Stone irked by Widnes’ naysayers ahead of Huddersfield’s visit

Rick Stone has expressed his frustration at the way the media and fans are jumping to conclusions about each team’s hopes for the season.

The Giants travel to Widnes on Friday to face a Vikings side that was largely written off at the start of the season.

But the Vikings have shown plenty of encouraging signs at the start of the season, winning two of their opening five games and pushing Castleford, Warrington and Wigan close in their three defeats.

Huddersfield themselves were dismissed as relegation strugglers last year before a superb turnaround saw them push into the top eight, and Stone believes clubs up and down the competition deserve more respect from pundits and supporters.

“I get confused and disappointed in everyone’s understanding of where teams finish,” he said.

“The mindset by some of the journos and fans on different teams disappoints me; everyone is capable of doing anything and you’ve got to respect that. I’ve got plenty of respect for any team we play, and Widnes are a really dangerous team.

“Everyone seems to pick their 12 and where they’re going to finish from the first or second game. St Helens are going to win the comp, everyone said Castleford would win the comp last year. It just disappoints me. But concentrating on us, we’ve got to make sure we do what we can.”

The Giants have registered just one win from their opening four games, and Stone admitted they needed a victory to ensure they wouldn’t be playing catch-up in the race to make the eight.

“At one and three, you’re in a position where you’ll be down the bottom if you lose again.

“The desperation from our part shouldn’t be an issue, that’s for sure. For us, it’s more about the process than the result. If you start looking at the result you can lose your way a bit and we need to focus on what we do ourselves.

“We’ve had a chat about the game at the weekend, and it’s a bit of the chicken and the egg. But we’re competing okay; we’ve got to sharpen the pencil on some things a little bit and our discipline let us down a little bit at the weekend. Individuals have to take some responsibility there and if we’re going to be competitive, the boys have to be pulling together in the same direction. Penalties always provide big momentum shifts but seven in a row was significant.”

Stone has been boosted by the returns of Alex Mellor and Adam Walne, who are in contention to play against Widnes following injuries.

“He (Adam Walne) had a little medial strain last time he played against Warrington, but Alex Mellor is back in contention which is good. I just don’t know if Michael Lawrence would play on that 3G pitch, that might be why we hold him back. We’ll make a decision on that later in the week.”