Brough urges fans to keep cool
New Huddersfield captain Danny Brough is urging fans not to panic if his side make a slow start to Super League XVIII.
The Giants have established a reputation for fading in the second half of the season, having failed to build on the position of table-toppers by April in each of the last two years, but Brough says the club have acted to solve the problem.
"We've let the club and the fans down over the last few years by dying off at the back end," said Brough at the club's pre-season media day at the John Smith's Stadium.
"When you get in that losing habit, it goes downhill and it's not a nice place to be. People lose confidence and things are getting said but it's been addressed.
"Instead of winning our first 10 and then losing nine, we won't be fussy if we win our first six and lose four and then kick on from there.
"I'm looking for a nice peak in mid-season and a strong finish, which is something we haven't had over the last few seasons.
"We've been conditioned to do that so, if we start off slow, there's no panic.
"Hopefully we can pick up in the middle and take it on into the play-offs at the back end of the season.
"We want to be nice and consistent, go under the radar with some good performances every week and then step it up."
Huddersfield finished in the play-off positions in each of the last four seasons under Nathan Brown, who has moved in the close season to take charge of St Helens, and his successor Paul Anderson has opted for a new look as they look to make the big breakthrough.
By bringing in towering forwards Craig Kopczak (Bradford), Stuart Fielden (Wigan), Anthony Mullally (Widnes) and Akuma Ta'ai (New Zealand Warriors), Anderson has considerably bulked up the Giants pack and Brough believes that can make all the difference in 2013.
"We lacked a bit of size last year, when we had back rowers playing in the front row," Brough said.
"I think Baloo (Anderson) has gone back to the old-fashioned way of playing rugby of having a massive pack and good outside backs.
"Hopefully that can work for us this year. We'll have one of the biggest packs in the league."
Kopczak, Fielden and Mullally will all make their first appearances for the club in Sunday's home friendly against Widnes but Ta'ai remains stranded back home through visa delays.
Huddersfield are also likely to be without Australian forward Luke O'Donnell, who is still recovering from a shoulder re-construction, and, like Ta'ai, may miss the opening league game of the season against St Helens on February 2.
Meanwhile, Brough is hoping to secure international honours in World Cup year after failing to make the most of his opportunity with England in 2012.
After switching his allegiance from Scotland, he was finally picked by England for the second mid-season game against the Exiles but failed to catch the eye.
"I had a poor game that day and it's something I'd like to rectify," he said. "All I can do is play my best for the Giants and hopefully get selected."
Brough captained Scotland in the last World Cup in 2008 and has not dismissed the prospect of returning to them if he misses out on selection for England.
"I don't understand the rules," he said. "I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I've not spoken about it or made any decisions up to now."
Brough will hope to press his bid for honours by leading his club from the front after taking over the captaincy from the departed Kevin Brown.
"It was something I wanted to do and they've given me that opportunity," he added.
"It's a privilege to captain the team but I've got a lot of senior players around me that all chip in and make it a lot easier for me."