It’s great news that you’ve decided to stay on for another year. When you first flew into England two-and-a-half years ago, did you ever think you’d been staying for more than the initial three years?
When I first got off the plane and Baloo (assistant coach Paul Anderson) picked me up and it was dark and cold, I thought ‘oh no, what have I done here!’
I’d virtually come straight off the beach and out of the warm weather to this, and I did start to question myself.
But one thing we said as a family was that we would embrace the experience and try and make the most of it, however cold it might be!
And, right now, we know it was the right thing to do. That’s why we have taken this decision.
We always said we would wait until our baby was born (Jaxson arrived a month ago) and make a decision after that.
Fortunately, the missus is happy, my three girls are happy and I’m happy, so in the end the decision didn’t prove difficult at all.
We really are well settled up at Holmfirth, the community out there is great, we’ve got a fantastic network of friends and the girls are all settled in at Scholes School. The teachers are very supportive, and we really do appreciate the help they give us all.
But in general, the people of Yorkshire are good, friendly people. We really like them.
This is a good place to live, although I do miss the sun at times, I have to be honest!
Is it also a case that you don’t feel ready to leave the Giants?
Yes, it is.
It’s fair to say I’m not ready to leave Huddersfield and Huddersfield aren’t ready to see me leave.
That was another reason why having another year here seemed the right thing to do.
I’ve made no secret of my desire to coach again in the Australian NRL at some point, but not now.
There have been rumours linking me with jobs back in Australia, but never spoke to anyone over there and, at this stage, didn’t really feel the need to.
In the future if I’m approached I’d obviously listen to anything a club wanted to say.
But at this very moment I just feel lucky that I’ve got one of the top 30 coaching jobs in world rugby league.
There are 14 posts in Super League and 16 in Australia, although any other job in England wouldn’t interest me at all.
There’s no way I’d fancy coaching against all the guys here at Huddersfield, so that means there are even less jobs going that would appeal to me.
Having said that, I’m not thinking of anything else right now than carrying on my coaching career at Huddersfield.
That’s all that matters to me right now.
Was another consideration in staying the fact you feel the Giants are closing in on picking up some silverware?
We do seem to be improving every year, and we’d like to keep on improving.
The team is definitely on the rise and I know it can get better, which means we are in a stronger position than ever to challenge.
We’ve got a good blend of blokes who are coming into their prime and younger players who are improving all the time.
On top of that, we’ve also got good, experienced players around the age of 30 who are still making very valuable contributions, such as Lee Gilmour, who’s doing great for us at the moment.
As a result, the club seems to be doing and working well and it’s exciting to know I’ll be around to see it hopefully reach its full potential.
Has the Castleford quarter-final Challenge Cup draw been a main topic of conversation this week?
Obviously, we were keen to hear straight away who we’d drawn, and the fact it’s going to be Cas away means it’ll be a very tough tie.
But with eight of the top nine sides in the current Super League table having been in the hat for the quarter-final draw, there was never going to be an ‘easy’ fixture.
Some may suggest playing Castleford away is a good draw for us, particularly given the fact they are being hit by injuries at the moment and they have suffered a bit of a dip in form as a result.
But the fact the tie isn’t for a couple of months (Sunday, July 24 at 3.30pm) means a lot could have changed by then. Who knows which sides will be playing well at that stage and which players will be in form or not playing due to injuries?
What we do know at this stage, however, is that whatever Castleford side we play on the day we will be treating them with the utmost respect.
They are, of course, one of the teams to have beaten us in Super League season.
It was also the second time on the trot they have beaten us at their ground, and that’s something else that shouldn’t be dismissed, although it’s something we won’t beat ourselves up over.
Obviously, you always hope for a home draw. That’s the better result.
But, at the end of the day and as I keep telling everyone, you’re going to be playing on a football field wherever that field may be.
Unless you play on one of those smaller pitches, you know it’s going to be about 100m long and a similar width to everywhere else, and you’re going to be using the same football.
And, at the same time, let’s not forget we’ve got eight Super League games to play before we can turn our attentions to the Cup-tie, and those fixtures are obviously our main priority at this stage.
Among them, there’s a League game against Castleford at The Shay a week on Sunday, and it’s that game against the Tigers which is the one we need to worry about in the short term.
It would, of course, be good to be going to Castleford in the Cup on the back of an excellent League win against them!
You earned the right to play Castleford after your fifth-round home triumph over Catalan. But you weren’t over-impressed with the side’s performance that day were you?
I didn’t think either side played to their potential, to be honest.
The big difference was that we probably hung in there a touch better than them.
But there was no question there was some really good stuff from us and some really average stuff as well.
We didn’t respect possession for a lot of the game, and that’s because we had some people who were really poor at the weekend.
Their games were well below where they needed to be to win a Super League match, never mind a Challenge Cup sudden-death game of footy.
In the game today you can’t carry players through against good opposition.
Against Catalan I thought we started the game ‘soft’ and, physically, they were all over us.
But in the second half, I thought we were physically better than them and that’s when the scoreboard flowed a bit better for us.
The main thing, however, as that we won the game and were in the hat for the next round after winning what we always knew would be a very tough tie.
To be honest, this was always going to be one of the toughest games of the round.
I don’t know who picks the TV games when the draw is made, but ours was always going to be one of the superior games.
After all, it was a tie between the team that’s equal first and the side in seventh.
And in that physical battle, how good did you think your starting props, Eorl Crabtree and Darrell Griffin, and the fit-again Keith Mason were?
In the second half, in particular, Griffin and Crabtree were sensational.
They made a huge difference for us.
And Keith was really strong, he was very, very good.
This was obviously his first game for about eight weeks after coming back from what was a serious knee injury.