Harry Rushton outlines Huddersfield Giants ambitions and reflects on NRL spell

HARRY RUSHTON says even he has been surprised by the scale of Huddersfield Giants’ recruitment ahead of the 2023 season.

Rushton is one of eight new signings for next year, following the former Wigan Warriors youngster’s release from Canberra Raiders.

Also joining Huddersfield are Kevin Naiqama and Esan Marsters, from Sydney Roosters and Gold Coast Titans respectively, plus Hull FC’s Jake Connor, Nathan Peats from Toulouse Olympique, and the former Wigan trio of Sam Halsall and the unrelated Jake and Jack Bibby.

“We’re assembling a really good squad for next year,” Rushton told League Express.

“I’ve said it a few times, in the next couple of years we’ll be aiming for a Grand Final win. We’ve got some class. 

“I’m surprised how well we have recruited really with Jake Connor, Esan Marsters, and the squad we’ve already got. 

“There are a lot of young middles as well; it’ll be strong there next year.

“Firstly I’ve got to push myself into the team. I need a good pre-season to put myself into the team, whether that’s starting or on the bench, and then go from there.”

Rushton, who will turn 21 this week, has been back in England for more than two months after bringing his stint in Australia to a close.

He has had a couple of sessions with the Giants but has spent much of his time in the Ireland camp, playing in all three of their World Cup matches.

They were his first professional games back on English soil since making his sole appearance for Wigan in September 2020, by which time he had already been snapped up by NRL side Canberra for the following year.

He had three first-grade outings during his time with the Raiders but says the life lessons were as valuable as the rugby ones in his time in the Australian capital.

“It taught me so much. I’ve been under two great assistant coaches in Andrew McFadden and Brett White,” he said. 

“I’m not the best player in the world but I think I wouldn’t be as good as I am (without the NRL spell). The whole experience taught me a lot of life lessons.

“I went over there as a shy kid from Wigan. I had to meet new people, room with new people, go out with new people. 

“I had to chat to (head coach) Ricky Stuart, a legend of the game. I think when I was 17, I wouldn’t have even said a word to him. 

“But I bonded really well with the lads and the coaches. It was pretty gutting to leave but it was the right decision for me and the family.

“I could have gone there and not played for two years; it would still have been the best experience of my life. I’d do it all over again.”