Adam O'Brien boasts battling qualities which have seen Huddersfield Giants rise
The casual aside said plenty about the lengths he and his team-mates went to during a fiercely arduous battle in order to edge past St Helens 24-16 and secure a third successive win.
“It might be fractured; I’ll get a scan and see,” he said, when asked about his bandaged foot as he limped off through the reception doors of John Smith’s Stadium.
Elsewhere in the ground’s confines, head coach Rick Stone had already listed how O’Brien’s fellow hooker Kruise Leeming had suffered a suspected broken jaw and prolific Australian full-back Jake Mamo had also gone lame during the crucial 80 minutes. They still emerged victorious, though, hanging on with some indefatigable defence after Saints responded to O’Brien’s try to claw back to 18-16 with Kyle Amor’s own effort in the 66th minute.
The West Yorkshire club duly moved up a to seventh, champions Wigan Warriors dropping to eighth, to ease early-season fears they would become embroiled in another relegation fight.
O’Brien told The Yorkshire Post: “That was huge for us. We’ve made massive improvements over the last seven weeks, come close to the top teams and now have three back-to-back wins which is massive for the club.
“In that last 10 minutes we had Kruise and Jake off who couldn’t come back on and we ran out of substitutes.
“Whoever was left on that field had to last 10 minutes and we just all dug deep as a team.
“Broughy helped me massively in yardage; he was doing dummy-half carries and passing the ball to help me get my breath back and then all we had to do was defend our line.
“It was one of those things where we had to pull together.
“Stoney gave us a bit at half-time and we all pulled together to get the two points and move up that table.
“We’re looking up rather than down now.
“Seven weeks ago we were looking at the bottom four but we got a bit of form, picked up a few wins on the way and now we’re up looking at the top end not the bottom end.
“Hopefully we’re heading in the right direction.”
Having won just two of their opening dozen games this term, improving Huddersfield have prospered in five of their next seven matches since an embarrassing Challenge Cup exit against part-timers Swinton Lions.
If they can make it four successive wins when ailing Wigan visit on Friday, they will move five points clear of ninth-placed Catalans Dragons – for 24 hours at least – with just four rounds remaining before the split.
O’Brien, who joined from Bradford Bulls in the off-season, admitted: “If we can get that it will be a massive boost for the team, the fans, the club and just everyone for us.
“It’s a massive game for us and we have got to put another performance in like that we showed against Saints.
“We need to be a bit better in good ball but that defence will win any game.”
The 23-year-old, who has played all eight games since debuting against Swinton, admitted he thought he had secured the win for Huddersfield after crossing for his second try in Huddersfield colours in the 55th minute.
Martin Ridyard converted for an 18-10 advantage and O’Brien admitted: “Probably the emotion on me when I scored and the buzz I felt, I thought we had done it.
“But then I looked around and saw we still had 25 minutes to go which is a long time in rugby league.
“They went down and scored but we knew we were still two points ahead and not chasing the game.
“Then Raps (Sam Rapira) came up with that little play, a great offload for Lee Gaskell to go over at the death, and that created a huge buzz.
“We’ve been coming together over these last seven weeks and you could see how much it meant to everyone at the end,” added O’Brien.