NO GUESSES where we have been working on the defensive side of our game this week.
In our Challenge Cup triumph over Halifax last weekend, we conceded four tries, all from kicks, so we’ve obviously been concentrating on that particular area during training.
All credit to Halifax for opening us up the way we did through Graham Holroyd’s superb kicking game, but that was the only way they were ever going to get over our tryline. Any other way and we simply snuffed them out.
Apart from the kicks, we are a defensively strong side.
Against Halifax, we hardly missed a tackle, and most teams are struggling to break us down the middle or on the edges. As a result, we do feel confident, comfortable and strong in defence.
And we’re also feeling a little happier with life on attack as we prepare to head to Hull this weekend.
One of the problems we’ve been facing in recent weeks has been our inability to open games strongly, as well as lacking a clinical edge.
In our Challenge Cup success, we obviously started the game strongly and ended up scoring eight very good tries.
All in all, it was a job well done.
It was mission accomplished. We did what was required, overcame a potentially tricky tie and took our place in the hat for the next round.
On top of that, the support we received on the day was magnificent, with the fans really getting behind us.
I can assure you that it meant an awful lot to myself and the team as a whole. So, thank you, it was very much appreciated.
So now we can look forward to a televised trip to Hull KR in the next round, and for a tie we’re already exciting about playing.
Before that, however, we’ve got the small matter of a trip to Hull FC this weekend and then our match against Warrington Wolves at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
But the focus right now is obviously 100% on Hull.
Because of our respective League positions (we’re 10th and they’re 11th) it’s quite an important game, and we’d love to secure our first Super League success at the KC Stadium.
We did, of course, win there in pre-season and shared in a 9-9 draw at the KC last season, so that will give us some confidence for our trip to the east coast in two days’ time.
On top of that, we also make the trip looking to secure a first ‘double’ of the season after our victory over Hull earlier this year.
That was at the height of their injury problems, but it seems like they are getting a number of their key players back now, and we expect to face a Hull side that will present us with a major challenge.
We are, of course, still lacking players of our own through injury and have this week also lost George Gatis.
As everyone now surely knows, George has had to return to Australia for personal reasons.
I spoke at length with George a couple of times before he finally made his decision, and I think he’s done the right thing.
But, from a selfish point of view, we would all have loved him to have stayed.
George was such a nice guy and he made a lot of good friends in the short time he was with us.
He was also a cracking player, but he felt his performances were suffering a little because of what was going on back home, and knew he needed to be there rather than here.
Everyone is bound to miss him, but I think Jamahl Lolesi and Paul Whatuira will miss him more than most.
They lived in the same apartment block and George used to do a lot of the cooking for them, even though Jammer did give George a lot of stick over his dress sense!
But while it’s sad to see George go, this could be the moment for Tom Hemingway to finally establish himself as a Super League player.
There’s no question Tom has bags of talent, but has yet to have the chance to show everyone what he can do at the highest level on a regular basis.
But he’s been a revelation since his switch to hooker, and because he’s also an outstanding goalkicker, he could now emerge as a vital member of our Super League squad.
If that was the case, I would be highly delighted.
IN AND OUT we were all bitterly disappointed to see George Gatis (left) leave, but it gives Tom Hemingway (above) the chance to show everyone what he can do in his new position of hooker