Crabtree ready to take Giant step forward into ‘strange’ Super 8s

Huddersfield Giants prop Eorl Crabtree has acknowleged that the new Super League structure still feels a little odd.

He is just as determined, though, to ensure that he will be doing his utmost to strive to reach the semi-finals once the Super 8s are concluded.

“It’s a strange one, it really is,” Crabtree told Love Rugby League.

“Fundamentally, we’re not at the end of the season, we’re two thirds of the way through.

“Now we’re talking about a big build-up going into the semi-finals.

“We finished fourth, and we’re really proud of that, but now we’ve got to push on and make the top four! Which doesn’t sound right, but is right!

“We’re excited about the next seven games, but nothing really changes.

“You’re just playing one game a week at a time and hopefully making the semis.”

Crabtree is broadly in favour of the new restructure this season, though he thinks that the passing sports fan who tunes into the Super 8s may be somewhat confused.

“I think the middle section is a little complicated,” he mused.

“The next seven games make it complicated, but from then on in, it’s totally different.

“You’ve got the big games at the end of the season, and that’s what it all boils down to.

“The play-offs were confusing anyway. I never really understood them.

“So nothing changes in that regard. What happens now is that the big games become even biger, and the lower games become bigger.

“It’s the lower games that make it more interesting for me.

“Nothing really changes for the top Super League teams and the Grand Final at the end of the year.

“But with promotion and relegation for the Qualifiers, it’s totally different. That sets it apart.”

Meanwhile, Huddersfield have managed to win games, collect points and finish fourth this season, without ever hitting the heights of play of which they are capable.

Crabtree is pleased that the Giants are winning games, and thinks it will stand them in good stead in the coming weeks.

“I think it’s a great trait to have,” he said.

“We work hard for each other and we grind wins out. It’s something I’ve been talking about, that our form is absolutely brilliant.

“But the way we’re playing is terrible. We just can’t seem to string good games together.

“But we are finding a way to win games, and that’s massively important.

“Now we need to find a way to string it all together and play better, and create more opportunities.

“We are steadily improving. We know how to put teams away, and the good thing about that is that we are now going to challenge teams.

“But we need to take that other step.

“As long as we put an element of doubt into other team’s heads, we’ll be happy with that.

“We know that we’ve got that respect there to a certain degree, we like to make sure that we play well against every team and give ourselves the best opportunity of winning.”

Danny Brough is a key part of Huddersfield’s strategy, and the diminuitive Scotland international is healthy ahead of the Super 8s, despite visibly carrying some knocks in recent weeks.

“Broughy’s always carrying knocks,” Crabtree said.

“He’s like me, he’s been around for a long time and has played a heck of a lot of games.

“He plays week-in and week-out. He played every game last season bar one, and for Scotland as well.

“He just plays through it, he manages to get himself fit.

Jamie Ellis has been reall good for Broughy because he takes the pressure off a little bit.

“When he had a bit of sore knee for a while and couldn’t kick, Jamie stepped up.

“He’s playing better and better each week too, which is good for the two players and great for Huddersfield.”

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