HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ head coach Paul Anderson has challenged his side to thrive under the pressure of being the team everyone wants to beat.
They host Catalans Dragons tonight looking for a first Super 8s win, which would strengthen their hold on the all-important fourth spot.
Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors and St Helens are already deemed near-certainties to qualify for the semi-finals and bid for a place at Old Trafford.
Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves are the biggest threats to Huddersfield’s hopes of completing the quartet – seventh-placed Catalans already look doomed, given they will be eight points adrift with five to play if they lose tonight and Hull FC are similarly hamstrung.
But Anderson said: “Everyone assumes the top three are out of the way yet they’ve still got to play each other.
“There’s still six games to go and teams have still got to go to Wigan and Saints – and we’ve still got all of the teams around us to play, most at home, too.
“We are the team everyone is trying to knock off at the minute, though.
“If we win, we’re still fourth because of our points difference, but everyone’s coming to us thinking we’re the team they can catch out of the four, and it’s a challenge we have to rise to in truth.
“We need to win, it’s as simple as that.
“We have been masters of our own downfall on occasions this year and we’ve done the wrong thing at times.
“But we are where we are and we’ve got to make sure we capitalise on this good position. You never know where you could end up.”
Huddersfield are seven points behind leaders Leeds, who host second-placed Wigan – five points in front of Anderson’s side – at Headingley tonight.
Giants will be confident this evening especially as they became only the second team to win in Perpignan this year when they defeated Catalans there less than four weeks ago.
Huddersfield have plenty of strength in depth, too, with only England second-row Brett Ferres absent, their vice-captain who is back in training after biceps surgery but will not be fit until the back end of the Super 8s.