It’s quite exciting to be back at home after so long away.
We’ve been on the road for seven games in a row – during which time, a new pitch has been put down at the DW – and the players are buzzing to get back as much as the fans are.
I trained again this week after a couple of weeks off with an ankle problem, and hopefully I should be okay.
Matches between Leeds and ourselves usually deliver – hopefully it isn’t as nervy as our meeting in April, when we needed Sam Tomkins’ drop-goal to secure the win.
I know the Rhinos haven’t been getting the wins in recent weeks, they’ve obviously got a few players missing, but no matter who has played they have been fighting until the end.
We saw that when they played against St Helens not long ago and last week, they only narrowly lost to Catalans – we need to put in a performance and put them under pressure.
The game could also see Joe Greenwood make his Wigan debut.
Considering he only arrived from Australia on Sunday, he looked sharp in training the following morning.
He has settled in quite well and it will be interesting to see how it goes. It’s good to have him on board.
And mentioning back-rowers, well done to John Bateman last weekend – not only for playing for England, but finishing the match at hooker! In last week’s column I discussed the options
Wayne Bennett had in that position if James Roby didn’t do the full 80 minutes.
I thought Jonny Lomax may have been a shout.
Or possibly Sean O’Loughlin. Maybe even Jake Connor.
In fact, of all the names I would have thought about, Batty would have been pretty low on the list!
But fair play, he did a good job there and he even rounded off a good, ultimately-comfortable win with the final try.
I was really impressed with how they played.
I sensed altitude would play a part, but they ground their way through the first 20 minutes and showed what they could do.
It came across well on TV and was an enjoyable game.
I’ve never played in high-altitude, but I’ve trained in it in South Africa and you do fatigue a lot quicker, you start to breathe heavier a lot faster. But England found some rhythm and managed to get the win which sets it up nicely for the series at the end of the year.
I couldn’t watch last Friday’s loss as a neutral but, had I been, it would have been a good spectacle.
Sadly for us, Cas got the goods at the end.
With a few minutes to go, I thought I’d be happy with the draw. The drop-goal attempts weren’t great – they had the best of a bad bunch, to win it.
Result aside, there were some positives.
Gabe Hamlin had to move to the back-row and he dealt with that well, and Liam Paisley also looked good considering he was thrown in at the deep-end. He got his chance and he held his own, and caused them trouble at times with the way he ran his lines.
He’s let the coaches know that he’s ready to play at that level.