PEOPLE KEEP asking me what we’ve changed over the last few weeks. The answer is not very much.
Over the last few weeks we’ve carried on defending the way we were doing at the start of the year and our attack has begun to find its feet.
Defence has been the big thing for us. We worked hard on it in pre-season and we knew when we got that right the offence would come on the back of it.
It took a while, but we’ve started to see the fruits of that in the last three games. Combinations are beginning to gel. Matt Parcell, who is a key player for us at hooker, is settling in and we are looking a lot more fluid.
We are pretty happy with where we’re at, but by no means are we getting carried away or thinking we are out of the woods.
There’s still stuff we are not doing well enough. We had a good result at Huddersfield last week and we did a lot of good things, but the second half was too scrappy and we gave away too many errors and penalties.
We have a lot to work on and we need to be much better against Wigan tonight. The pleasing thing is we have proved we can score points and put teams under pressure.
That’s something we’ve struggled with over the past year or so, but we are getting to grips with it now.
The way we attack is tough to defend against, but tough to get right as well. There’s a lot of off-loading and some off-the-cuff stuff in there as well.
We are not the sort of team that’s structured and people watching know how we are going to play.
We like to play fast and be unpredictable and when it comes off it looks great. But the flip side is – like last year – when the off-loads aren’t flowing and the passes don’t stick.
When that happens we look pretty disjointed. There’s been more balance this year, with some good structure as well as the off-the-cuff stuff.
We have been getting some dangerous players into some good spaces and recently that has been working for us.
A lot was made of Gary Hetherington’s letter to fans after the Cas game. He said the playing side of things would be judged at the end of this month, but I don’t think that has had any bearing on our last three performances.
All we focus on is performance; we can’t worry about anything else going on in the club.
The Cas defeat was a tough one to take and after it we went away and looked at ourselves and our performances, but that’s no different to any other week.
Every week we try to build on the positives, reduce the negatives and just get better.
We aren’t a team that concentrates on blocks of games, we just focus on the next one.
We’ve done that, we’ve been managing games a bit better and the attack is starting to flow. We are in a good place at the moment, but we have to keep working and improving. Wigan tonight will give us a real test. They are the benchmark. Last year people wrote them off, but they still found a way to win games and they picked up the big prize at the end of the season.
They are a team that can cope when things go against them, they know how to stay in games and tough out important wins, and if we aren’t at our very best we know they will hurt us. We all remember what happened in 2012 when they were low on troops and came to Headingley and put 50 points on us.
Even though they lost to Hull last week, they showed what a good team they are. They were 22-0 down and to get it back to 22-20 with all the injuries they’ve got was really impressive.
You know what you’re going to get from Wigan, they are going to be intense and they’ll fight for every ball.
It will be a really physical battle, but we have prepared well and we want to continue the momentum we’ve started to build up.