AMID all the lavish praise for Danny Brough, plus the rightful acknowledgment of Shaun Lunt’s growing influence and England debutant Brett Ferres, one man’s pivotal play in Huddersfield Giants’ renaissance has perhaps been slightly overlooked.
You will not find Luke Robinson complaining. At 28, the nuggety scrum-half has been around long enough to accept personal accolades mean nothing unless you achieve as a squad.
However, undoubtedly he has quietly been enjoying one of the best seasons of a varied career that has taken in spells with Wigan Warriors, Castleford Tigers, Salford City Reds, Huddersfield and – all too fleetingly – England.
“I had a good year in 2011 when I won Players’ Player of the Year and Player of the Year at Huddersfield and came in on the back of playing for England at the Four Nations,” Robinson told the Yorkshire Post.
“But I have been pleased with my contributions again this season. Those players you have mentioned have rightly got a lot of plaudits as they have played some great stuff.
“But I feel my contributions to the team have been consistent if nothing else. I’ve had some good performances and it’s always been about the collective for me.
“It doesn’t matter who’s getting the MOMs as long as we’re winning and we’re all pushing on towards silverware.”
Leaders Huddersfield can take a – pardon the pun – giant step towards doing that this afternoon when they visit London Broncos.
Nearest rivals Warrington Wolves slipped up, surprisngly losing to 12-man Widnes Vikings on Thursday night, meaning a win in the capital will leave the West Yorkshire club three points clear. Then, Huddersfield would have just one more victory to acquire, either against Wakefield and Bradford, to secure the League Leaders’ Shield and a first trophy of the summer era.
They are in such a dominant position thanks to last Friday’s seminal win at Wigan, who knew victory themselves would have left them in pole.
Robinson, who delivered passes for two of Huddersfield’s five tries and generally buzzed around all night, said: “We were happy with that performance at Wigan.
“It’s a tough place to go so it was very satisfactory. We know they were depleted in areas but we’ve been like that at times this year.
“It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a Huddersfield shirt.
“We’ve had good performances before, like the semi-final that got us to Wembley in 2009 and various play-off games, but the league table doesn’t lie and this is our most consistent yet.”
There is no room for manoeuvre, though, and Robinson, who joined five years ago, knows it would be folly to underestimate bottom-of-the-table London.
“It has probably been one of our downfalls in recent years,” said a player, whose cherubic features and height of just five feet six inches belie his reputation as one of the toughest around.
“In my time here, we’ve generally done okay against the bigger sides but then slipped up against the so-called smaller ones further down the table.
“That’s definitely been in our talk this week; Wigan will be a pointless win if we don’t put in a performance at London and all of these three remaining games. They are all of the same importance as that match.”
Coach Paul Anderson has to be praised for bringing the best out of Robinson.
His predecessor Nathan Brown struggled trying to squeeze in an inordinate number of playmakers in his starting line-up, switching stand-off Kevin Brown to loose forward for a long period to facilitate that tactic. Too many cooks sprung to mind.
Admittedly, Robinson did flourish in his role at hooker and earned his England spot there, where he excelled on the 2010 Four Nations strangely to be barely seen again at that level.
However, the Halifax-born player is equally destructive at half-back where Anderson returned him this year alongside his new captain Brough. The side is far more balanced.
“I felt I was doing alright at nine but when ‘Baloo’ said that, for the greater good of the team, he’d move me back to scrum-half I was happy with that too,” he said. “It’s the combinations with Lunty, Broughy and myself that have really worked. You can tell we like and play well off each other. Our skills complement each other. It’s really clicked.”
Probably most crucial is that the influential midfield trio have all avoided serious injury so far. If they can continue to do so between now and October 5, it would be no surprise to see Robinson lining up for his second Grand Final – a decade on from losing his first as an 18-year-old rookie with Wigan against the then mighty Bradford Bulls.
But this player is now complete, just as it seems, are his maturing Huddersfield Giants.