ENGLAND Knights international Michael Lawrence admits Huddersfield Giants are enjoying their rugby once more and that is driving their return to form.
The athletic loose-forward earned man-of-the-match honours in Easter Monday’s 36-16 victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, a much-needed second successive win after ending a four-match losing run at Salford Red Devils on Good Friday.
It means last year’s League Leaders’ Shield winners have finally arrested their worrying slump and moved back up into the play-off spots, admittedly still off the pace somewhat in seventh.
“I’ve enjoyed these last few games and there’s definitely a better atmosphere around the place,” said Lawrence, speaking to The Yorkshire Post.
“Everyone’s enjoying coming to training again and working hard.
“That win’s what we needed. It’s always good to get two points especially over Easter as it’s such a tough period.
“We just want to build on that now, build some consistency, but obviously the performance is going to have to be way better come Castleford at home.”
Given they are out of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup, Huddersfield have this weekend off and are not back in action until a week on Sunday when they host West Yorkshire rivals who have emerged as Super League’s surprise package.
“We’ll rest up but we need to get our attitude right in terms of getting around the field and finding that killer mentality,” continued Lawrence, his side having looked far from cohesive at times.
“We still haven’t got that at the moment.
“We wanted to put Wakefield to the sword in the second period and didn’t really do it.
“We let them back in, didn’t complete our sets and made a few silly errors so that’s what we need to try and fix up in training and get back into our game.”
Lawrence scored his second try of the season versus Trinity having earlier played a part – in unexpected fashion – in Jodie Broughton’s opening try.
The 24-year-old, who chalked up his 150th game for Huddersfield at Salford, found himself picking up a loose ball on the sixth tackle and having to kick.
His effort horribly sliced off his boot but straight into the arms of England centre Leroy Cudjoe, who maximised the opportunity to send his winger over.
“At first, I’d thought I’d got lost!” admitted Lawrence, who is more renowned for his work-rate in the middle than for his kicking ability.
“But I knew it was the last tackle and I’d seen the space in the corner and luckily Leroy’s got great skill hasn’t he?
“I knew he was on that side of the field...”
Lawrence has started the last two games at loose-forward as his battle with Chris Bailey, the experienced Australian signed from London Broncos, continues for the No 13 role.
“There’s always loads of competition in our pack but it just keeps you on your toes,” said Lawrence, who debuted for his home-town club in 2007, was integral in last season’s first place finish and has missed just one game this term.
“If you don’t play well you will be dropped the next week.
“That’s the main thing; stay on top of your game or you won’t be playing.”
Bradford managing director Steve Ferres has made a public apology for the Bulls’ humiliating Easter Monday defeat to Wigan.
The Bulls’ 84-6 loss at the DW Stadium was their worst in Super League, eclipsing their 70-6 defeat by Hull in 2012, as Francis Cummins’ team conceded 15 tries to the champions.
Ferres, who was appointed last month following Bradford’s takeover by Leeds businessman Marc Green, admits that the club hit a new low in their battle to avoid relegation and says an inquest into the “woeful” display is under way.
Ferres said: “On behalf of Bradford Bulls, I would like to apologise for what was a truly woeful and embarrassing display against Wigan Warriors.
“It was, without any doubt, the worst performance I have seen by a Super League side – and one of the worst I have ever seen.
“The squad has hit a low point and a root-and-branch review of what went wrong, why it happened and where we are going is now under way.”
Ferres insists that the club’s new administration remain determined to halt the slide as Cummins prepares his team for Sunday’s Tetley’s Challenge Cup fifth-round tie against Catalan Dragons at Odsal.