The Liam Farrell Column: We have to control battle in the middle

Michael McIlorum
Michael McIlorum

Last week’s loss to St Helens was tough to take but I suppose there were a few positives to come out of it.

There was a pretty good debut from Chris Hankinson. I thought he went really well and for the team we had out and the players we had missing, the effort we put in was really good.

They got a scratchy try in the first half that gave them the lead and I thought overall they were just that little bit better than us and we couldn’t keep up with them. To think we’ve got players to come back into that team it’s a real big positive for us going into the Super 8s.

It is really frustrating being on the sidelines though. Sat there, with the game being out of your control and you can’t really have any involvement in it. But it is what it is and you can’t do much about it, but I thought the lads had a real dig and it came up a little bit short. I’m sure with a few players back we’ll give it a really good go.

With my broken shoulder blade I’m probably another eight or nine weeks away yet but we’ve still got a few to come back in the next few weeks so hopefully that will make a difference for us. Hopefully for me everything should heal pretty well. We have an important game tomorrow and hopefully we’ll have a good squad for that and get a good position going into the run in to the play-offs.

Catalans have danger across the park but Mickey McIlorum is playing some of the best rugby I’ve seen him play. He’s running around like a wild man. He’s attacking pretty well too so he’s a big threat for Catalans, but there are other players in that team who can cause you a lot of trouble.

But we’re well aware of that and will have to make sure we’re on with their middles because they are a big threat at the moment and they’ve got halves that can cause trouble too.

It’s a big game for us because we need to finish second, but Catalans can still climb the ladder too.

Knowing Mickey he’ll leave all the handshakes and catching up with old mates until after the game. He’ll be pretty switched on and focused on the game and he’ll find it sweet if they win.

It’s then on to a week off for the Challenge Cup semi-finals. It’s frustrating we’re not involved but we didn’t deserve to be because we were off on the day when we played Warrington in the quarter-final. Full credit to the teams in there but we’ll be making sure we get the most out of it. We’ll be training all next week and putting in some reps to make sure we get things right for the Super 8s because it’s an important seven games for us and we want to be involved in that play-off at the end of the year.

Speaking of the 8s, I’m not a fan of four at the bottom and the fact players can lose their jobs at the click of someone’s fingers, just one loss. It’s a pretty harsh way to go about things.

Players don’t have the financial stability to just not have a job and not a payment coming in every month. It’s pretty tough to do it that way.

If there were a few structure changes I think a lot of players would welcome it because it’s pretty brutal at the bottom at the moment.

It seems like the structure of the top eight is pretty competitive but you see it in the bottom four as well. I’m sure there will have to be changes and Robert Elstone said there could be and I think a lot of players will be happy to see them.