As the Super League season draws closer, we look at how Huddersfield Giants will go in 2019.
As one of the founding members of the top flight of English Rugby League in 1895, Huddersfield Giants will be looking to improve on their 6th place finish from 2018.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Reiss Butterworth (Bradford Bulls), Matthew Frawley (Canterbury Bulldogs), Akuila Uate (Manly Sea Eagles), Joe Wardle (Castleford Tigers).
Jake Mamo (Warrington Wolves), Jordan Rankin (Castleford Tigers), Danny Bough (Wakefield Tinity).
Salford Red Devils (H), Catalans Dragons (A), Warrington Wolves (H), Hull FC (H), Wigan Warriors (A).
WHAT TO EXPECT
After an impressive end to the 2018 campaign, the Giants will be looking to push on and challenge for a place higher up the league standings. However, tough that may be to achieve given their leaky defence after finishing last year with a points difference of -257. The form of England winger Jermaine McGillvary and the additions to the squad over the winter period will certainly have sprung fresh optimism into the hearts of the Huddersfield faithful.
As ever, pressure will be on the shoulders of McGillvary. The England international has averaged over a try every two games since joining the club and is expected to have another impressive season having signed a contract extension in October last year.
Another experienced member of the squad who signed a new contract over the winter hiatus is Adam O’Brien. The hooker signed a three-year contract extension recently, which will keep him at the club until the completion of the 2022 season.
The 25-year-old has made 43 appearances since joining the Giants from Bradford in 2017, largely sharing the hooking duties with Kruise Leeming.
Head coach Simon Woolford says O’Brien is a key member of the squad and so the extension was of paramount importance.
“Adam [O’Brien] has become a leader in our group and is someone who we can definitely build around longer term in the key hooking position.
“His attitude to the hard work and sacrifices needed to be a top Super League player is exemplary and it’s good that we have got him tied down here for the foreseeable years ahead.”
Upon signing the deal, O’Brien said: “I’m really happy. For the club to come in and offer me a three-year extension is great. It means I can concentrate on my rugby, solely. I played some really good rugby last year, really consistent and it was the most minutes and games in quite a while so to get this is a massive reward.”
The signings of Matthew Frawley and Akuila Uate are important acquisitions and with both players having experienced probably the game’s best league, the National Rugby League. There will be a high demand for top drawer performances from them both, new to the team or not.
Huddersfield’s fixture list is rather varied as, after the testing games against Warrington, Hull and Wigan and St. Helens, they face Hull KR, London Broncos and Wakefield Trinity. So it’s a mixed bag. If they win the games that they will be expected to, Simon Woolford’s men will enjoy a good season if they manage to cause a few upsets along the way.
Top Tryscorer – Jermaine McGillvary
Top Pointscorer – Darnel McIntosh
Club Player of the Year – Jermaine McGillvary