To say it has been a frustrating month for Liam Watts is an understatement.
Not only has the forward been battling a knee injury of late, but he’s also had a whopping four-match ban to contend with after being thrown up in front of the RFL’s disciplinary panel for a dangerous throw during the defeat to Catalans.
So injury would have seen him miss some of that four-week stretch on the sidelines anyway, but Watts has been raring to go for at least a fortnight. It’s easy to understand therefore, why the prop is keen to make up for lost time: starting today against winless Warrington.
“I’m certainly looking forward to getting back out there,” he admits. “These last four weeks have probably been the worst four weeks of my life rugby-wise.
“When you’re fit and ready to go and sat on the touchline watching it is hard to watch sometimes.
“But luckily the boys have been doing a decent job and picking up some good results which is obviously really pleasing.”
Watts is certainly right in that regard – and it’s the contrast in form between the two sides which makes Hull overwhelming favourites on Saturday. In fact, it’s difficult to remember the last time Hull were so fancied against a Warrington team – not that Watts is paying any attention to that.
“They are in a bit of strife at the minute,” he admits. “But we’re not going to take them any lighter than we would normally. We will be doing all our homework as always and everything we possibly can to combat their attacking qualities. Hopefully come 5pm on Saturday, we’ve got the two points in bag.
“The team’s not changed from last year so it’s just a confidence thing; they’re just a pass away from things coming off and it being disastrous for the other team.
“There’s a lot of quality in there – my mate Westy (Joe Westerman) is playing really well, and there’s Daz Clark too, so they’re not far away. They will get someone and we have to make sure we’re on and it’s not us this week.”
And having taken on a watching brief over the last month, Watts admits he’s seeing some positive signs about Hull’s play as they look to go a step further than last year’s play-off semi-final defeat to Wigan.
“Wigan is a tough place to go and we made that a bit hard for ourselves in the last 20 and 25 minutes which was a bit upsetting but overall, it was a good result – and we were really clinical versus Widnes. We did a job against them.
“It was a bit nip and tuck against St Helens but whereas in previous years we’ve just missed out by two points, we’re winning close games now. We want to go one better this season and build on this, which will be massive for us come the end of the season.”