YOU HAVE ups and downs in sport and the last week has been a down.
It is difficult dealing with a defeat like the one at Castleford.
You don’t expect something like that and it hurts everybody – players as well as fans.
I wasn’t involved, but that didn’t make it any less painful.
In fact, it was maybe worse because I could not do anything to help or affect what was going on.
It hurts conceding that many points and the harsh fact is we blatantly weren’t good enough. After a result such as that one it isn’t a case of everybody forgetting about it and carrying on regardless.
We have had a tough week, which we deserved to. We came in on Friday to dissect things, which is never a nice experience and there was a lot of soul-searching done.
But I think it’s important you don’t over-analyse and look too deeply into that one game. Our previous three matches were quite positive, especially in defence.
We were missing seven blokes through illness, injury or, in my case, suspension and that obviously had an effect.
That said, there’s no excuses. We have a 30-man squad and we should not be conceding 12 tries whoever takes the field.
It is probably a cliche, but times like this are a test of character. We’ve had too many of these over the past year and we can’t keep coming out saying ‘we are hurting, we are trying and we will turn things around’.
We’ve got to back that up with actions on the field, beginning tonight against Catalans. The bottom line is we have to be much, much better.
I think Catalans is a good game to have at this stage; they are a strong side and the crucial thing is we are at home.
Catalans are in good form, unbeaten so far this year, but it is a game we will go into believing we can win – which is the case every week.
We back ourselves to beat anybody if we play well and we’ve proved in the past we can do that.
I am sure the fans are frustrated and upset after a record points defeat. You will have your views about what we should do and where we go from here, but all I can say is we have rocked up to training this week, analysed what we need to analyse and will be going into tonight’s game well-prepared and determined to put things right.
It is just about putting last week behind us and looking forward now. Catalans are big, dogged and with lots of skill.
It will be a good test for us, but we just have to focus on getting our game right. Attitudinally, we need a reaction – that is what sport is all about.
Everybody loses from time to time, it is how you respond that counts and says the most about you as individuals and a team.
That is what makes you take to the field. We want to turn things around, but we can’t be too emotional, we have got to do the right things – we have to be smart and stick to our plan and our processes.
We can’t go out there too aggressively, but we will need to front-up physically. We didn’t do that last week and got rolled.
Cas are probably the best team at playing behind quick rucks and off fast play-the-balls. Catalans will have taken note of where we were punished.
It is a good challenge, but we have had these sorts of tests before and more often than not we have come through stronger.
I am confident there will be a good reaction. The important thing is the boys can’t wait for 8pm and the first whistle.
We have to make sure last week was a one-off and it doesn’t become two scrappy games and then three or four and we end up like last year.
It is still early in the season – there’s 19 games to go and that’s plenty of time to turn things around and climb up the ladder.
We are still in the top-eight and if we can win our next three or four games we will be in a very healthy position.
We just have to make sure we come up with the right response, get out there tonight and play well and make sure last week does not linger.