PAUL JACKSON is determined to win the internal battle of the props and book a date with former club Castleford Tigers at the Galpharm on Sunday (3.00).
The 29-year-old Scotland international was 18th man in the big home Super League opener against Leeds Rhinos, but got the nod over fellow front-rower Keith Mason in Saturday’s clash at Bradford Bulls.
And Jackson is now hoping he has done enough to keep his place in the 17 as the Giants look to beat the Tigers and secure a first top-flight triumph of the season.
“Although the result against Bradford was very disappointing, I felt I went pretty well,” said Jackson, pictured right.
“I felt strong and fresh, and I’ve certainly fully recovered from the wrist surgery I had at the end of last year.
“But my hope now is that I’ve done enough to convince Jon (Sharp) I should keep my place for this weekend.
“We’ve got a great set of props at this club, and even though the opening weeks have been a battle between Keith and myself to get a place, I’m sure that won’t always be the case. Eorl (Crabtree), Darrell (Griffin) and John (Skandalis) have been involved in both games, and all five of us know we can’t take a place in the side for granted.
“That’s obviously very healthy. You can’t beat competition for places.
“And after the way things went in the opening two games of the season, we’re all desperate to play against Castleford and prove there’s still far more to come from us.
“I just hope I’m one of them.”
Jackson and Mason may feel more determined than their fellow props to play this weekend, with both men having had spells with the Tigers.
But Jackson doesn’t see that as being a major factor.
“At the end of the day, it’s just another game,” he added.
“And, as a professional, you obviously want to play in every game you can.
“But if the fact I’m playing against my former club helps give me that little extra edge in training and tips the selection balance in my favour, all well and good. I have to admit I was delighted when Cas were promoted at the end of last season.
“I’ve still got some really good friends over there, it’s a good club and the fans really get behind the team.
“But even the slightest bit of sentiment couldn’t be further from my mind this weekend.
“Like us, Cas are searching for their first win of the season and, after the events of last year when we lost our opening seven games, we don’t want any repeat this time around!
“All that matters this weekend is to see us get that first win under our belt, because when we do I’m sure we’ll be away.
“It’s not going to be easy, we know that, but everyone in the squad is really determined to get the job done this weekend. I just hope I’m part of the team to do it.”