TRYING to pick positives out of the Giants’ display against Hull FC eight days ago wasn’t easy.
After such a highly-encouraging start to the season, Huddersfield failed to perform on the Galpharm stage and fell to a 24-20 defeat in front of the Sky TV cameras.
The Giants only had themselves to blame, making a catalogue of errors to hand their opponents victory on a plate. That was the most disappointing aspect of all.
But at least Joe Walsh was able to lift some of the gloom on a thoroughly demoralising evening.
The 21-year-old former Leeds Rhinos Academy and Harlequins back-row forward marked his Giants Super League debut with a try with just his third touch of the ball as he underlined his obvious potential.
The overall quality of Walsh’s performance was more than enough to convince head coach Nathan Brown to retain his services for tonight’s top-flight trip to Castleford Tigers.
And the Oldham-born Walsh, who has represented England at Under 15s, 16s, 17s, 18s and Academy level, can’t wait to get cracking once again.
“Last Friday was obviously a massive disappointment in terms of the team performance,” said Walsh, whose father Steve has been the head conditioner at Super League clubs Leeds and Wigan, and is now director of performance at top Zurich Premiership rugby union club Sale Sharks.
“But, personally, I really couldn’t have asked for a better start. To score a try in Super League with just your third touch of the ball for your new club is something not every player in the competition can say.
“It also means I haven’t had to wait very long to get the monkey off my back in terms of scoring a try to avoid having to do the naked run at the end of the season!
“It’s just a massive shame it didn’t help us win the game, which was obviously the main priority.
“We’d hoped the try might have turned the game our way – and I think it’s only right to give my good mate Scotty Moore a lot of the credit for producing such a great bit of skill to feed me with a cracking ball that had a red ribbon on it – but it wasn’t to be.
“We failed to kick-on and just couldn’t get the performance together to get the win we so desperately wanted.”
That top-flight appearance was the first for Walsh in almost a year.
Having played in four of Harlequins’ opening five games in Super League XIII, the new Giants recruit was desperate to establish himself.
But he suffered a serious shoulder injury in round five of the 2008 competition, didn’t re-gain full fitness until midway through the campaign, failed to get back into the Quins’ first-team frame and ended the year on loan at National League I club Halifax.
Walsh admits that was a deflating time, but having now signed for the Giants and made his Super League debut, he believes last year’s frustrations could prove a blessing in disguise.
“Last year was pretty tough, there’s no doubt about it,” he added.
“I was really excited about the start I’d made at Quins last season. I was hoping it was going to be my breakthrough year.
“But as soon as I damaged my shoulder, that was it for me down there. That was tough.
“However, a year on, I’m now feeling more excited than ever.
“This move has been absolutely fantastic and, fingers crossed. it’s finally given me the break I’ve been after.
“I love the club, the spirit in the squad is fantastic, and the coaching I’m getting is the best I’ve ever hard. Browny has already taught me so much and, technically, he’s absolutely spot-on.
“On top of that, he’s also a great bloke and you know that if there’s anything you need to discuss with him he’ll always be there.
“You really couldn’t ask for any more.
“But Baloo (assistant coach Paul Anderson) and Bumper (head conditioner Mark Andrews) are also brilliant and have been of tremendous help to me.
“In fact, I don’t think the coaching set-up here could be any better.
“It’s just a shame we haven’t been able to give them more in terms of the results we’ve achieved so far this season.
“But we’ve got the chance to make amends tonight at Cas.
“We know it’s going to be tough, but after the disappointment of last week I think we’re all determined to put things right.
“You always look forward to playing games, but I think this really is one game that can’t come soon enough.”
Although Walsh is fully focused on tonight’s encounter, he’s the first to admit that next Sunday’s home game against former club Quins has crossed his mind.
And he also can’t wait for a return to the capital for the Challenge Cup tie on Saturday, April 4.
“These games could be very interesting,. and I’m already looking forward to meeting up with my old mates again,” continued Walsh.
“But I can’t afford to look too far ahead just yet.
“Our only priority now is to make sure we get ourselves back on track at Cas tonight.
“I obviously want to play in the Quins’ game, and the only way of guaranteeing that is to play well this weekend and hopefully get us the win we all want.”