Paul Anderson is confident there will be no repeat of Thursday night when the Huddersfield Giants return to play-off action in five days’ time.
Huddersfield lost their advantage for finishing top of the table at the end of the regular season as they crashed to their 22-8 home play-off defeat to Wigan Warriors.
Anderson’s Giants still have that crucial all-important second bite of the play-off cherry at the John Smith’s Stadium next Thursday night when they host the lowest-ranked winner from this weekend’s knockout games.
And the Huddersfield head coach knows his players will be fired-up for a game where there will be no second chances.
“After we lost the Wigan game somebody asked me a really stupid question,” said Anderson.
“They asked me if the boys would be ready for next week!
“I said: ‘Are you kidding? What do you think? It’s play-off football and it’s sudden death, and if you can’t be ready for a game like this, then what are you doing playing the game’.
“From day one our main aim has been to reach and win the Grand Final at Old Trafford on October 5, and that still remains our aim. So, of course, I know the boys will be 100% focused next Thursday night.
“Unfortunately, we’ve lost our advantage for finishing top and know we’re going to need to win on Thursday and then win away in the semi-finals if we’re to reach Old Trafford.
“But having worked so hard to win the League Leaders’ Shield the last thing we want is to fail completely in the play-offs. That would take so much of the gloss off finising top for the first time in 81 years.”
While Wigan went into Thursday’s Giants clash looking battle-hardened after their physical battle at home to Leeds the week before, the vast majority of the Huddersfield players were returning to action after a weekend off.
And Anderson admitted that could have been reflected in the way the play-off tie panned out.
“Wigan did look battle-hardened, there was no mistaking that,” added the Huddersfield chief.
“We didn’t win a tackle and they just rolled through us at times. We’ve not been used to that very often.
“I think that showed we probably needed a game the week before, so whether it was right to rest the players at Bradford, only time will tell.
“That time is obviously next Thursday, and that’s when we’ll learn a whole lost more. We know we’ll be going from one intense game to another.
“And there’s no doubt everyone will be going into that game determined to give 100%.
“The Giants of 2013 aren’t about one-out rugby, and that’s what we came up with against Wigan. We weren’t great at all against them.
“There will be no repeat second time around, there can’t afford to be.”