Performance more important to Stone ahead of Giants opener

Huddersfield Giants head coach Rick Stone insists that his side’s attitude and application is more important to him than the result in the club’s Super League opener against Widnes on Friday.

The Giants head coach has targeted a strong start to the season in their efforts to lock down a top eight spot, with Stone highlighting the importance of the opening six games of the season.

Despite that, Stone insists that he will be more focused on his side’s performance rather than the final scoreline.

“The first six games are going to be pretty important for us, but the way we go about things is more important,” he said.

“Six coaches will be disappointed that they haven’t won a game possibly, and six coaches will be happy with themselves that they’ve won a game. Ideally, we would like to be one of those on the winning ledger but it’s how we go about our performance that will be the most important thing for me.”

New signing Jake Mamo is the only player unavailable to Stone, meaning he could hand debuts to six players, including Australian forward Shannon Wakeman.

They face a Widnes side widely tipped to struggle this season following the departure of Kevin Brown to Warrington, but Stone insisted they remain a threat.

“It’s hard to get a gauge on them I suppose,” he said.

“They’ve had a few different shake-ups recently with their halfback going to Warrington and a few injuries. But regardless of who you play, you have to respect them.

“It’s the first game in the competition and experience tells me that every first game in the competition is hard-fought and I expect the same at Widnes on Friday.”

The Giants have gone through a big recruitment process in the off-season, and Stone is pleased with the versatility at his disposal.

“You lose players, you bring players in and you aren’t quite sure how that transition will happen,” he said.

“Continuity is important, but we have some flexibility in our squad, that’s the main thing I see, we have guys who can play in different positions which is handy, especially when you pick up injuries. The flexibility you need to have in the year is important.”