Giants set to announce Watson coup

Huddersfield Giants are expected to confirm the appointment of Ian Watson this week.

Salford confirmed the shock departure of their head coach last Monday and League Express understands the Giants are going through the final formalities of completing his arrival before his unveiling this week.

His impending move to the Giants caught many by surprise. Watson had previously entered negotiations with Hull FC over their vacant position and he had also been linked with Wigan and Warrington.

But he is set to take the Giants post in what will be seen as a significant coup for the Giants after several years away from the Super League play-off picture.

The Giants won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013 and, after a string of play-off semi-final appearances, 2016 saw them endure a difficult season and they’ve never returned to the top since then.

Last year saw them avoid relegation on the final day of the season while in 2020 they finished seventh. They were on standby to take part in the play-offs if any of the clubs finishing in third to sixth places had to withdraw because of Covid, but that didn’t eventuate.

One significant attraction for Watson is thought to be the Giants’ Academy, which continues to produce a conveyer belt of players for their first-team squad. That was lacking for Watson at the A J Bell Stadium.

In a statement confirming Watson’s departure, Salford said: “The club were surprised and disappointed by Watson’s decision yesterday, following his previous statements of intent for the coming season, but understand his desire to continue his development through the experience of a new environment.

“Watson was contracted to the club until the end of the 2022 season, after agreeing an extension in February of this year, and compensation has now been agreed between all parties.”

Under Watson’s watch, Salford overcame the odds to reach a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final in the space of 12 months, despite being one of the lowest spenders in the competition.

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