The new head of Huddersfield Giants’ Academy says that getting local players into the first team is crucial to building the club’s identity, as well as attracting the best talent of future generations.
Tom Tsang has returned to his hometown and the Academy that he himself graduated from to replace Kim Williams in the role.
The 36-year-old joins the Giants following a spell at London Broncos, where he was assistant to Danny Ward before stepping up to head coach midway through last season, having previously spent eight years at Coventry Bears.
“The more local lads we get through to our first team, the more we can build on that identity and really make it an attractive place for them to come through,” said Tsang.
“There should be a desire for lads to want to represent Huddersfield, because the more local lads we have, the more identity we have, the better culture we have, and the more successful we will be.”
That pathway has been visible again in recent years with the progression of players such as the Senior twins, Oliver Russell and Will Pryce into the first team.
“That’s how we will judge ourselves, but not just into our first team, but also into the professional game,” said Tsang.
“If they don’t make it with us, do they make it with other Super League clubs or Championship clubs, or do they go back into playing community rugby but come out of it as better people?”
Tsang said on taking the role that he wanted to make Huddersfield the ‘go-to’ Academy in the region for young players, and he believes that demonstrating that pathway is the best way to attract talent to choose the Giants.
“We’re talking about that really difficult pathway from Scholarship to Academy and from Academy to Super League first team, and being able to prepare those Academy players for life in Super League, so they can get there and stay there.
“The Giants over the last few years have proven demonstrably they can do that. My part in that is to maintain what’s been happening and try to improve it further, so even more players are coming through, whether that’s for us or for other clubs.
“Then prospective recruits, as they’re looking at their options, will see that there’s a pathway (with us) into the top end of the game.”
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