Garry Schofield is looking forward to seeing how the Giants perform under Ian Watson
AND then there were seven.
At least that’s how many signings I make it for Huddersfield since Ian Watson was confirmed as head coach, although to be fair, they’ve been coming from left, right and centre (in Ricky Leutele’s case), so it’s quite hard to keep up.
As well as Leutele from Toronto, there’s been Jack Ashworth from St Helens, George Roby from Warrington, Jack Cogger from Canterbury, Joe Greenwood from Wigan, Josh Jones from Hull and Luke Yates from Salford.
And don’t forget, the Giants had already brought in James Cunningham from Toronto, as well as having some real talent on the books already.
No one can accuse Ken Davy, a man who I know from personal experience is totally devoted to his club, of failing to back his new man at the helm, and it’s clear he is serious about making Huddersfield successful.
On his appointment, Watto said: “I was attracted to the potential of the club. Everything about it screams top four.”
Well, the pressure is now on, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how he copes.
Given the level of his investment, Ken, who appears to be more ambitious than ever, will want to see results. Huddersfield have to make the top four.
While he always supports his coaches, Ken doesn’t shy away from making a change when things aren’t working out, and Watto will know that.
He’s in uncharted territory, because at Swinton and Salford, there weren’t the levels of expectation there now are at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Watto needs to hit the ground running, and with so many new faces, pre-season is going to be very important.
Of course, a club can’t simply buy a title – just look at Leeds in my day and, more recently, Warrington.
Having good players obviously helps, but they have to be moulded into a team.
Watto has shown he can do that during his time at Salford, where he coped with the loss of key players after making the Grand Final and took a new-look side to Wembley.
He won’t have made signings without thoroughly researching the people involved, and of course he has worked with the likes of Josh Jones and Luke Yates previously, so he’ll be confident they will embrace the culture he will try to build.
Part of that culture is enjoyment – for the players in terms of training and tactics, and for the supporters in providing something that is exciting and entertaining to watch.
Almost as interesting as seeing how Watto and his team progress will be, pandemic allowing, how the public of Huddersfield respond.
The Giants have a loyal fanbase, but it’s not that big, and over the years, many attempts to expand it have been made, and Ken’s frustration at what he sees as a lack of support from the townspeople has been clear.
Rob Burrow MBE
I’d like to offer my congratulations to Rob Burrow on his MBE and his induction to the Leeds Rhinos Hall of Fame.
Both are very well deserved, and what an inspiration he has been. The fact that he is now so well known so far beyond Rugby League circles is testament to that.
Rob really is a legend, and I make no excuses for repeating my call for the RFL and Super League to name either Magic Weekend or the title trophy after him.
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