“Everything happens for a reason.”
It’s a phrase I regularly use and if you add a positive outlook to it you can find it very useful.
This weekend we made great use of a weekend off with many of the boys heading to the sun with their family for what may prove to be a very useful break.
Neil chose to start the week with some fun, taking the lads paint balling which some found to be more brutal than a game of rugby and have the bruises to prove it.
This was backed up with a long weekend off in readiness for a tough few weeks on the road.
Now had we not been knocked out of the Challenge Cup we would have been focusing on a trip to Wakefield, putting in all our energy leaving us sapped irrespective of the result.
I don’t believe there was anything good for us to gain from that fixture as if we went there and got beat there would be a lack of belief from everyone that we could achieve promotion and if we won perhaps an air of overconfidence and a significant warning sign to Super League clubs that we are a real threat.
Last season I believe the fact we had beaten Salford and Wakefield alerted them and in particular Wakefield who made radical changes because they were at significant risk of relegation.
Whilst it created a positive wave of publicity and belief for our club it left us with backed up fixtures and entering the qualifiers low on energy with lots of players taking to the field patched up.
Instead whilst watching the results from a relaxed vantage point we could draw some confidence that the Championship and Super League are much closer than years gone by.
Forgetting the fantastic performance of Oldham against Hull KR in the previous round we saw a tight game between Halifax and Widnes which was only decided in the closing stages.
Wigan put 50 on Dewsbury but so did Bradford a few weeks earlier and we posted 40 there ourselves.
Batley showed great spirit against Catalans and kept in there until half time and again the score wasn’t so flattering to the Catalans who have and will beat Super League teams by a similar margin.
They are also very worthy of their top four position as are Warrington who had perhaps the most comfortable result of the round against Oldham. So that leaves the impressive Toulouse who rightly took our place against Wakefield and we’re in a six-point ball game until two late tries made the scoreline look less competitive than the game actually was.
Whilst the Championship doesn’t have a team in the quarter-finals this year it can be proud of how it has measured up against its higher opposition.
And from that I draw confidence as we see Fui return to training along with Willie Tonga’s return to selection, both of whom, when it comes down to it, will have pretty fresh legs from their absences.
We are in a good place knowing we aren’t quite ticking yet but we’ll aware of what we need to do with the inner belief we can do it, and nobody will be able to draw any inferences until that first game against a Super League side in the 8s.
A lot of social media speculation states that the club have sacked Rangi Chase.
Now believe it or not, as the owner, such a decision would have been run by me.
So I am pretty certain that this is not the case.
Rangi came off injured at Batley and that is all there is to it.
This kind of speculation is not helpful to anyone, let alone someone like Rangi.
It would be helpful if people dealt with facts and left the club to run how it deems in its best interests and those of its fans.