Finnigan and Toronto to learn from previous Qualifiers anguish

When Simon Finnigan knew he’d be joining Toronto two years ago, he went and watched back Leigh’s failed Qualifiers campaign of 2015.

Finnigan was Paul Rowley’s assistant at the Centurions, who crashed at the business end of the year after storming to the Championship title.

“I learnt a lot more in those months off than during the campaign itself,” he said.

“When I got the call to join Paul with Toronto, I had some downtime and looked at that failed campaign. I learnt a lot from it.”

Now, the same coaching team (and many of the same players for that matter) who oversaw that bitterly disappointing campaign have a chance to right those wrongs.

Though Toronto won’t be discussing that failure.

“Each middle 8s throws up a different set of circumstances and a different set of teams. Some of the players who went through that disappointment came through it and had a successful year the season after. The ones who haven’t been through it have enough experienc,e even though it may be different circumstances.”

The real low point of that campaign was the visit to Toronto’s first opponents of this year’s campaign, Halifax. The 34-12 defeat ended their promotion hopes.

“But we’d lost our way before that game, “said Finnigan. “We were already a beaten side by then mentally and physically. That was probably the game that broke us.”

He insists however that revenge isn’t on the agenda. After all, he and the rest now represent an entirely different club, but he did admit that a victory would be massive for their promotion hopes.

“I’ve said to people privately and openly that this competition has no side that will stand out, at the top or at the bottom. Nobody has a given right to win this game or that. The team that reacts and responds to adversity best in these seven games will come out in the top three spots.

“We don’t feel the hype around us. It will develop as the competition goes on but nothing changes. Everyone wants to write everything about us, whether it is on or off the field. That has been from the start and it hasn’t got any less, or more, so there’s no difference for us.

“We would like to go up, but there’s no expectation being put on us. We know what we want to achieve as a club but the outside pressures aren’t there. Our expectations within the group are there and we know how to do it.”