Coming from the NRL, it’s only understandable that Tom Symonds wasn’t too clued up on the race for promotion and relegation. After all, it took most people in the UK a good while to get their head around the Super 8s.
The Huddersfield forward has his head well and truly around the situation now, though.
“It’s rather stressful, isn’t it,” Symonds admits. Quite, Tom.
“It’s certainly a situation I’ve never found myself in and there’s a lot of guys under some stress. It probably is exciting for the fans and the competition but for the people in the firing line and having to deal with the consequences, it’s certainly not easy.
“But we knew that was how the competition runs and we have to do our best to make sure we steer clear of it.”
And steer clear of it Huddersfield can on Saturday, with victory against Hull KR securing third place and a spot in Super League next year without facing the jeopardy of the Million Pound Game.
It has been dubbed the ‘Half Million Pound Game’, and the enormity of the occasion is not lost on former Manly forward Symonds.
“You are definitely aware of what’s at stake – you’d be lying if you said you weren’t thinking about it – but to get the best performance you probably have to focus on getting yourself right,” he says.
“Some people get motivated by different things or a big game. I know myself I like to keep things pretty steady, like I would any other week – but it is definitely going to be on the minds of everyone to play well.”
And the importance of victory and avoiding the Million Pound Game?
“It will be huge,” Symonds says.
“There’s no point shying away from it – everyone knows what’s at stake, nobody wants to play the following week and KR are in the exactly same situation so we’re both going to be very desperate – but I am looking forward to it. It’s a big game and you enjoy big games and big crowds.”