Watson’s optimism over injured Giants stars

Huddersfield Giants hope forward Luke Yates and centre Jake Wardle will be fit for the big 2022 kick-off, despite having to delay the start of their pre-season training schedules.

While the bulk of the Giants’ squad are back in business this week, Australian Yates, signed from Salford a year ago, and Academy product Wardle, who took part in an England training session earlier this year, are on the way back from pectoral and shoulder surgery respectively.

“Luke had his pectoral done a while back now and he’ll look to return in December with modified training and rehab, and then it will be all systems go in January,” said coach Ian Watson.

“And Jake has a similar time frame.”

Watson is also optimistic over Chester Butler, the Wales international centre or backrower who has been dogged by injury issues and played his only game to date for the club in 2019, the year he joined from neighbours Halifax, initially on loan.

“There is great hope that Chester, after such a dreadful run of luck ever since I’ve been here and before that too, can start full training in January,” added Watson, who is gearing up for his second season at the helm after switching from Salford.

“He is running progressively and will hope to join the first-team squad for some sessions initially and then fully in the New Year.”

New arrivals Chris Hill, the former Warrington prop, and Theo Fages, the French halfback who helped St Helens win their third straight Super League title this year, have been given extra time off after their play-off involvement, as has top prospect Will Pryce after taking a knock while playing for England Knights in last month’s win over Jamaica.

Prop Jon Luke Kirby (knee) and fullback Aidan McGowan (back) are longer-term absentees.

“Jon Luke is another who has had no luck at all and is in rehab following surgery,” added Watson.

“And sadly, Aidan is going to miss a large portion of pre-season. He needs rest as much as rehab, which is a blow as he finished the year so strongly (on loan) at York, and we are all excited to see him push on.”

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