Wolves’ reigning player of the year Micky Higham has stressed the importance of getting a strong start to the 2014 Super League season.
The recent Grand Final success of Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors, despite finishes of fourth or lower in the final league table, have made slow starts and strong finishes the ‘fashionable’ approach to a Super League season.
But Higham believes it will be important for Wolves’ much-changed squad to get some points on the board early this year, with games against St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC in the opening three weeks.
“It is certainly a tough start to the season and what better way than to get our changed team into the groove,” he said.
“I think we will want to get some points on the board early, really set out our stall in the opening weeks to show people we mean business again.
“If we can get some wins on the board early against the so-called big teams it will give us a confidence and a belief that we need as a changed side.”
Higham understands that those changes will have a profound effect on Wolves’ season, especially in the opening weeks, as they learn to live without the guidance of Lee Briers, Adrian Morley, Brett Hodgson and Garreth Carvell.
Having scooped Wolves’ player of the year and supporters’ player of the year awards last season, there are few ways in which the 33-year-old could improve on that showing.
But in the absence of departed experienced hands, he sees an opportunity to make himself a more complete player.
“I don’t rest on my laurels, I still feel there is improvement to be made in my game and there are a few bits that I need to work on this year,” he said.
“We are now without a lot of experienced players, like Lee, Moz, Gaz Carvell, influential players.
“They offered a lot off the field, in video sessions, training and stuff like that.
“I think it is a big year for those players who are not really renowned for talking or leadership skills to step up, and I’d like to think that’s an improvement I can make in my game as well – verbally get involved and help move the team around the park.
“I feel like I have got better at that, but it is still an area of improvement for me this year.”