Nathan Brown knows his double-chasing Huddersfield Giants side must achieve silverware soon or risk forever being deemed under-achievers.
The West Yorkshire club host Wigan Warriors in a table-topping Super League encounter this evening eager to repeat their opening-day win over the Challenge Cup holders.
Huddersfield currently trail the leaders only by points difference and, like their in-form opponents, are just 80 minutes away from Wembley, a cup semi-final against Warrington lined up for July.
However, unlike perennial winners Wigan, Huddersfield have so far promised but failed to deliver a trophy despite the clear strides made under their highly-rated coach since his arrival in 2009.
They have come close to ending a wearisome wait for silverware – tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of Huddersfield’s last title success – only to falter in the crunch encounters.
“Until we actually get our hands on a trophy with this group of players, negative or pessimistic people will say we’re not good enough,” admitted Brown.
“The reality is that we’re a fair bit better team than we have been in the last three years but we have to maintain that. I’m very confident in the squad of players we’ve got and feel we have a good balance.
“We have had a good half year so far and will be looking to build on that for the second half.
“We need to keep improving but feel as though we are going as good as anyone at the moment.
“A win (tonight) doesn’t mean you’re going to win anything but a loss doesn’t mean that you can’t go on to win something either.”
However, the Galpharm meeting tonight will certainly point to whether Huddersfield are maturing at the right rate.
They overcame the 2010 Grand Final winners back in February to show their potential and have since won at current champions Leeds and edged past beaten Grand Finalists St Helens.
But, after recently losing a tight contest at title rivals Catalan, they face a Wigan side who are pushing for a ninth successive win.
Australian Brown, who will leave for St Helens at the end of the season, said: “There is no bigger challenge than playing Wigan at the moment and they have a unique player in Sam Tomkins. Along with a few other teams, they have been the benchmark, winning both competitions in the past two years. But we beat them at the beginning of the season so there is no reason we can’t do it again.
“You want to play well every week but you especially want to play well against the top teams, and I think so far this year we have proved we can do that.”