08th February 2018


Rick Stone spoke to the media following the Giants 20-6 victory over Warrington Wolves

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Head Coach Rick Stone was happy with the way the Claret and Gold responded, following last wek’s defeat to Hull.

“I just think a little bit of desperation, a bit of urgency, definitely a bit more competitive. Obviously, the conditions were tough today, a bit harder to score points. We thought before the game, plenty of tries from kicks, and I think most of the tries came from kicks. You just have to compete on every play. You never know when you’re going to defend a kick, or get a chance. Darnell scored off Jake Mamo’s kick, a scratchy kick that came out of nothing. We got a good response considering how we went in the second half last week, with our effort. I thought our effort was great. Seventeen players had a real crack and just competed for the whole game, which was the most pleasing part.”

Despite the conditions, Stone was thrilled with the lack of errors from the Giants, and was pleased with the improvements that they made:

“It was pretty slippery, drizzly rain all day. It's that time of the year and that’s what you’re going to get, so you have to play with the conditions, hang on to the ball, and for most of the part we did pretty well. We didn’t make too many mistakes. I think we made three in the first half and five in the second half. Any time you make less than ten mistakes, you give yourself a chance in those conditions, and we were pretty happy with that, so a couple of tries came off kicks and a lot of good goal-line defence. We didn’t have an awful lot of goal-line defence last week. It was obviously a bit harder to score points this week but we were more proactive in our defensive line and we came up and forced the issue a little bit, in the conditions, which definitely helped.”

After losing at the KCOM last week, the boss believed that it was extremely important to get off the mark in the Betfred Super League for this season. He put emphasis on the whole collective performance, from numbers one to seventeen:

“We had a few young players in the squad, obviously some senior players not there. It was good to see everyone stand up. Some of the lesser names stood up and played really well, played really tough for us, which is great, get some experience and confidence, moving forward to our next game. We talked a little bit about losing the first week, nobody really wants to go home with two. You’re disappointed when you lose the first week. We just wanted to compete really hard to make sure that it wasn’t going to be us to lose our first two games, which isn’t the best position to be in.”

Despite Jake Mamo being disallowed a try late in the first half, and Bryson Goodwin notching two extra points for the visitors to narrow the gap, Stone maintained a positive frame of mind, as did the players.

“I was pretty confident that we could repeat the first half’s effort. After talking to the boys at half-time, they were really upbeat and really positive. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy second half. They knew they had to fight for everything. I thought, we had it on replay upstairs, that it was a try to be honest. I suppose the referee’s will sort that out, but the pleasing part from us in the second half, compared to last week, was that we came back and repeated what we did in the first. We got through a game in which the conditions weren’t great. There was a bit of a lack-of-bounce of the ball at some times, from some of the kicks, but you just need to be around the ball and give yourself a chance, and I thought we did that a bit better tonight.”

On the injury front, the week off could be coming at the right time for the Claret and Gold, as star-man Jermaine McGillvary could return to action for the home tie against St Helens. The fresher injuries coming off the back of tonight’s performance does not worry Stone either:

“He’s been close really, both times. He’s still got a bit of soreness in his knee, which is frustrating everyone really, our medical team, and Jerry himself. With the week off next week for us, and then we play Saints the week after, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t get that one, so that’ll be a positive for us to get him back, and there might be a few of the other boys in the mix by that time too so that will be a nice problem to have.”

“Gasky (Lee Gaskell) came back and the doctor thought he was ok to go back, and Tyler put his head in the wrong place in the first tackle in the second half and didn’t come back, so it just put a bit of pressure on our bench. We had to have a bit of flexibility. Hinchy (Ryan Hinchcliffe) is usually our flexible bloke, who fills a few spots for us, particularly defensively. He’s agile enough to defend a bit more out wide so he did that for us a bit tonight, and as he does always, put in another whole-hearted performance.”

Rounding off a successful night at the office, Rick Stone reflected on the good, solid performances from the backs, but is more pleased about what the Giants did in defence:

“We had a good chat before the game. We knew what the conditions were going to be and that they were going to stay similar throughout the game, so we had to be patient first of all. We had to work our way through the sets to get to the end of our set and give ourselves a chance with the kick. I think generally they did that pretty well. Some things weren’t exactly right, but I suppose in conditions like we had tonight, you have to give a bit of latitude. I thought overall, both boys (half backs) played well. The hookers played ok, Jake was a lot more safe and consistent at the back so that helped us a little bit. Our back three carried the ball back ok so that gave us a chance anyway. Our goal-line defence was probably our biggest improvement on the night.”


Heikki Kovalainen




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