WELL, what a start to the season. We have put together such a talented squad, but you never really know where you are in relation to other teams until the friendlies are out of the way and the season starts proper.

Batley away was a massive litmus test for us. They are a club which has been consistently in the middle reaches of the table with occasional forays above that.

To beat Batley away will send a massive statement of intent to the rugby league world. I still don’t think the RFL are taking us seriously but, believe me, we are heading in the right direction. Everything is improving; we have key areas of the team, the finances, the facilities and our community work and we are making steps forward in every department.

I don’t think Batley played badly, but we upped our completion rate considerably in the second half and, once we started to get a fair share of possession, we became the dominant side. That said, we still had to dig deep, spending long periods on our line defending heroically, as Batley upped the ante. The fact that we had such a solid bench was a major factor in our victory.

And then to the fans – they were magnificent. They have really got behind the club and can see what we are trying to achieve. They were vocal from minute one and were making as much noise – more actually – at the end and in the Batley clubhouse. You could feel the excitement in there.

Looking at the Championship as a whole, you can tell this is going to be a really competitive and exciting league season. There were big crowds at Bradford, Leigh and York and the average was over 3,000. I really think that the Barrow public can match the average. They came out in big numbers in appalling weather for the Wigan friendly and I’m convinced we have a team on the pitch that the public can buy in to.

So this week, we welcome Sheffield and we need our supporters to be vocal and to give us that 18th-man backing. Sheffield have recruited heavily and laid down their own marker with the hammering of Swinton. This will be far from an easy game and is another major test to see if we can mix it with every team in the division.

We are all in this together and I can’t wait for Sunday to come around.