WALKING in to training on Monday morning really was a fantastic feeling.
You could sense that something special was just around the corner.
The players were buzzing and it was left to the coaching staff to try and keep their feet firmly on the ground. It wasn’t easy!
For the first time in Super League, Huddersfield Giants were preparing for a game in the play-offs, and it was easy to tell.
This special group of players know they are about to make history and they just can’t wait!
OK, they travel to Hull FC on Saturday for what is the engage Super League Elimination Play-off on the back of a defeat at Hull KR in our final game of the regular season.
But we immediately wrote that result off.
As far as I was concerned, we returned from Craven Park with our mission accomplished.
We had travelled across knowing our fifth-placed position was under threat and returned still in fifth, which meant a trip to Hull on Saturday rather than to Bradford 24 hours earlier.
Some may argue that, given Hull’s results in their last two matches – they have, of course, won at Leeds and at home to Bradford – a trip to face the Bulls may be the better option.
However, we are happy to be travelling to the KC Stadium for what we know will be a truly fantastic occasion.
Yes, Hull are understandably playing with a tremendous amount of confidence.
But our confidence hasn’t been greatly affected by that defeat against Rovers, and we know that we are capable of going to the KC and getting the right result.
Earlier in the season we fought out a controversial 9-9 draw, when we genuinely believe victory should have been ours.
We don’t exactly intend going back there feeling we’ve got a point to prove, but we do know we have the ability to give Hull a very rough ride.
And we believe we have earned the right to progress further in the play-offs.
I believe the players deserve their reward for the way they remained strong when we opened up the season with those seven straight defeats.
We are all incredibly proud that we have become the first club in Super League to have reached the play-offs from the position of bottom at Easter.
It just shows how much we have gone on to achieve since then.
That awful start to the year has definitely made us far stronger as a group.
We stuck together, and we will stick together again during the play-offs to gain our reward.
But while we know it’s how we perform as a team that will be the key to our success, it’s only right that I single out one particular player for praise at this stage.
That player is Stephen Wild.
We’re proud to have reached the play-offs for the first time and we’re also proud that the Giants have finally had a player named in the Super League Dream Team.
It’s fitting recognition for a superb player, but I hope that in the next few weeks Stephen (right) – and the rest of us – have even more to celebrate!