The Liam Farrell Column: We're all so pleased to see Dom Manfredi in action
Our columnist on Manfredi's road to recovery, and what needs to be fixed in 8s
It was great to see Dom Manfredi back in action for the reserves last weekend.Dom got his own little crowd at the weekend and I think everyone was really pleased to see him get his spot. He played half a game and went really well. I think he’s happy to get a bit of confidence under his belt and start playing again because I know he was nervous.Hopefully these next few weeks he can get rid of all that and really focus on trying to get his spot in the team. People have not seen his dark times where he’s probably spent the best partof two years doing nothing but all the rehab and going through all the surgeries and stuff.For him to be back now and trying to force his way into the first team, a lot of people are proud of him. I think there would have been times where he might have thought is it worth carrying on playing as he’s had injuries like this beforebut to come back and get a couple of tries will do him the world of good.That’s his thing, to finish things off for us, and the more he can do that the better it will be when he gets his shot in the first team.
It was important we got our Super 8s off to a winning start against Castleford and we looked good, sharp and confident as we built a 20-0 lead.We played a lot of good rugby in the first half but then the second half we probably got a bit complacent and didn’t do the things we did early on in the first half to get us that lead. I think all the lads recognise that and know we can’t do it. We’ve done it a couple of games this year and it’s something we have to try and fix up, especially this weekend against Catalans.
I do think they’ll have thoughts on Wembley the week after they play us. Maybe they’ll rest a few players but that could go against us. They’ll be coming out firing. If they have a few young lads in there they might want to make a name for themselves and might play with a bit of confidence if we let them.Take in the fact of the travel, we’ll have to get over that pretty quickly and do a job when we get there.We also want to get the job done so we can go into the blank weekend because of Wembley on the back of a win.I’m sure the lads will get a chance to catch up with Michael McIlorum as well seeing as they’re over in France for a couple of days.I met up with him when he was here the other week and I’m sure he’ll show the lads a few sights and what he gets up to. All the lads will be looking forward to it.After the game the lads have a day or so there and there’ll be a bit of sightseeing and downtime after the game but I think that will be more enjoyable for them if they get the two points.Having a bit of a relaxing time with your mates is always better if you get the win.
I’m also aware Castleford play Warrington this weekend as well and that’s a big fixture for us. If we get two points we can see how that result goes and we could be in a confident position.With five games to go it will probably be ours to lose.
As much as we’d rather be preparing for a Cup final the week after, the timing of the week off is good for us in terms of our injuries. We’ve barely got anyone missing now.Lockers has been out a few weeks but he’s coming pretty good now and he’s looking at maybe playing the next couple of weeks, probably after the Challenge Cup Final.
We’re in a strong position with the squad at the moment and we’re trying to keep a healthy team.