WATCH: Hull KR v Huddersfield Giants – No rest for Giants as they face ‘seven Grand Finals’

WHEN ASKED earlier this week how many wins his side needed to avoid relegation, Huddersfield Giants head coach Simon Woolford instantly replied “seven” in jest.

Or at least we all think it was in jest; looking at the congested Super League table, he might not be far from the truth.

There are, of course, just seven games remaining for Giants and it would be folly to think they will win them all, even if they did get off on the right foot with victory at fellow strugglers Hull KR on Thursday night.

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Nevertheless, the competitive nature near the foot of the table remains such that they need to win a good chunk of them to make certain - and it seems whichever side does go down this season will do so with a record number of points.

DEMANDS: Huddersfield Giants head coach Simon Woolford. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Since Super League began in 1996, luckless Castleford Tigers’ total of 19 in 2006 is the biggest total on which a side has been demoted. But there is a caveat added to that.

Catalans Dragons finished bottom on 16 but, having recently been added to the competition, were still enjoying their three years of impunity from relegation.

Huddersfield (2001) and Salford City Reds (2007) can both feel themselves unlucky going down on 13 points as that sort of total is generally more than enough.

Yet, with seven games remaining this term, bottom-placed London Broncos already have 14 points with KR, Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield all log-jammed narrowly above them on 16. No wonder coaches prefer not to look at the table.

Huddersfield Giants coach Simon Woolford is well aware of the threat posed by Hull KR's Danny McGuire, third left. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Given leaders St Helens are set to rest up to 10 regulars when they head to Ealing on Sunday, you would fancy London to be on 16 by the end of the weekend, crystallizing the need for their rivals to do the business on Thursday.

Each weekend for some time now, at least one – but often two – of the current bottom four has won making it increasingly pressured. No one is being cut adrift.

Huddersfield looked to have turned a corner when they ended a four-game losing run with an impressive victory at Salford Red Devils a fortnight ago.

However, maddeningly, they then backed that up by losing 32-28 at home to Catalans Dragons last Friday. They had been 32-12 down before the hour mark.

Hull Kingston Rovers' head coach Tony Smith. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

In contrast, Hull KR delivered a splendid win at Leeds Rhinos and have won both their last two home games against high-flying Hull FC and Warrington Wolves.

That said, they have lost the previous two games against Huddersfield this term.

Asked if the pressure of it all was getting to his players, Woolford insisted: “We have to deal with pressure. We got ourselves into this predicament so we have to deal with it and find a way to play our best footy.

“If you can’t deal with pressure in this game then you are in the wrong game. We have to deal with it and find a way to play well from zero minute not the 60th, like at Wigan last week, or the 35th or – like against Salford – the 20th minute.

“We have to find a way of playing well from the start and not giving opposition teams a leg up. If we do that this week against KR we’ll get the same result so we have to fix it.

“It took us too long – 20 down with 20 minutes to go – to start playing some footy at Wigan and defending how we’ve trained to defend.

“Like I said to the guys this week, I asked the question ‘if you don’t want to get it right now, when do you?’”

Woolford knows how dangerous Rovers are. With new coach Tony Smith having made significant changes to both the personnel and style of those Tim Sheens sides beaten twice at John Smith’s Stadium earlier in the year, he realises the Robins are a different challenge now.

“They are a difficult team,” he said. “They had a good win last week and they will be confident.

“They will certainly have marked this game as a win game. No doubt about that. They have some key players playing well like Danny McGuire and we will need to be on our game.”

When Giants click, they can be devastating, as illustrated by the 55-2 Magic Weekend thrashing of Hull.

The key is getting them to reproduce that sort of performance in the next seven games rather than the inconsistent ones that have blighted their 2019.

Woolford conceded: “It’s critical like last week and the week before.

“Every week’s a Grand Final for us now. We were disappointed last week that we waited until the game was over before we got ourselves into gear. Even then we nearly stole it.

“It comes down to individuals getting their jobs right and we have to do that this week.”