Your season is about to start. Can you feel the excitement growing ahead of tomorrow’s trip to St Helens?
This is always an exciting time of the year, and there is a sense that the boys are ready to play.
We’re going to Saints on the back of two very encouraging trial games (the 38-6 victory at Hull KR and 26-16 home triumph over Catalans Dragons), which in itself is a reason to be feeling confident. We’ve worked hard throughout pre-season and I think we could all see the signs of that hard work with the way we played.
And the performances of some of the players from the younger end of the squad, in particular, has given everyone an extra lift.
You know that when the trials are out of the way, you’re probably less than two weeks away from playing your opening games, and that’s been reflected in the training sessions.
The general mood is one of ‘it’s all systems go and let’s crack on!’
Obviously, only time will tell if we’ve got all our pre-season work right and we’re in the right shape for this time of the year, but the general mood is pretty positive.In contrast to the Giants’ two strong pre-season trials, Saints apparently struggled in their major warm-up against Widnes Vikings the other week. Do you think we can read anything into that?
I did go to that game to have a close look at the way Saints were looking, and I think I agreed with (head coach) Keiron Cunningham that they need to put the horse before the cart. It’s a case that they need to get forward and grind in rather than anything else.
But Kez is a smart coach and it’s something they’ll fix up.
I did hear one or two whispers that they had a fairly honest video session in the wake of their Widnes performance, so we’re well aware there could be a potential backlash on Friday night.How big a blow is it going to be without (hooker/half-backs) Kyle Wood and Luke Robinson available?
We’d obviously rather have them available than unavailable.
But we do still have quality players in those positions to call upon.
All it means with Woody being injured (quad) and the decision to pick and choose which games Robbo plays, is that we go with Ryan Hinchcliffe at hooker and Kruise Leeming gets the first chance to show us he should be playing on a regular basis. We fully expect him to rise to that challenge.
Kruise is well aware that Woody could be back within a month and that Robbo is standing by if required, so it’s up to him to make we can’t consider that option.It’s well documented that Robbo has had his fair share of injuries over the last few years (head knocks and back problems have been a recurring theme), so does this mean we won’t be seeing as much of him this season?
Robbo knows and fully understands that this year he’s going to play when needed. He appreciates his time on the field could be fairly limited.
But I’ve got nothing but admiration for Robbo and the things he does for this team and the way he’s continually prepared to put his body on the line for the Giants cause.
He’s such a tough, tough competitor, and one we’re so pleased to have at our club.
It’s come to the stage where he does find it difficult to train on the harder surfaces, and the fact the wet weather has restricted the time we’ve been able to train out on the field has not helped him at all.
But everyone knows that when we do see Robbo on the Super League stage, he’ll give us nothing less than 100%
Robbo’s No9 shirt has, of course, gone to new signing Ryan Hinchcliffe for this season. How good has the former Melbourne Storm player been for you?
He’s been good for me, good for the rest of the staff, and good for the whole club.
I personally get a lot off him, because of the environment he’s come from and the way he’s been prepared to share his experiences with me.
He’s been part of a fantastic winning culture at Melbourne for many years, and the little things he says and the suggestions he makes have been invaluable.
But while he’s been good for us, I’d like to think we’ve been good for him.
Being back at hooker has helped bring some freshness back into his game, and in the 50-60 minutes he played for us in the trials you could see how good he is.