It's 23 days until Super League!
In just over 3 weeks time, Super League XXIII will begin with our trip to the KCOM, and wearing the #23 shirt for us this year is local lad and arguably our breakout star of 2017, Darnell McIntosh! After wowing the crowds in our preseason game at Warrington, he made his competitive debut a month later, and went on to make 24 appearances, ending the season as our second-highest try scorer. We caught up with Darnell to get his thoughts on his first season of Super League and his ambitions for 2018.
Hi Darnell. The team's 2 months into preseason now, how have things been going?
Things have been going really well, I had a good break in the off season and just took time away from rugby to relax and that. When I came back in at the end of October I knew this preseason was going to be important, so from the start I've been working hard in the gym and on my skills. I've come back a lot heavier this year and feel good for it. I feel a lot stronger, more powerful and feel like I still have my speed, so I've been focusing on my skill mostly.
Last year was an inconsistent one for the Giants, what are the club hoping to achieve in 2018?
I think this year we will be looking to be more consistent in our games. We want to put in good performances and win our games instead of one or the other, which we was doing last year I thought. We want other teams to recognise us as a real threat (which we can be and are) and earn that respect from them. But we have to earn it first.
2017 was a fantastic debut year for you, with 24 first team appearances, an average of 100m per game and 13 tries. What are your personal goals for 2018?
It was a good year for me 2017 rugby-wise and one I definitely didn't expect. I made more appearances than I thought I would, which I'm happy about; and in those games I feel like I did well and played to my strengths in my running game, athletic ability and yardage carries, but it was only the start and I have a lot to improve on, so my goals are get better in 2018 and onwards in every area of my game.
You had 10 games at fullback and 16 on the wing in 2017 . Are you looking to carry on as a utility back or do you want to focus on a particular position?
As a young player I think it's important for me to get as many games in as I can and I think me having the ability to play anywhere in the backs is great for me, because it allows me to put my hand up to play more than if I was stuck to one position. I enjoyed playing fullback and wing equally last year! Fullback allows me more space and time on ball and playing on the wing let's me get my yardage carries in.
Your tries against Wakey, Hull and Cas left you as our top scorer in the Super 8s, and our 2nd top for the whole season, behind Jerry. Are you looking to beat his total this year?
It's always good to score tries and some of them I scored felt particularly good, so if I get to play again this year I'd hope to continue that and maybe get closer to Jez, haha