JERMAINE McGILLVARY admits he is a big admirer of Justin Carney’s work.
As a fellow winger, the Huddersfield Giants man knows just how dangerous his robust Castleford Tigers counterpart – one of the most explosive attackers in Super League – can be.
There was a point in Thursday night’s game between the sides where McGillvary could have discovered that all too painfully.
With Huddersfield leading 12-0 in the 54th minute and an error-ridden Castleford desperately looking for a way back into the contest, Justin ‘The Beast’ Carney received the ball around 30m out and tried to muscle his way past his opposite wideman.
However, McGillvary, no shrinking violet himself, held firm and duly shoved the marauding Australian into touch.
At that point, amid that personal battle, victory – only a second for the Giants this term – seemed to be confirmed.
It was already a definitive point in the contest; Castleford had aimed their most dangerous weapon at the hosts and been repelled.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, McGillvary admitted: “He (Carney) is an outstanding player.
“Every time he plays, I watch him but especially the previous week against Wigan.
“I watched him then and he simply tore them to pieces.
“I knew I had to be on top form to stop him as I know how big and strong he is but I think, as a right-edge as a whole, we did a good job on him. He’s still a top player, though.”
Carney had, indeed, battered Wigan in a 42-14 destruction with two tries and some relentless surging raids but, like the Castleford team in its entirety, he was kept quiet by Paul Anderson’s men.
Granted, it was a far from convincing display from Giants, who had also flattered to deceive when picking up their first win versus Widnes in the game prior to this.
However, England Knights international McGillvary insisted the result was most important.
“It was definitely big for us that we backed up like that,” said the 26-year-old.
“We didn’t play great against Widnes and it was the same against Cas. We were good at times but for large periods we weren’t. It was a tough game and nil-nil for a long time (until the 38th minute) but we dug deep and in the end came through to get two back-to-back wins which is great for us.
“We’re still scraping out victories and we know a performance is not far away. As long as we keep getting wins and climb up the table, that’s all good, too.”
They now have an elongated preparation for the trip to Wakefield Trinity a week tomorrow.
McGillvary, who won man-of-the-match versus Castleford more for his sterling defence than anything else, is also winning his personal battles with wingers within his own club.
Fellow England Knight Jodie Broughton has not played since the opening day as Anderson plumps for McGillvary and the ever-reliable Aaron Murphy who, like the former, scored his second try of the season on Thursday.
“I’m definitely pleased with how I’ve started,” said McGillvary, who hails from Huddersfield and has scored 72 tries in just 112 league games for the club.
“We’ve got three first-team wingers here and all the same age of 26 and 27 years old.
“It’s going to be unlucky for someone to miss out each week and I’m just glad it’s not me.
“Obviously, Jodie’s a good friend of mine and I do feel sorry for him not playing but as long as we’re winning and he’s working hard to get back in, it’s good competition for all three of us.”
Huddersfield will seek to make it three successive wins – after three opening losses – when they visit Wakefield Trinity Wildcats tomorrow week.
“I’ve played there numerous times and it’s a tough place to go,” he added.
“It’s a nice small pitch for them, their fans are right behind them and it’s not going to be a walkover.
“I can see it being another tight game over there. We just need to cut out our silly mistakes and put them to the sword.”
But, finally, what did Anderson think of that McGillvary display against Carney who had scored a brace in such commanding fashion versus Wigan?
“If that was a tennis match, Jerry’s won that a set to love,” he said.
“He’s outplayed a very good player.”