JOE Philbin hailed the improvements in defence as Wire turned their ‘Bad Friday’ into a good Easter Monday.

The Wire prop, who appeared in both the 36-12 home loss to Salford Red Devils on Friday and the 54-6 success at Hull KR on Monday, also felt extra efforts by players made a difference after some ‘soul searching’.

“It was tough to lose like we did on Friday,” said the 24-year-old England Knights international forward.

“We regrouped the day after and talked about what we do when we’re at our best, rather than dwell on it.

“We showed a few positive actions at Hull KR, including working hard in defence because that’s what you base your good performances on.

“It all starts in defence and I thought we saw a lot of that on Monday.”

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Toby King, Jack Hughes and Josh Charnley make sure there's nowhere for Craig Hall to go. Picture: Mike Boden

He highlighted a moment of tenacity from hooker Daryl Clark in a win that put smiles back on faces again.

He added: “It was a better feeling in that changing room after Hull KR than it had been the past few weeks.

“It’s hard when you have back-to-back losses. It isn’t nice for anybody.

“You do a bit of soul searching. The talk was very positive though, talking about when we’re at our best what do we do and I feel we got back to what we do well.

“I feel that we shut them out really professionally from the start, we got into the process and grind straight away.

“There was a big effort when Craig Hall made a break for Hull KR.

“Usually when he has gone nobody catches him but Daz Clark came from the middle to catch him.

“It’s efforts like that which sum up what we do when we’re at our best. What an effort that was!”

Other players caught his eye, too.

“Changes were made because of bumps and bruises collected and the load that Easter period puts on the body, but we’ve got a quality squad,” said Philbin.

“Sitaleki Akauola came into the side and was like a man possessed, he was man of the match by a mile I think.

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Sitaleki Akauola, left, and Joe Philbin at KCOM Craven Park on Monday. Picture: Mike Boden

“And that shows the quality we’ve got in the squad. It was a good opportunity for players to come in and show what they’ve got.

“Jack Hughes was really good too. He got us going really aggressive in defence.”

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And Philbin, now in his sixth year with the first team, crossed for his first double in the victory at KCOM Craven Park.

“I don’t often get a try, never mind a double,” said Philbin, whose last try came in an 80-0 hammering of Hull FC at The Halliwell Jones Stadium last August.

“I’m over the moon with the performance and I’m buzzing to get over for a few tries.”

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Celebrations after Joe Philbin's tries at Hul KR. Pictures: Mike Boden

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And he joked: “They were 90-metre tries weren’t they?

“I’ll take them however they come.

“With the first one the ball bounced into my hands from a little kick and after that I got some confidence.

“I was demanding the ball and I told Daz to give it to me near the line which he did and I got over for another one so I was happy with that.”

Now, as was the case between the Easter matches, it is important the players get their bodies back in order.

“Between games at Easter it’s just recovery, recovery, recovery, getting in the pool and resting up,” he said.

“It’s a tough period on the body. We know going into Easter that we just have to get our heads around it, but it’s not easy.

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“Now we’ve got a couple of days off to just focus on recovery and do what we can to get our bodies right and to get away from rugby, because there’s so much rugby over the Easter period. It can be pretty hectic.

“We’ll come back together later in the week and focus on Huddersfield, which is going to be a really tough test for us on Sunday.

“They’re a really dangerous team who always give us a good game.

“They’ve got Kruise Leeming running them around really well from dummy half so we’re going to have our work cut out but we’ll focus on that later in the week. We’ll just get our bodies right first.”

And whether Philbin is asked to play for the start or provide impact off the bench, he will give of his best.

Last year he was the team’s super sub, with a club record 35 appearances off the bench in one year, but he has been called on at loose forward in several games already this season.

“I love either starting or on the bench, whatever’s my best role for the team,” he said.

“I’m a team-first player and that’s what we’re big on at the club.

“We all put the team first, so wherever the coach thinks I’m best suited I’ll go.”