Watson confident of retaining Yates

Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson is confident of keeping Luke Yates.

League Express last week revealed that two NRL clubs have been showing interest in taking the highly-rated forward back to Australia.

The former Newcastle Knights player signed a two-year deal with the Giants ahead of this season to link up with his ex-Salford coach Watson.

And the 26-year-old, who was originally brought to the UK by London Broncos in 2019, has been a bright performer.

“I’ve been speaking to Luke all the time – we have a great relationship,” said Watson, whose side host Hull KR tonight (Monday) seeking a first win in four Super League games, before facing Wakefield Trinity in Sunday’s Magic Weekend clash.

“He does want to go back to the NRL at some point, but he knows at this moment in time that this is the best place for him.

“His performances have been outstanding. He’s really happy where he is, not only on the rugby side of things but in his personal life.

“He’s told us he wants to be here long-term going forward. It’s good he’s getting attention from the NRL as it means he’s performing at a high level.

“He’s speaking to (Huddersfield managing director) Richard Thewlis about his contract and staying here long-term.

“I want him with us to help us create a legacy at Huddersfield, so when he does go back, everyone will look back on his time and say how good he was for this club.”

Yates came through Newcastle’s system, representing New South Wales at Under-20s level in State of Origin in 2015 before debuting in the NRL two years later. He made 25 NRL appearances for the Knights.

Having left London for Salford following the Broncos’ relegation from Super League, he helped the Red Devils reach the 2020 Challenge Cup final under Watson.

This year Yates was rewarded for his strong form with selection in the Combined Nations All Stars side that beat England in June.

Meanwhile Giants Academy forward Marcus Garley has been handed a twelve-match ban and fined £50 for a challenge that left Wigan’s Jack Bibby with a dislocated kneecap. The match was abandoned after 68 minutes.

And Garley’s Giants Academy teammate Fenton Rogers has been hit with a five-match suspension and fined £250 following a challenge on Sheffield’s Tyler Dickinson while playing for Oldham during the sides’ Championship clash.

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.