Salford scrum half Michael Dobson is in confident mood ahead of the Middle Eights, but is also refusing to be in any way complacent about the tests to come.
The Red Devils open the second phase of the season with a clash with Huddersfield, and will later face Hull KR and Leeds from Super League, as well as Leigh, London Broncos, Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs from the Championship.
Dobson knows that all of those sides will fighting hard to either stay in or reach Super League, and that there will be no easy games.
“I think it’s going to be a lot tougher [than last season],” he told Love Rugby League.
“You’ve got some good Championship sides, who’ve bought well and expect to do well.
“You’ve also got some pretty good Super League sides in there.
“I’ve played at Hull KR and know how tough they are to play against.
“Huddersfield and Leeds were in the top four of Super League last year, so it’s going to be really tough.
“Leigh and London have signed really good players.
“But we know if we perform to the level of ability we have this year we should be alright.
“We’ve got Batley last, so hopefully we won’t be relying on that to stay in Super League.
“We know Batley will be tough. Last year we had a slip-up at Bradford and we weren’t on our game, so we know how tough those Championship sides can be.
“We won’t take anyone lightly.
“We’re moving forward as a club and as a team, and we’ve just got to keep taking those steps forward, and hopefully that will hold us in good stead.”
One feature of Salford’s season has been the good form shown by Dobson’s half back partner at the club, Robert Lui.
Lui’s more espansive style is something which Dobson feels complements his own attributes perfectly.
“He’s been really good for me,” he said.
“He takes a lot of pressure off me. I enjoy playing with him.
“I try and get the boys round the park, and get us where we need to go on the field, and I let him do the fancy stuff, because he’s got all the skills in the world.
“That’s the way it’s played out, and I like watching some of the stuff he can do. He’s good value.”
Salford were hit with a six-point penalty earlier in the season, a punishment for salary cap infractions.
Dobson felt that the players were affected at first by the situation, but have since re-galvanised themselves and are now facing the future with confidence.
“I don’t think it’s affected us too much,” he said.
“At the time it was a bit of kick in the guts when it happened.
“We knew pretty much straight away that we weren’t going to win the appeal, so we sort of got over that kick in the guts.
“We moved forward since then, and tried to make it on our own merits away from that.
“We’ve had opportunities, and we’ve had some close losses.
“It affected us at the time for a couple of weeks, but we’re well and truly over it now.”