NOW the season is over, what are your final reflections?
As a whole, I think everyone will agree it’s been pretty successful.
Obviously, it was very disappointing to go out in the manner we did, losing both play-off games after finishing third at the end of the regular Super League season.
But to reach the Challenge Cup final at Wembley and finish third shows the guys were consistent, which is something we were striving to achieve.
That was something we were able to do on the back of everyone within the squad working hard throughout the year, and I’m proud of that.
As I’ve already said, if we’d have predicted to everyone at the start of the year we’d finish the regular Super League season third and reach the Challenge Cup final at Wembley people would have laughed at us.
So the fact that’s exactly what we did is something everyone at the club should feel extremely proud about.
But did you honestly believe at the start of the year you would have such a successful season?
To be honest, with this being my first season, I was pretty open-minded.
Baloo (assistant coach Paul Anderson) said I’d be coaching a very hard-working bunch of blokes, and that’s always a positive place to start.
We put a few things in place which I thought would put ourselves in the position to compete hard, and that’s something we were able to do.
The statistics showed we have the best defence in Super League, because we conceded less points than any other side (Huddersfield conceded just 416, with minor champions Leeds Rhinos having the second best defence with 453).
At the other end, our attack is evolving, and our aim in the future is to work at getting our offence a bit better.
You’ve just been installed as 4/5 favourite to be named the engage Super League Coach of the Year. You must be pleased about that?
It’s always good to gain recognition, and for others to appreciate the work you’re putting in.
But there’s no doubt that being named favourite is a reflection of the way everyone has worked throughout the year, not just me.
If I was to pick up the award, it would be an award for everyone.
However, I think I’d be even more delighted if Brett Hodgson was named Man of Steel, because he’s been absolutely fantastic for us all year.
He always challenges people in training and during games, and there’s no doubt that helps get the best out of his teammates.
Brett is a great leader, and he’s very good for the coaching staff.
Having said all that, however, I think one of the keys for us this season is that every player has contributed to the team this year.
Every player deserves recognition for what they have achieved.
Going back to the play-off defeat against Catalans Dragons. Do you think it was probably a game too far, given the fantastic exploits of earlier in the year?
I think you could say we’d already run our race.
We went into the game suffering a number of injuries to key players, whereas Catalans suffered their problems on the injury front earlier in the season.
As a result, we looked a bit tired, while Catalans looked strong and took full advantage of our situation.
And they definitely had the quality of player to do just that.
When you looked down at their teamsheet they were full of players who had played for Australia at Test level and State of Origin, and they could definitely make it tough for Leeds on Friday night.
But that still doesn’t make up for the fact we lost this game.
That really was the last way we wanted to finish what was such a great year.