The surroundings might be different – but there are plenty of familiar faces as Ollie Roberts gets stuck into pre-season with Huddersfield after a lengthy loan stint at Salford.
Having spent the last two years with the Red Devils, racking up 21 appearances, the Ireland second rower is back at the Giants, who signed him from Bradford in 2015.
Not only has Roberts remained in regular contact with a number of Huddersfield players, but he has also been reunited with Ian Watson, coach of Salford when he crossed the Pennines after finding himself out of the picture under Simon Woolford at the John Smith’s Stadium.
And the current Giants team chief, who is approaching his second season at the helm, has recruited several players he worked with at his old club who, under his guidance, memorably made the Super League Grand Final in 2019 and Challenge Cup Final in 2020.
“Luke Yates and Olly Ashall-Bott (on loan from London Broncos) were both at Salford in my first season there, while Huddersfield have recently signed Tui Lolohea, and also brought back Seb Ikahihifo, who like me has had two years on loan,” explained Roberts, who turns 27 on Christmas Eve.
“And I’ve stayed in the loop with a lot of the Giants lads, so it’s not like I’m joining a new club and having to get to know everyone.”
Roberts has a year remaining on a Huddersfield contract extension signed after he returned from the 2017 World Cup, and while he accepts competition for a place will be tough, is keen to make his mark and persuade the club to activate the additional twelve-month option in their favour.
“There have been some really good additions made, meaning Watto has options in every area,” he added.
“But that’s what you need to be successful and to push on as a club. It’s an exciting time for Huddersfield, and I want to be part of it.”
The Giants have agreed a year’s contract extension with fullback Ashall-Bott, who was signed from London a year ago.
The 24-year-old, who began his career at Widnes, scored two tries in nine games for Huddersfield and one in two loan outings for Wakefield this year.
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