With Ian Watson isolating to avoid passing on illness onto his staff, Luke Robinson took the reigns at Huddersfield as Watson stood alone in the stand away from the action.
It didn’t matter as the Giants blew Leeds apart in the opening 30 and took a 22-0 lead on their way to a 30-16 triumph.
But it wasn’t the team’s fast start Robinson praised but rather the character of the side: “I thought we showed a lot of character. When you lose your main half in Jack Cogger it makes it difficult. We had to move people around.
“Jake Wardle had a head knock at one point and we had to shuffle the whole left edge.
“We had a little bit of adversity within the game but I thought they handled it well.
This character surely began showing itself early in the week when Watson got ill. Robinson explained the situation calling Watson an “unbelievable coach.”
“He’s been there for the vast majority of the week really,” Robinson said, “He gets the vast majority of his work done at the beginning of the week. I just put the cherry on the top at the end of the week. The cake was pretty much made before he got ill and I just had to do my thing.
“What makes an unbelievable coach is everyone knows their role. So when someone does step away, we all know what he expects. Even though he was sat in the stands giving me messages, I kind of knew what the message was going to be before it got to me.”
He also gave an update on Jack Cogger: “I’m not sure yet. When Chris McQueen made his break he just felt his right hip spasm. So until the physios asses him tomorrow we won’t know.”
That occurred during the momentum of the match from Chris lightning McQueen who again showed his try scoring prowess with a 70 metre effort however it didn’t surprise Robinson: “When he first came over, he got a break away try and I realised how quick he was. Sometimes it can take him a bit to get going but once he gets going he’s really fast.”
It’s been a tough time for the Giants, not only with Watson’s illness and injuries tonight but also on the back of Challenge Cup heartache.
However, Robinson says the club are using it as a catalyst: “I give my own experiences to the group. I’ve been there. It took me a long time to get over. Your childhood ambition to have an opportunity to win a Challenge Cup and to fall so close. It took me a long time. What I like about our group is how quickly they’ve regrouped. We’ve used it as a bit of a catalyst onto better things. They say you have to lose one to win one and hopefully that is the case for us.”
However, with England taking centre stage, their mission takes a nice break next week and the players will be getting a rest according to the former halfback: “We’re going to give them a bit of a rest.”
It gives Huddersfield time to get players back and he gave updates on two key players: “Theo will be a little bit longer, Olly Russell will be back.”