Hugo Salabio on why he joined Huddersfield Giants, that seven-match ban at Wakefield Trinity and the language barrier

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS have recruited smartly for the 2024 Super League season.

Adam Clune (Newcastle Knights), Thomas Deakin (Sydney Roosters), Jack Murchie (Parramatta Eels), Hugo Salabio (Wakefield Trinity), Andre Savelio (Hull FC), Adam Swift (Hull FC) and Elliot Wallis (Castleford Tigers) have all signed on the dotted line with big names Clune, Savelio and Swift taking the limelight.

However, within that group of new recruits sits 23-year-old Salabio, who spent the latter half of the 2023 Super League season on loan at Wakefield Trinity.

The former Catalans Dragons forward, however, made just three appearances for Trinity after getting sent off in his first game for Wakefield in the home victory over Leeds Rhinos.

A spear tackle on Leeds’ Richie Myler saw Salabio hit with a seven-match ban. Now, he has revealed just how angry he was at himself for that mistake.

“The seven-match ban was tough, it was long and hard. After the seven games I got back on the training field on the Monday and I then got a big injury on my calf,” Salabio told League Express.

“I was out for two months, in my head I was like ‘that was my first game and I did that’. It was really poor, after my injury I was really disappointed.”

It wasn’t the best start to life at Belle Vue, with Salabio joining fellow Catalans man Romain Franco at the West Yorkshire club in a bid to help them stave off relegation.

For the 23-year-old, however, it took him a while to get used to his new surroundings – and particularly the language barrier.

“I thought I could speak English when I arrived in Wakefield but I couldn’t! It will get better, in a few more months, I will have good English.

“It was difficult because of some of the Yorkshire accents and expressions. I thought I could speak it freely but I just learned some verbs at school, now it’s alright.”

Now on to his first full pre-season, Salabio is raring to go – even if it is hard on the body!

“It’s hard, I arrived one month ago and it’s a hard situation for me because it is my first pre-season.

“When I was with the Catalans Dragons I was injured during pre-season so I haven’t actually had a full pr-season so it has been really hard on the body.”

So why did the Frenchman join Huddersfield in the end?

“I spoke with Ian a few times and he convinced me to join the team. They have a good project and we have a very good staff and team this year.

“I didn’t know if I would stay at Wakefield or not, but I spoke really well with Ian and that made my mind up to join Huddersfield. I don’t know if Wakefield wanted to keep me or not.”

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