FRUSTRATED England star Brett Ferres admits he needs to make up for “lost time” in Huddersfield Giants colours.
The club’s vice-captain returns to action at Catalans Dragons today after serving a two-game ban following his red card for punching Rhys Hanbury in the win at Widnes.
However, Ferres has already endured two other lay-offs so far due to injuries, including an ankle problem suffered due to Rangi Chase’s infamous “cannonball” tackle, and he admits, heading into the penultimate round of the regular season, it has been a testing campaign personally.
“It’s been difficult,” the second-row told The Yorkshire Post ahead of flying out to France.
“At the start, I thought I was playing pretty well but then that (Chase) tackle put me out for six weeks and, though I came back pretty quickly, I only played two games before getting injured again in the third actually against Catalans at Magic Weekend.
“I missed two more and then in my first one back I got sent-off after just 12 minutes and have had to sit out another couple.
“It’s not quite the picture I had for myself at the start of the year but that’s what has happened and it’s up to me now to make up for lost time.”
Upon his return in Perpignan, Ferres insists there was “not much in” his flare-up with Hanbury but wants to put the incident behind him and concentrate in helping the West Yorkshire club secure a top four spot.
That looked in jeopardy when Huddersfield lost by the narrowest of margins 35-34 at champions St Helens last Friday, opening up the way for Castleford Tigers to drop them down to fifth when playing at Hull FC on Sunday.
However, Ferres’s former club – on a five-match winning run – surprisingly lost at the KC Stadium so the Giants remain in charge of their own destiny, level with Castleford on 24 points but ahead due to a superior points difference.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a bit,” contended the 29-year-old. “We could and probably should have beaten Saints and gone two points in front of Cas’. But Hull did us a favour and now it’s up to us to make the most of it.”
Catalans, of course, have only lost once at Stade Gilbert Brutus all year, against leaders Leeds Rhinos in March.
They need a win to cement their top-eight berth but Ferres is confident his side, whose setback at Saints was only a second league defeat in 11 games, have the ability to inflict a rare home loss on Laurent Frayssinous’s side.
“We don’t have a bad record over there and can definitely get a win,” he said, with another of his erstwhile clubs – bottom-placed Wakefield Trinity Wildcats – arriving at Huddersfield for the final round game a week tomorrow.
“It’ll be hot over there but we’ve had plenty of heat here, too, so there’ll be no excuses from us.
“We’re going over in plenty of time, have chance to train and have an almost fully-fit squad so we’re looking forward to it.”
Huddersfield, meanwhile, are set to give a debut to prop Daniel Smith following his arrival from Wakefield.