Candid McGillvary sets the bar high

From Matt Preston to Simon Cowell and everyone in between, the UK has provided some of the sternest critics the world has ever seen, and it looks as though the Rugby League World Cup hasn't been spared with England winger Jermaine McGillvary proving to be his own harshest critic despite a seemingly impressive performance in his side's tournament-opening 18-4 loss to Australia

The Huddersfield winger had the honour of crossing for the competition's opening try, and despite earning universal praise for his team-high 207 running metres last Friday, McGillvary believes he has plenty of room for improvement. 

"It's not [that] I'm hard on myself, it's that I know I can do better," he said on Monday morning in sweltering conditions following training at Redfern Oval.

"It's just that when you get tired, sometimes I can take the easy option and be a bit lazy. Rather than going in and helping out, sometimes I might stay out when I know I should be coming in. 

"It's little things that probably the crowd don't see, but I know I should be doing. Everyone probably thinks that I did alright but I know that there's a lot of improvement and a lot of little things I can do better to make myself have a better game and contribute to the team more."

While McGillvary might have been hard on himself, his coach, Wayne Bennett, thought otherwise. 

"[Bennett] was really happy but obviously I know there's improvement to come. As I get sharper with the more games I play, I know I can do better," the winger said. 

His harsh self-assessment is nothing new, and according to the 29-year-old, that attitude has helped make him the star he is today.

"I've always been like that since I was a kid when I used to play soccer," he said. 

"I've always been my own worst critic and it's helped me to get where I am today so I'm more than happy to keep doing that. In my career I've probably played two good games according to me. It's not harmful to me because as long as people think I'm doing alright, well that's good for them, but I've got a lot of improvement in me."

McGillvary's next assignment will be against a Lebanon side full of confidence following their stirring win over France in Canberra. 

However, the powerful outside back isn't sure what to expect from the Cedars after he revealed he hadn't actually watched their game. 

It's not that he's taking them lightly; McGillvary just wants to balance his footy commitments with some much needed downtime.

"I watched a bit of the highlights but I didn't get to watch much of the game," he said.

"I don't really want to watch much rugby; I like to keep my mind clear. When I'm not training, I like to relax. I don't like [thinking about] rugby 24/7. I'm not a guy who goes home and watches a lot of rugby and analyses a lot of stuff; I just want to relax, forget about it, and then when I get to training, I can full-on concentrate. 

"When I was in Perth [before the World Cup] I spent a lot of time at the beach, eating and just general relaxing. It was a bit like a holiday without the alcohol and too much food.

"I try to have some down time, because I know if I was at home, as soon as I finished training I wouldn't be 'this move was good' or 'what should I be doing?' so I just try to keep it similar to if I was at home."