping last season's achievements and what the boys get up to in their spare time.
There's also exclusive interviews with Paul Whatuira, Kevin Brown and Lee Gilmour as well as a full colour double page Giants team photo and fixture list.
Plus, the start of the season wouldn't be the same without Jamahl Lolesi's guide to Super League. Last season the Hammer told us about his team mates, this season he takes us through the good, bad and ugly of Super League teams and players!
Grab a copy of the special 16-page pull out inside your Examiner newspaper today.