Daniel Holdsworth: Why did I join Hull FC? To play finals rugby
CASTING an eye over the troubled times at Salford this week, Daniel Holdsworth will surely have been counting his blessings.
Following three years with the Reds, Salford agreed to let one of their highest earners leave last season as their financial difficulties intensified.
Hull's desire to strengthen their halves for 2013 and beyond saw a well-publicised pursuit of Rangi Chase, but while that deal was playing out in the media, Holdsworth was already in the bag.
Jumping at the chance to join Peter Gentle's squad, Holdsworth admits the opportunity to once again play at a club challenging for honours was the fillip he needed to spark his enthusiasm again.
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"It is definitely exciting to be here at Hull," Holdsworth told the Mail.
"I came to Super League from the Canterbury Bulldogs and we made the finals pretty much every year.
"I came to Salford and a good year was if you didn't finish last or if you scraped into the top eight.
"It was a big reason why I signed here, the chance to play finals footy again and to be at a big club."
Already aware of the history and ambition of the Black and Whites, with Gareth Ellis already signed and the promise of more to come, Holdsworth needed no convincing about making the switch.
"Hull made an effort to go out there and sign some blokes to make the squad better and increase their depth," he added.
"That was an attractive prospect and it is exciting for a player too."
While Hull's pursuit of Holdsworth proved simple to conclude, the same couldn't be said of bids to land Chase, Scott Prince or even NRL youngster Jacob Miller.
Unable to add further depth to the halves, the onus has now been placed further on Holdsworth to bring leadership and creativity to the Black and Whites this season.
Yet, while many speculated Holdsworth would operate in the scrum-half position this season, with the likes of Richard Horne, Danny Nicklas or Brett Seymour (who Gentle insisted in the off-season was a six and not a seven) alongside him, the Aussie says he's come to play at stand-off, not scrum-half.
"I've come in here to play as a five-eight and I've come to play the best I can in every game," he said.
"I don't know what the fans are expecting, but I'm here to do my best in every game and that's all I can do."
This Sunday's testimonial game against Castleford Tigers may offer the first glimpse into Gentle's thoughts for the season ahead in terms of his half-back options.
A week of training in Tenerife has offered little indication, with Holdsworth, Seymour, Nicklas and Aaron Heremaia all getting a chance to play alongside each other in a series of different combinations.
"At the minute I'm just getting used to the calls and the plays, and that hasn't taken long," added Holdsworth.
"We have been swapping the halves around out here and everyone has been having a go.
"The combinations look sweet to me, now it is up to Pete who he wants to play where."
Gentle may have a decision to make, but there's no doubting Holdsworth's place in the team is assured.
Looking every bit the player who excelled for the Exiles against England last season, the 28-year-old has assimilated into the club with ease and made his mark at training.
From his kicking game to his direction, Holdsworth has made a big impression on his team-mates in his first week.
Making the most of his first-ever overseas camp, the Aussie admits he's loved the time away.
Having landed back in England last night, he's now intent on making the most of the hard work by hitting the ground running.
"I've never been on a camp while I've been in Super League and I've really enjoyed it," added Holdsworth.
"Not knowing the boys before I came away, it has been a great chance to bond with them. I feel like I know most of them really well now.
"It is good to have a game to look forward to now. Most of the boys will have a run out and it will be good to get some minutes under our belt leading into the Hull KR game and the start of the season.
"We want to hit the ground running and we want to win games, so hopefully it won't take much time to find our rhythm.
"We still have three weeks to go before the season starts and after two sessions a day in Tenerife we've got through plenty of work, so I'm confident we'll be ready."