Huddersfield Giants will treat tomorrow’s Middle 8s trip to Batley Bulldogs as if it’s a Grand Final.
That’s the message from local hero Michael Lawrence as his hometown club looks to build on last week’s big win over Featherstone Rovers and put themselves in a stronger position to avoid Super League relegation.
The in-form back-row forward knows all the pressure will be on the Giants, with their Championship hosts not expected to provide the sternest of challenges.
And Lawrence believes that pressure will guarantee his club focuses 100% on the task at hand and leaves nothing to chance.
“We’re expecting a big challenge from Batley, and we’ll be ready for it,” said Lawrence.
“We know all the pressure will be on us, but there’s massive pressure in every game we play, particularly as we’re involved in a battle to avoid relegation and our jobs are on the line. It’s the case that we’re playing for our futures and the future of our club in Super League.
“In that sense, we’re treating every game we play as if it’s a final. They’re all ‘must win’ and we have to give it everything we’ve got.
“Over the past few years, we’ve been involved in some really tough Challenge Cup ties at Batley, and they’ve run us very close.
“We don’t think tomorrow will be any different, so we have to make sure our attitude is spot-on from the start. If not, that’s when we could find ourselves in a bit of trouble.
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“I thought our overall attitude was good against Featherstone last week, and that was key. We were more patient, more controlled, scored some good points and defended well for much of the game.
“We know if we improve on that, then we’ll put ourselves in a strong position.
“Although we have taken a bit of a look at Batley, most of our focus is making sure we look after ourselves and keep on building on the way we’re playing.
“Last Sunday’s win has guaranteed there’s been a good buzz around the club this week. We’ve enjoyed that and we definitely want that to continue.”
Lawrence is fully aware, however, that with John Kear in charge at the Bulldogs, they could prove dogged and determined opponents.
“John’s obviously the master of getting a team fired-up for a one-off game, and we’re sure he’ll have his Batley side fired-up to face us,” added the former Newsome Panthers junior.
“We’ve certainly not taken any notice of the fact they were heavily beaten at London last weekend. If you don’t turn up with the right attitude down there you can be asking for trouble.
“But we’re sure John will make sure they have the right attitude when they play us tomorrow.
“This is going to be a big test for us, but we know how high the stakes are for us and we expect that to get us through.”