WELL DONE to Warrington and Wigan for putting pride back into Super League.
When it comes to international matches we are all on the same side and I was delighted to see them both beat their Aussie opponents last week.
I think it is good for our game over here and it was much-needed after the last couple of years in the World Club Series.
The English teams, including ourselves last season, haven’t performed in previous years and there has been a lot of talk about how far we are behind the NRL and that we can’t compete with them even when everything is supposedly in our favour.
I think the Aussies under-estimate the game over here and it doesn’t get the respect it deserves, so to beat them 2-0 last weekend was a great achievement and a real boost for our sport.
And it wasn’t just the results, it was the way they won that really stood out. They didn’t just scrape through by hanging on to the lead, Warrington were 24-6 up on Brisbane at half-time and won 27-18 and Wigan turned a 10-0 interval advantage against Cronulla into a 22-6 victory so both were very convincing.
The Super League teams played some good rugby and Warrington didn’t make a mistake in the first half, so they showed what quality we have got in our competition.
Hopefully last week has set the World Club Series up for the future. Another Aussie whitewash might have meant the end of it, but I’d love to see it continue and go from strength to strength, with more teams taking part and really competitive games every year.
It would be great too if it could be staged over there in Australia. While their teams are coming over here they will always have the excuse that they are doing all the travelling and having to cope with the conditions.
Going over there and beating them in their own backyard would really show that Super League is something to be reckoned with.
I’ve been lucky enough to win a couple of World Club Challenges, against Melbourne and Manly and they are up there as highlights of my career.
It was great to see the Wigan lads celebrating, because being able to call yourself a world champion is something special.
You have to overcome a lot to win Super League and qualify for the World Club game and to come through an intense match like that – which all the ones I’ve played in have been – is a great feeling.
There’s a lot of pressure and the NRL play a different style, it’s not the open game we have over here, but it is very intense and as players you want that experience of something new.
You gain a lot from it and I think the England players on duty last week will be better for it when it comes to this year’s World Cup.
I’d have loved to have played against the Aussies last week, but at least we got our first win of the season and we can go into tonight’s game against Salford with some confidence.
That said, we have to be a lot better than we were at Leigh. Salford will fancy it and I think every team this year will have that approach.
There’s no easy games or any gimmies, everyone is capable of beating everyone. That’s what everybody wanted. Leigh gave us a real tussle and it will be the same tonight. Salford had a good second half against Wigan and at Huddersfield they were dogged and hung in and found a way to win.
They have got some resilience about them and they’ll have gained a bit of confidence from last week and from Todd Carney coming in.
It will be interesting to see how that dynamic works in coming weeks, because they are pretty settled at one, six and seven. That’s a strong part of their game and they have pivotal players who play to a structure and are very effective.
We won’t have to deal with the Carney threat, but it is about us getting our game right and being better with the ball and adding some attack to the defence we’ve shown in our first two matches.
We’ve had two trips over the Pennines and it’s great to be at Headingley for the first time this season, so we want to put on a decent show.