Huddersfield Giants stand-off Lee Gaskell admitted that he and new recruit Matt Frawley must step up to replace Danny Brough in 2019, ahead of tonight’s pre-season clash with Wakefield Trinity.
Brough rejoined in the off-season, in a deal what saw Scott Grix return to the Giants, while Frawley was brought in from Canterbury Bulldogs to partner Gaskell next season. But Gaskell, 28, who scored 6 tries in 26 appearances last season and earned plenty of plaudits in his second season with the Giants after returning to Super League upon leaving Bradford Bulls in 2016, admitted that he and his new half-back partner must step up next year.
“Obviously, Danny moving on is a big thing for the players and the club, he’ll be missed but there’s more responsibility on my shoulders and I’m excited to rise to that challenge,” he said. “We’ve got me and Frawls, as well who is a good talker and a good leader across the park. I would say the pressure is being shared around and some will fall onto me but I’m ready to step up and meet that challenge.”
Gaskell hit the ground running in-preason, scoring a hat-trick against his former side last Sunday, but feels tonight’s clash with Wakefield will be a more telling indication of how the squad are looking ahead of a big campaign under Simon Woolford.
Woolford steered to a sixth place finish in Super League last season, a place below Wakefield, and the hope in the camp is that they can set themselves up for a strong start to the season with a solid performance against Wakefield.
“They’re the sort of challenge that we’ll be looking for,” Gaskell added. “We’re two weeks away now and we’re trying to get up to full speed and they’ll be a tough, physical side that we need to face in preparations for the new season. We need to put all the things in place that’ll get us ready for the new season.
“It’s hard to say how close we are until you get our there on the field. We’ve worked really hard over pre-season, we’ve changed it up quite a bit, so it’ll be good to go out with a strong side. You never really know how close you are until you get out on the field but we’re hoping to hit the ground running against Wakefield.”