It’s been an excellent week for news, with the victory over Hull KR followed by the announcement that Leroy Cudjoe has signed a two-year contract extension?
Yes, it’s not been a bad week, has it?
Obviously, the result at Hull KR was very pleasing, and to then back it up with the news about Leroy was very exciting for everyone.
Leroy is a player who’s got the best years ahead of him and is always willing to put in the hard work. This is a reward for that.
But he’s obviously just one of a number of good young kids we’ve got here, such as Michael Lawrence and Larne Patrick.
They’re all exceptionally talented young players who look after themselves, and the more confident they get the better they’ll become.
All three were again in excellent form against Hull KR. But Larne, in particular, really caught the eye with his impact off the bench.
He’s going really well and developing as a player, and the way he took his try (showing great pace to race 40m and brush away several defenders on his way to the tryline) will have added to his confidence.
Larne’s effort and commitment to the team is really, really good, and as time goes on he’ll get more gametime,
As I said, he’s one of a number of outstanding players here who is developing all the time. It’s very exciting for the club.
And you must be feeling excited about the prospect of facing Warrington Wolves at the Galpharm Stadium on Sunday on the back of that 30-0 win at Hull KR at the weekend.
It’s a game we’re all looking forward to, although we know we’re going to have to improve considerably to get anything from it.
Like everyone else, I was impressed with what I saw in the Warrington v Wigan Sky TV game, and to make sure we keep heading in the right direction we need to pick our game up to match these blokes, particularly in attack.
We were obviously pleased to keep a team like Hull KR to ‘nil’ at the weekend, particularly when they had so many goes at us. There’s no doubt our defence is looking reasonable and are kicking game improved.
But we do need to start working on attack.
We understand we are still going to be a bit rusty, because last Sunday’s match was only our third game in Super League this season and we’d only had one trial game before that.
But that doesn’t excuse some of the things we saw from the side in attack last weekend.
At times when we had good ball, our attitude to make the play or come up with the right level of execution really was half-hearted, and the desire to put it right just wasn’t good enough.
Yes, we did do some good stuff, but when we were 18-0 up in the first half we had them on the ropes and should have progressed to 30 really quickly.
That was disappointing and we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Clearly, having Brett Hodgson back made a big difference to your attack. How important was he on the day?
He’s always an important player for us, and he was again important to our success.
The experienced players understand when to do things and come up with the right kicks, passes or decisions at the right times, and that’s what Brett does for us.
It goes without saying that if you lose players of his sort of ilk it makes life tougher, just as it did when Lee Briers went off injured for Warrington against Wigan the other night. His team lost its momentum when he left the field.
What you have to do, therefore, is make sure you learn how to win without your key men playing. That can make all the difference in the world.
Which other players caught did you feel played well last weekend?
The really good thing about the performance was that everyone contributed to the win.
Obviously, Dave Hodgson’s hat trick and line breaks were a massive positive, while I thought Shaun Lunt had his best game of the season.
That was also the case with our new players, Scott Grix, Lee Gilmour and David Fa’alogo.
But, as I said, you could go through the entire team and say they went well, which is always good to report.
For the third game on the trot, you were on the wrong end of the penalty count. Is this becoming a worry?
Not particularly at this stage.
Giving away penalties is, of course, always disappointing, and I was particularly disappointed with a couple of penalties we conceded late in the tackle count.
That’s just gifting the opposition more possession, and it can clearly be asking for trouble.
On top of that, we also gave away one or two very stupid ones, and these are the ones we need to start cutting out immediately.
Once we get rid of these we’ll be fine.
Finally, who’s your money on for the World Club Challenge clash between Leeds Rhinos and Melbourne Storm this weekend?
To be honest, that’s a tough one, because I don’t think anyone really knows who’ll be in the Storm side.
If they were at full strength and played well, Melbourne would win.
But with that not being the case, the conditions more suited to Leeds and the fact the Rhinos have had about five games to Melbourne’s one makes it more difficult to predict.
What I do know, however, is that a win for Leeds would be great for the game over here, and that could be very important for Super League as a whole.