The 2014 Super League play-off series starts tomorrow and Huddersfield Giants fans must be feeling quietly confident.
Head coach Paul Anderson and his troops hit the JJB Stadium in Wigan tomorrow evening and they can make a real statement of intent as far as reaching this year’s Grand Final goes.
And, while I do try to shy away from predictions, personally I think this year’s Giants have even more reason to believe that a place at Old Trafford is a genuine possibility than last year’s League Leaders Shield winners.
While I know that Mr Anderson would probably disagree with the following observation, but in finishing third this season his side arguably have more impetus and potential then the team who lifted some silverware at the John Smith’s Stadium last September.
There was a sense at the end of the 2013 regular season that having achieved something great, the Giants almost had to get up and go again in the play-offs.
That is not to denigrate the achievement of the club in topping last season’s table – it was indeed a remarkable achievement well worth celebrating to the full – but to my eyes last season’s play-off push almost felt like a fresh start.
What the 2014 Giants have got is a point still to prove and a whole juggernaut load of momentum behind that push.
Huddersfield are arguably the form team going into the play-offs and, while the draw at Warrington and the final game win at home to St Helens were hard-earned, the whole point is that those points were earned by a side prepared to tough it out and refuse to believe that they were beaten.
That mentality this year will not be punctuated by civic receptions and holding trophies aloft for the fans, but will seamlessly continue with the sights set firmly on October 11 and playing on a certain big stage in Salford.
At this moment, as the play-offs begin, I have every reason to believe that the Giants will give me cause to have to work in Greater Manchester on a certain Saturday in three and a bit weeks time.
There is apparently still some residual power left in the press.
After last week’s flight of whimsy in this column about the joy of football comics, the very kind people who will publish ‘Roy of the Rovers: The Official Autobiography of Roy of the Rovers’ on October 9, very kindly sent me a copy for which I am very grateful.
Buoyed by this unexpected upshot, this week I would like to say that I also have a great love of Kawasaki motorcycles, Fender Customshop guitars and Rickenbacker basses, holidays in northern Italy and midget gems.