Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown is backing his out-of-form Giants to reach Wembley after holding an inquest into his side’s stunning defeat to lowly Castleford Tigers.
The Giants coach was left shell-shocked after watching his side crumble 52-6 on Sunday, stretching a dismal run which has seen the Galpharm club win just once in eight Stobart Super League matches.
It sparked some soul-searching at a team meeting this week and Brown is confident that the reasons behind the side’s humiliating performance have been tackled.
Not that the coach – who will leave Huddersfield at the end of the season to join St Helens – was willing to share the problems when he faced the media yesterday in the build-up to Sunday’s Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final with Warrington Wolves.
Asked to elaborate, Brown responded: “That’s none of your business, without being rude.
“We had a lot of people who didn’t try and weren’t committed at all the other day.
“There is always an underlying factor for why that happens. Players don’t go out there deliberately to do that.
“We’ve based this club in my time here on trying to out-work and out-enthuse sides and we’ve done it with great effect a lot of times against teams with much more talented rosters.
“When you discover what that underlying factor is, you can move forward. It would appear that we’ve solved some issues.”
Brown described Sunday as his “worst day” since joining the Giants and admits he considered his position in the wake of the heavy defeat.
“The boys are good (this week). It was a disappointing day (on Sunday), people don’t go out deliberately not to try.
“When people don’t try, you’ve got to look at that because they don’t not try for no reason,” he added. “There’s obvious issues.
“You’ve got to look at a number of things. You don’t just blame players. That’s easy.
“Some coaches like to call the players all the names under the sun but, when people don’t put in a good effort, you’ve got to look and find out why they’re not putting the effort in and then you can move forward.”
Huddersfield’s decline from league leaders to seventh place in Super League has seen them win once in two months, against lowly London Broncos.
But Brown insists Huddersfield can use their underdogs tag to their benefit as they look to return to Wembley by defeating the opponents – Tony Smith’s Warrington – who beat them in the final three years ago.
“Everyone has the same dream at the start of the year, everyone wants to make the Cup final and get to Wembley,” he said.
“It’s a place which all English people are very fond of and carries a lot of history.
“Fortunately for us we are one of four teams with a chance of going there.
“We have some good battles with Warrington – won some and lost some – and bashed each other up a few times. Obviously, they beat us at Wembley a few years ago, we knocked them out of the Cup semis the year after that, and they beat us in the play-offs last year.
“But it’s a friendly type of rivalry and both sides enjoy playing each other.
“Warrington play a good style of footy, as we do, and they have players across the park who are State of Origin or internationals.
“The great thing with the Challenge Cup is it doesn’t matter what happened last week, or the week before. There’s no form against us, no league table, and that’s why sides like Sheffield beat Wigan and there’s upsets in the cup. That’s what happens.
“As a group of players you have just got to get up for this one game, what has happened in the past is irelevent. We could have won or lost our last eight; the Cup is a totally different competition and you just have to focus on a one-off game and play well.”
Leading tryscorer Luke George is likely to return after suffering concussion against Castleford, while England prop Eorl Crabtree comes back into the side after being rested last weekend.
But Australian forward Luke O’Donnell will be absent with a mystery injury.
Warrington are almost certain to be without Australian forward Trent Waterhouse after he was taken to hospital with an eye injury during Monday night’s win over Catalan Dragons.
Castleford Tigers have lifted their ban on England international Rangi Chase following the completion of an internal investigation into a breach of club discipline.
The club confirmed that Chase’s suspension, handed down last month, related “solely to matters concerning consumption of alcohol and non-attendance at training sessions” but said that no details relating sanctions against the player would be made public.