I love the derby.
We’re going out there competing for two points but the build-up, the atmosphere, and the intensity on the day, makes it feel more like a final.
If the salary cap increase helps keep our stars here, it has to be goodLiam Farrell
I’ve been involved in these derbies for a few years, and thankfully we’ve done well in the Good Friday meetings.
I’m not sure why that is – we don’t prepare any differently to the derbies later in the season. Waney is great at getting players fired up and, while he will do it for this one, his job is certainly easier – we don’t need to get up for this one.
Both teams have a lot of local lads in their squads, and I think that not only makes it more special, but it rubs off on the other lads in the teams.
And I know it’s become a bit of a cliche saying form goes out the window, but it’s true. There have been times we’ve played them and they’ve been flying, unbeaten, and we’ve been down on numbers and still got the win.
So we’ll not be looking at their recent performances because they won’t matter too much. We expect them to turn up.
They’ve certainly got the players to test us. In particular, big Alex Walmsley carries the ball well for them, he makes a lot of metres, Matty Smith is a smart halfback who will be looking for a big game, and Mark Percival is going well at centre.
I didn’t know too much about him when he came into the England squad last year, other than he was an exciting prospect, and he showed he belonged at that level – he’s a quality player, and they have many more across the park.
So do we. Which is why I think this is going to be a fantastic match.
It looks like we’ll have a few bodies back for this one. Certainly, it’ll be great to see Micky McIlorum out there again – it’s been a long road back for him – and all the lads are pleased for him.
But I want to stress, we’ve not used our absences as an excuse for the fact we haven’t won in four games.
I honestly believe, and I know the lads feel the same way, we put out teams capable of getting wins in those matches.
And that was the frustrating thing, because we were in the games until the last 10 minutes.
Even last Thursday night, we were disappointed with some of the things we did, but we got it back to 20-10 and had a chance at the end.
Saints obviously decided to sack Keiron Cunningham earlier this week.
Without knowing the ins and outs, I thought it was a bit early in the season, but the club obviously decided it’s time for a change. It shows what a tough environment sport is, especially for coaches. When I heard he had gone, I thought, ‘Saints will get a reaction from this’. You often get it when there’s a change to the coaches – this game was already going to be an intense one, and this has added to it a bit more.
The big news last week was the decision to raise the salary cap. I’m glad. I’ve not been playing too long but it’s been time to increase it – if it helps keep some of our best players in Super League, it’s got to be a good thing.