Recalled Anthony Mullally knows he has to grab his rare chance to shine for Huddersfield Giants.
The towering prop was the next big thing when he first arrived on the scene at Widnes Vikings. However, after moving to Huddersfield ahead of last season, the youngster struggled to make his mark for a side that went on to lift the League Leaders’ Shield.
Mullally made just one start and came off the bench only eight times spending, instead, large parts of the season on dual-registration with Championship club Batley Bulldogs. He was sent to Bradford Bulls on loan at this start of this campaign but – after impressing there and given Huddersfield’s dire form – he has been brought back to his parent club for this evening’s trip to Salford Red Devils.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson has given the 22-year-old a spot on the bench and hopes his impact will prevent an alarming fifth successive defeat.
Mullally told The Yorkshire Post: “I’m looking forward to the chance. I’ve not really played for Huddersfield over the last couple of years. I always knew it’d be tough here as they have a lot of experienced, quality props.
“But I’ve got my match fitness up at Bradford and, hopefully, now I can go give a good account of myself. I’ve got to play well so I can’t get dropped again. It’s all up to me now.”
The Ireland international does, at least, have some decent knowledge of this afternoon’s opponents; he played against Salford in Bradford’s 38-24 defeat last Friday.
“We were a bit unlucky to be honest,” said the front-row, who has played six games for Francis Cummins’ side this term and also featured in last year’s World Cup.
“I know what to expect from Salford, though, and they are a good team.
“I can have a look from the bench first and then hopefully have an impact when I come on.
“It’s been really good to got to Bradford and get some consistency. They are a good set of lads and I enjoyed playing under Franny. But now I need to do it for Huddersfield. Baloo (Anderson) has just told me to run hard and tackle hard. That’s all he’s said.”
In fairness, it is just the sort of simple advice Huddersfield need right now after a run of worrying results. They have won just once in their last eight games and were out-played up front at Hull last week when the home side’s front-row of Garreth Carvell and Mickey Paea were dominant in a 30-6 win. It is no surprise Anderson has tried shaking things up – strong-running second-row Larne Patrick is also back for the first time since injuring his knee at Wigan Warriors in February – but Mullally insists there is no panic in the camp.
“People are more excited than anything,” he said. “Everyone is just looking forward to going to Salford and putting things right.”
Salford have signed ex-Bradford full-back Michael Platt, 30, from North Wales Crusaders with the Ireland international set to debut at Leeds Rhinos on Easter Monday.