There are reasons to be cheerful after Bulls
IT'S very rare you experience such a mixture of emotions as the ones we felt at the end of our game at Bradford Bulls.
We were delighted by the performance, but bitterly disappointed by the result.
But when you examine those emotions in the cold light of day, you appreciate how positive it all is!
It's a clear indication of the change of mindset there has been at this club over the past few years.
Not so long ago, if a Huddersfield Giants side had gone to Odsal and lost by 20 points or less, we would have felt pretty pleased with ourselves.
Yet last weekend, we conceded a late try to lose 18-14 and we're all feeling as if the world's coming to an end!
As far as I'm concerned, that's progress.
Yes, it was right to be disappointed that we didn't get the victory we all felt we deserved.
But, at the same time, we should all be very encouraged by the way the side played and the fact we made life so tough for the Bulls.
It was a clear indication that all the hard work we've been putting in to pre-season training is starting to pay off.
Obviously, we've still got work to do to reach our full potential, but the early signs do look very encouraging, as the Bulls game clearly showed.
Throughout the Super League era, Bradford have always been a forward-based side who dominate in the middle area.
Yet against us, I genuinely believed we edged the stakes up front, proving that the policy of `bulking up' over the winter was the correct one to adopt.
We also look great, fitness-wise.
In three of the four games we've played this year - the two Super League games and the two pre-season games - we've finished strongly.
We've looked sharp throughout, and have finished games in very good nick.
Hopefully, that will be the case for as long as possible, because the less changes we have to make through injury, the more consistent we should become.
So far, we've managed to remain fairly injury-free, with Martin Aspinwall (above) the only real casualty.
All being well, he should be back next month following groin surgery during pre-season.
As a Great Britain winger, his return will be very welcome.
But with Mat Gardner, Paul Reilly and Shane Elford having all impressed on the wing during his absence, the selection battle on the wing could prove very interesting indeed.
What a Super start we've had!
WHAT a fantastic start to the Super League XII season!
Every year we hear shouts that this will be the most competitive season ever.
And on the evidence of the round-one fixtures, few could argue the predictions for 2007 were not spot-on.
The largest winning margin in the six games played last weekend was just eight points - and that was in the massive shock at Knowsley Road where champions St Helens were beaten by Harlequins!
But we really shouldn't be too surprised by the competitiveness.
The quality of recruitment across the board for this season has been outstanding.
Salford, Warrington and Hull have particularly caught my eye.
However, on the evidence of the opening games, it looks like Catalans Dragons may have made the shrewdest signings.
Last season, the French finished bottom of Super League, while Hull reached the Grand Final.
Yet when the two teams met at the KC Stadium on Sunday, they fought out a 10-10 draw.
That result took many by surprise, even though it's clear the French have strengthened considerably.
In fact, they've purchased two players who I was keen on bringing to the Giants.
I spoke to Clint Greenshields and Adam Mogg last year, with a view to persuading them to leave Australia and come to Huddersfield rather than the South of France!
I felt they would be great additions to the squad. Instead, they're proving great additions for the Dragons.