Our columnist on Super League semi-final charge and the return of the Lions
The Super 8s fixtures are out and the first game is perfect for us.
With the position we’re in at the moment and with Castleford right behind us, I think if we can get a win there it sets us up really nicely for the Super 8s because it gives us a bit of a gap.
If we can keep that it’ll give us the home semi-final we want.
After that we’ve got a trip to Catalans, and going there is pretty tough so that’s a big challenge for us.
We’re very capable of going there and doing a job, but all these games in the Super 8s will be hard.
We have to focus on them, but if we can start off with a good win against Cas and get some momentum going into that game, it could be two from two to start off with.
We’re pretty realistic that Saints are going to win the League Leaders’ Shield and rightly so, they’ve been very good.
The main aim for us is to try and guarantee ourselves a home semi which finishing second would do.
This week it was announced prop Joe Bullock will be joining us next season.
I’ve not seen much of him but I’ve heard some good reports about him.
He was in our Academy - a bit after my time - and he’s a pretty big unit so a good pre-season under his belt at Wigan then he could cause some trouble in Super League.
I think he’ll be really looking forward to the challenge of pushing himself in our environment and trying to find a place in our 17.
We’re also welcoming Mick Cassidy back to the club next season when he joins as our Head of Youth. I think it’s a really good move.
I worked with him a little bit at Widnes, I did three games there before I made my debut at Wigan, and I think he’s a really good asset to have.
He’s a past player who knows a lot about the history of the club, and what the club expects in terms of standards and he can bring that, not just to the young lads coming through but even lads in the first team. It’s a good move he’s on board.
When I was growing up I remember watching him play and he was a no-nonsense back rower and he always defended really well and took tough carries.
If he brings that kind of attitude and mentality for our club I think it can be good for us.
This weekend we’re without a game but I’m really looking forward to watching the Challenge Cup semi-finals – they could be two good games.
I think the double header is a really good idea. Hopefully they’ll get a good crowd, sometimes semi-finals have been quite stale and hopefully they’ll be interesting games.
Catalans are travelling well and there’s Leeds v Warrington.
Leeds could cause an upset, they’ve not had much form all year but they’ll be looking to hang their hat on getting to Wembley. It shows the unpredictability of the league, if they could pull a one-off result and get to Wembley it shows the cup is completely different to the league, where they will have to contend with being in the middle 8s.
It’s also good to see Great Britain will be touring again next year.
It’s been a while since that’s been on so to bring it back and having the other nations involved with England will be a good idea.
It will be interesting to see the players who do get picked.
There are a few from other nations I think could get intot hat squad.
It’s also a Tour Down Under and I’ve been on similar ones with England and they are the kind of trips you remember for the rest of your life.
They don’t come round often, but it’s the best way to do it – keep them few and far between – because they will be cherished a lot more.