Rick Stone believes the opening six games of the season are crucial to Huddersfield’s season.
The former Fiji head coach insists that a strong start to the year is vital to the Giants’ top eight chances, an early target set by Stone after he endured the difficulties of recruiting players while the Qualifiers were ongoing.
One of Stone’s biggest challenges has been assembling a squad to suit his style of play. Their relegation fight in the Middle 8s only made things more problematic, but he eventually managed to make seven signings.
However, having experienced the long-term drawbacks of finishing in the bottom four, Stone is keen for the Giants to get on the front foot in the race to make the eight and pinpointed their opening six fixtures as particularly important.
Huddersfield play Widnes, Salford, Wakefield, Hull FC, Leigh and Wigan in their opening six matches of the season, and Stone believes that they must get ahead of the chasing pack in that time.
“We were a little late into the market because of the Super 8s and then we had some cap issues and didn’t have too much money to spend,” he said.
“But things sorted themselves out. I think we’ve done alright and we have a good base.
“I think most coaches’ first goal is to win more than you lose, if you do that you’ll probably make the top eight. I think more so for us is probably the first six games, they’re really important.
“We need to be looking at winning four of those first six games to give ourselves a decent start in the competition, to build some confidence within the group and the supporters. That is really important for us.
“Every start to the season is important, but I think this one for the Giants carries a bit more importance than normal.”