Domestic competition enhanced by Gareth Widdop – Luke Gale

IT’S GREAT to see a player of Gaz Widdop’s quality in Super League and it’ll be good to cross swords with him and Warrington Wolves tonight.
Gareth Widdop.Gareth Widdop.
Gareth Widdop.

Gaz was my half-back partner through the 2017 World Cup and I know just how good he is.

It was a real boost to the competition when he decided to play over here after doing so well in the NRL.

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I did Sky with him a couple of weeks back and it was good to meet up with him again; he is a great talent and a very laid-back character.

Luke Gale.Luke Gale.
Luke Gale.

It was his first game last week and it seems like he has fitted in really well. I think being from Halifax helps, because he’s used to all this rain, cold and wind!

His missus probably won’t be quite as happy, especially when they woke up on Monday and it was snowing, but he’s a great player and we’ll have to be good to deal with him tonight.

The same goes for their team in general. They have an endless amount of good talent so we will have to be on our game.

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I’ve played with a few of them for England, including Daz Clark, Chris Hill and Stefan Ratchford so there’s a few good friends there.

Richie Myler and Luke Gale tackle Niall Evalds.Richie Myler and Luke Gale tackle Niall Evalds.
Richie Myler and Luke Gale tackle Niall Evalds.

That makes it interesting for me, but team-wise it’s a big game. We are under no illusions, we know Warrington are a good side and they want to be up there this year so we will have to be better than we were last Saturday. We got the job done in the end, but we were a bit scratchy. We can’t afford to start slowly tonight.

Their middles are strong, Chris Hill is back and their backline speaks for itself so we will have to be good for 80 minutes.

Conditions are the biggest leveller at this time of year. It was blowing a gale, so to speak, last week so the game at Salford was tight, with not much expansive football.

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It was so windy I couldn’t even keep the ball on the cone when I was kicking. It was one of those where you just have to make do.

There’s a saying in golf: ‘they don’t paint a picture on the scorecard’. That’s exactly right, it was two points, we have reviewed it and we know we have to be better.

There were a lot of poor things, but we did some good ones in the second half and we’ll learn from it.

The most important thing at this time of year is the two points and we will look to get better week in and week out.

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The encouraging aspect of last week for us was being able to win when we’d been behind and weren’t playing well.

That’s what I spoke about at half-time. It was one of those halves when everything I did went wrong.

As a half-back, I have had those before. I think when you are a bit younger and maybe you are just coming through, after you’ve made a few mistakes you don’t really want to get on the ball.

Obviously I have played in games like that and the more errors you make, the more you want to make up for it.

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It was a nightmare of a first half, but I spoke at half-time and said we were two points down and we might not play as bad as that again all year.

That’s how poor we were and we were only two points behind.

I knew if we could flip our mentality and come up with some possession, stop making errors and kick the ball into the right spots, we could win the game.

That’s what was very pleasing.

We spoke about it at half-time and we went out and did it in the second half. I was proud of that. Particularly in bad weather; it takes a gutsy performance and you have to scrap your way to wins throughout the season.

Look at Wigan. I think they are probably the best team at that. Without actually playing great they just defend their way to wins.

In both our last two games we’ve only let two tries in so there are positive signs, but we know we’ve still got a lot to work on.