Joe Wardle is confident of getting over the shock of claiming the Giants’ top individual honours in 2014 and helping his club secure a top-four Super League finish tonight.
The 22-year-old centre heads into the home clash against leaders St Helens (8.00) having been named the Players’ Player of the Year, Coaches’ Player of the Year and Supporters Players of the Year at the Giants’ annual awards night.
Although the former Bradford Bulls Academy star has been a model of consistency throughout the season, he admitted the individual awards took him totally by surprise.
But he’s hoping the lift receiving the honours has given him will given him the extra edge in what is the Giants biggest game of the season so far.
“To win all these awards if pretty overwhelming. I was quiet shocked, to be honest,” said Wardle.
“Obviously, all the guys on the left side deserve to take some of the credit, because I think it’s the way we’ve worked so successfully as a unit that’s helped bring the best out of me.
“Attack-wise, I’m just pushing on the end of the quality stuff the boys inside of me are producing, while I do enjoy putting on the big shots in defence. A few of the lads think I’m a bit stupid and have no respect for my body with the way I throw myself into the tackles, but there’s no better feeling than when they come off!
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to put some of those on tonight and help us secure what would be a massive win for the club.
“We know we’ve played nowhere near our best this year, but we’re still in with a chance of getting into the top four, which would be a great achievement.
“Our aim has always been to try and peak at the end of the season to give ourselves the best possible chance of reaching the Grand Final, and that aim is still very much alive with the play-offs just around the corner.
“As a result, the mood within the group is really positive.”
The fact Huddersfield have failed to hit the heights of last season when they finished top for the first time in 81 years to secure the Super League Leaders’ Shield has meant they’ve flown under the radar for much of the year.
But that’s something that doesn’t concern the talented three-quarter.
“We’ve really loved it that way,” he added.
“Everybody’s been talking about the other teams in the competition, while we’ve just been slowly creeping along and knocking the wins off.
“As a result, we haven’t felt under any real pressure at all, we’ve just been able to focus on ourselves and devote all our attention to do everything we can to getting to that first Grand Final.
“And we know how another good win against St Helens tonight will help our cause.
“Even though some of our performances haven’t been great, we know that if we play to our potential we can beat anyone, and that definitely includes St Helens.
“This is a chance for us to really out down a marker before the play-offs start.”