Low point drives on Robinson to deliver silverware

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THERE is no sense of joking when Luke Robinson admits he has totally forgotten last season’s play-off annihilation by Hull FC.

It is not that the diminutive scrum-half does not care about the monstrosity that finally put an end to the slow and painful death of Huddersfield Giants’ season. It is the exact opposite, in fact.

Robinson had mentioned previous defeats against the Black and Whites when quizzed on tonight’s latest contest between the clubs but strangely omitted any mention of their last meeting, that 
46-10 capitulation at the KC Stadium.

“In all honesty, I had completely forgotten about that match,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

“I think I must have tried erasing it from my mind completely and it seemed to have worked up until you mentioning it. It’s no surprise, though. It was probably one of the lowest points of my career.

“To go out like that, in the play-offs, was shocking. It wasn’t just one or two of us guilty of not playing, we were all off that night.

“But we’re a new team now and a different set of lads.”

That may be pushing the point a little – as many as 10 of them are likely to play again when Hull arrive at The John Smith’s Stadium this evening – but in one sense he is right.

Last September, the defeat at Hull was an eighth loss in 11 games of a season that had, like so many recent campaigns, started with such promise only to badly derail leading to Nathan Brown’s sacking.

Assistant Paul Anderson had taken over in July but the season, understandably, never truly got going again and you could sense the new man was itching to tear things up and start over with a squad playing in his own vision.

He said as much in the aftermath of that Hull debacle when vowing such a meek surrender would be alien to his 2013 version.

And, so far, he is true to his word, with Giants top of Super League heading into this round.

Robinson, 27, said: “He (Anderson) wants to win and so do I.

“I’ve got to that stage of my career now where I don’t want to see how much potential we have. I just want it to be here now, winning trophies.

“I’d have loved to have gone on and won it last year but, realistically, he inherited a team plus a gameplan and structure that wasn’t his and one he really didn’t have too much of a say in from a coaching point of view.

“But now, this is definitely his team, his way of playing with his philosophies and we’re playing with a smile on our face.

“These are the sorts of games we want to be involved in. There’s going to be occasions where we don’t play well but I’d like to think in the big games (like Hull) that’s never going to happen again.”

There was a worry when Huddersfield were swept aside by Bradford Bulls at home a fortnight ago but they responded immediately with an emphatic win at Leeds Rhinos last Friday to set this televised game up nicely.

Hull arrive after their own redemption, a 52-0 vanquishing of Castleford sorting their indifferent start, and Halifax-born Robinson is expecting a real examination from their Yorkshire rivals.

One of Anderson’s principal changes in 2013 has been returning him from hooker to his traditional scrum-half position.

“I enjoy both roles and there’s certain attributes to my game I feel I can contribute,” he said, his pace out of dummy-half being one, but also his organisational qualities when back in the halves.

“A lot flit between the roles. I’m not comparing myself to any of them but Michael Monaghan, Thomas Leuluai and, earlier in his career, Andrew Johns all did it.

“At this moment, I’m really enjoying playing seven and sparking a good partnership with Broughy.

“We complement each other really well and we’re a good blend but it’s easy for us at the minute behind such a strong pack.”

Ah, an inevitable mention of Danny Brough, the ex-Hull player currently on everyones’ lips.

The scrum-half, stand-off, call it what you will – how do you differentiate nowadays? – was devastating at Headingley last week.

He delivered a controlling performance of pure quality as his pin-point kicks continually dissected Leeds, before his sniping runs only added to their misery.

Unsurprisingly, it stoked up the debate once more about just how someone so gifted still cannot be deemed one of the best 30 players available to England. Omitted from the ETS by England coach Steve McNamara, there is a sense it could be a major oversight ahead of this year’s World Cup.

Robinson is adamant where he stands: “Every team I’d pick I’d put Broughy in it.

“That’s not only for his kicking but just his style of play. You need players like that if you’re going to win anything. We all played very well as a team last week which is what you have to do to get something at Leeds but, without doubt, Broughy had that ‘X’ factor.

“He’s one of those players who can do that. You certainly can’t have a full team of them but when it comes to big games you need something a little different.

“Broughy’s a bit of a maverick and, if I’m honest, he could have won that game at Headingley on his own – he was that good.

“We all played a part but he was terrific. People talk about what he does with the ball but forget too about his defensive work.

“We’re a better team defensively when he’s in there and he’s really developed that but rugby is a game of opinions and, it just so happens, this England set-up have decided to go with others.”

Robinson knows that only too well. It was not long ago he was starring for England on the last Four Nations tour – their player of the 2010 tournament – only to be just as quickly cast aside.

Yet as he prepares for his 150th Huddersfield game, you sense it will be his club which benefits most, and the same could be said for Brough’s situation too.