Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson says his side need to rediscover their attacking edge as he prepares for the club’s first play-off bid since 2015.
The Giants finish their league schedule with two home games – against Warrington today (Monday, August 29) and Wakefield on Friday.
A point is still needed to seal a top-four finish and therefore a home tie in the first set of play-off matches.
That’s after Huddersfield lost 18-14 at Leeds in an action-packed derby, which finished with key halfback Theo Fages off injured and then the Giants down to eleven men after two late yellow cards, with Watson making an impassioned plea for the RFL to crack down on alleged gamesmanship.
The former Salford coach, who took the Red Devils to the Grand Final in 2019, felt Leeds’ Richie Myler played for a penalty in the incident which led to the 77th-minute sinbinning of prop Chris Hill, after which Blake Austin scored the try that clinched the home win. The Giants also had forward Joe Greenwood sent to the cooler.
Watson didn’t think either card was justified and said: “He (Hill) didn’t do anything wrong. There are too many players looking to try and get a penalty.
“Chris lets go of him (Myler) as soon as he flicks his legs up in the air.
“I spoke about six weeks ago about people trying to trick match officials.
“You’ve got to penalise the guys who are doing it and stamp it out, because someone is going to get seriously injured and the players involved in the tackle are going to end up having to live with the consequences.”
Huddersfield rued four missed goal attempts by halfback Olly Russell, and Watson added: “We were the better team for large parts.
“But our execution let us down at the back end. Losing Theo didn’t help and Rusty (Russell) let the pressure get to him at the back end.
“I think if we’d still had Theo on, we’d have won the game.
“We’re still sat in a great place, and we’ve had a great season so far, showing a lot of ability and patience.
“But our execution needs to improve going into the play-offs.”
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.