Brough lowering expectations
Danny Brough, who led Huddersfield to their first league leaders' triumph for 81 years in 2013, wants the Giants to finish lower down the table in Super League XIX.
The inspirational goalkicking half-back, whose personal-best season earned him a string of awards culminating in Man of Steel, has labelled the year a failure after his side suffered back-to-back play-off defeats to miss out on a maiden Grand Final.
Huddersfield also went out of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage and Brough believes there is huge pressure on the club to finally deliver one of the major trophies in 2014.
"The only thing that can top last season will be getting to a major final," Brough said at the club's pre-season media day at the John Smith's Stadium.
"We failed at the back end again. I thought it was a massive disappointment. We didn't step up to the plate in the two play-off games against Wigan and Warrington.
"We were consistent all year and won the league leaders' shield. I don't know if a few people thought that was the job done but I thought it took a bit of the sting out of the way we were playing.
"It's something we have to learn from. This is the year where we have to really knuckle down and overcome the disappointment of last year.
"I'd like to finish in the play-offs but I probably wouldn't like to win the league leaders' shield because nobody ever wins the Grand Final after that. As long as we finish in the top five, I'd be happy with that."
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson has strengthened his squad with the addition of pacy Salford Red Devils winger Jodie Broughton and experienced London Broncos forwards Chris Bailey and Antonio Kaufusi, and Brough is hoping they can make all the difference this season.
"He's brought three players in which has given us a bit more than we had last year and hopefully that can help us take that step forward," he said.
Huddersfield will open the new season with a trip to champions Wigan on February 7, a game brought forward by a week because of the Warriors' involvement in the World Club Challenge, and Brough is delighted with his side's tough start.
"Players want to play against the best and we've got a chance first up to go to Wigan and get a result," he said. "It's something we're looking forward to.
"Those are the matches where you have to raise your game. Round one is like a final and that's the way we'll be treating it."
In addition to being named the prestigious Man of Steel and Rugby League Writers' Association player of the year, Brough was nominated for the Golden Boot, which went to Australia's Johnathan Thurston, but he would swap all the individual accolades for a trip to Old Trafford in October.
"I probably can't ask for a better season individually than I had last year," he said. "It's all about being consistent and trying to do it again.
"I'd totally swap 2013 to be in a final in 2014.
"All the pressure is on the club. I think there will be the most pressure that they've ever had in Super League after achieving what we did last year but finishing disappointingly. I think we've got to achieve more this year and finish well."
Despite the form of his career, Brough was overlooked by England coach Steve McNamara and, after helping Scotland reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup, he has no thoughts of reverting to England.
"He (McNamara) told me last February he didn't want me and that he was sticking with Kevin (Sinfield) and Rangi (Chase)," Brough said.
"I was happy to move on. That's it now. I had my chance with England and I didn't get picked again. I'll stick with Scotland."