HEAD coach Rick Stone admits he did not know what to expect when arriving at crisis club Huddersfield Giants but is intent on saving their Super League status sooner rather than later.
The Australian, who replaced sacked Paul Anderson in July, faces a crucial Qualifiers game at Hull KR tomorrow when the victor will secure their top-flight place for 2017.
Huddersfield are confident having beaten Leeds Rhinos last week and will hope to avoid having to face the Million Pound Game - probably against Salford Red Devils - in next Saturday’s sudden death decider.
But asked if the job had been tougher than expected, the former Newcastle Knights and Fiji coach admitted: “I didn’t know what to expect when I got here; looking from afar I didn’t know what position the club was in.
“There’s some real good parts here and there’s some things which have been run down in terms of the players and their performances - they got a bit comfortable in certain areas.
“We needed to address them and tell them what was required and what wasn’t.”
Clearly, Huddersfield want to sort their future tomorrow and begin the process of putting plans in place for 2017.
“It would help with recruitment to get it done this week,” said Stone.
“There’s a lot of teams in the main competition preparing for next year already and there’s plenty of teams in the bottom end of the Super 8s who have known where they’re going to be.
“We haven’t had that chance and we’ve been concentrating on the task at hand - which is staying up.
“But if we win the game Saturday we can move forward to something like us being able to build a team again.”
Their destiny is in their own hands but Stone insisted: “I think it was always in our hands the whole time.
“We got beat by Salford, won a couple, then got beat by Leigh but the process was still to win five games.
“It’s been in our hands throughout. It gets down to the last game and we’ve taken some steps forward and back since I’ve been here but I’d like to think we’ve consistently shown some improvement.
“The Qualifiers hasn’t been too bad and the main focus now is putting in an 80-minute performance.”
He added: “We haven’t spoken about the result and the ramifications of it.
“What we’ve tried to concentrate on is a process and that we prepare ourselves the best way we can.
“That’s no different this week to any other week.
“It’s been a shorter week - it’s our 31st game this week and we’ve been going a fair while so to freshen up mentally and physically is a good thing to have.”