Super League: Giants head coach Paul Anderson points to World Cup hangover
Paul Anderson believes the after-effects of the World Cup provide the reasons for Super League's new look.
Last Updated: 06/05/14 1:46pm
Castleford and Widnes, two teams who were expected to be involved in a relegation tussle, are flying high while Anderson's Giants, who were last year's league leaders, and pre-season title favourites Warrington are well down the ladder after 11 rounds.
The Giants have started to show some glimpses of last year's form with three consecutive wins and Anderson believes that is down to the effects of the World Cup starting to wear off.
The Yorkshire club had nine players involved in the autumn internationals, including captain Danny Brough who led Scotland to the quarter-finals, and Anderson argues that had a knock-on effect with their preparations for the new season.
The former Great Britain international believes Sydney Roosters have been similarly badly affected in their defence of the NRL title after supplying players to no fewer than eight countries at the World Cup.
Squads in tact
On the other hand, Anderson points out that both Castleford and Widnes were able to start their countdown to the new domestic season with their playing squad virtually intact, while St Helens' only England representative was James Roby, although they had Sia Soliola, Willie Manu, Anthony Walker and Mose Masoe playing for other nations.
"It's an open competition," Anderson said. "There are a lot of teams that are feeling the back end of the World Cup and it's the same in the NRL. I think the Roosters had 19 players involved in the World Cup.
"Us and Warrington had a lot of people away and having surgeries and stuff like that. Players have just not trained and at some point it's going to catch you.
"How many players did Saints and Cas have in the World Cup? I think Saints had one and Cas had Liam Finn. Leeds are slightly different because those blokes have been doing it for 20 years. They're young and full of energy."
Castleford, who have lost three of their last six matches after starting with five straight wins, will face another key test of their top-four credentials when they host leaders Leeds on Thursday.