I CAN recall just a few months ago my first official McAlpine media slot at the Giants.

It was decided that to fit in with my busy work schedule, I would set aside one hour every Wednesday lunchtime to meet members of the press on an individual basis.

It proved a successful formula at my former club, St Helens, so I could see no reason why it wouldn't be equally as successful at Huddersfield.

The system was first put into operation two weeks before the start of the Super League season, and it didn't go exactly according to plan!

In that first week, my only visitors were Chris Roberts from the Examiner and James Deighton from Radio Leeds. We all had a coffee and a chat, and very pleasant it was, too.

A couple of other media representatives had intended to call in, but for one reason or another they fell by the wayside.

To be honest, it was far from encouraging.

I knew it wouldn't be quite as manic as it was at St Helens, but I still expected to attract a wider media audience than two!

Yet as the weeks have progressed it's become a totally different ball game.

As a result of our fantastic run to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup and our very solid start to Super League, the media interest has grown and grown.

Two weeks ago, there were that many interviews to do that it took one-and-a-half hours to complete, and last week it had grown to two-and-a-half hours!

It was pretty obvious that the time had come to start to introduce the press conference.

That process started this week, and I was delighted with the way it went for a first attempt.

We had radio, television and the written media on hand to ask questions, and it proved a very busy and productive time.

Obviously, I was asked countless times when it came to the one-to-one interview phase what I felt about the Challenge Cup draw, and by that stage I'd got my answer off to a tee.

That was largely because I had fielded around 10 press calls on the night asking for my opinion.

As you can imagine, it ended up being a very long evening, but I certainly wasn't complaining. I didn't want it any other way.

As phone call after phone call came flooding in, I began to appreciate how good this Cup run has become for the overall health of the Giants.

In the space of a few months the profile of Huddersfield Giants has shot through the roof.

And hopefully, the spotlight will remain on us for a lot longer to come, including after our semi-final meeting with St Helens.

I have to admit that in between fielding the press calls on Tuesday night, I sent a couple of text messages to some of my old mates at Saints.

Those included the coach Ian Millward and players Sean Long and Paul Sculthorpe.

The message to all three was straightforward: "It's good to see Huddersfield have got another easy Challenge Cup draw."

The replies were swift, and I'm afraid the content will remain a secret to the outside world, although I'm sure some of you can hazard a guess!

They all knew, of course, that I didn't really mean any of it.

I'm the first to admit that this is the hardest draw we could have been handed.

And it's disappointing that we go into it on the back of a run of four games in 12 days.

To be fair, it's pretty similar for Saints, but it's at times like this that the strength-in-depth of your squad is put to the test, and in that respect St Helens have slightly the upper hand.

I'm the first to admit we don't have the biggest squad in the competition, that's a luxury reserved for the so-called `big four.'

But we won't be using this as an excuse.

This is just a fact of life, and I hope the players can find the strength to battle on.

I'm sure they will because the rewards are so great, and the profile of the Giants becomes even greater.