Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors: Loanee Jack Hughes out to prove value to prospective employers

MAKING AN IMPRSSSION: Jack Hughes has been a big addition for Huddersfield Giants this season. Picture: John Rushworth.
MAKING AN IMPRSSSION: Jack Hughes has been a big addition for Huddersfield Giants this season. Picture: John Rushworth.
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HUDDERSFIELD Giants loanee Jack Hughes does not yet know where he will play his football in 2016 but that matters little as he is concentrating on the now – and damaging his parent club Wigan Warriors’ hopes of title glory.

The England Knights player has been a regular in the Huddersfield side since joining on a season-long loan last November.

To that end, the deal has served its purpose; Hughes needed to play in Super League often to prove his value to Wigan head coach Shaun Wane and the West Yorkshire club needed a mobile second-row who could cope with big minutes.

Competition at his parent club is still so intense that one of their three second-rows in the England reckoning – Joel Tomkins – is currently playing centre.

With Liam Farrell and John Bateman in form, Wane has a plethora of options including Larne Patrick, the Huddersfield prop/second-row who moved the other way in the Hughes deal.

“I’ve spoken to Waney a few times,” said Hughes.

“We’ve had a catch up and a few coffees but I’ve not heard as yet what will happen next year.”

Tomorrow’s fixture between the two will give the 23-year-old a perfect chance to impress all parties further.

Fourth-placed Giants hosts third-placed Wigan knowing victory will cut the deficit between the two to a single point with just six regular rounds then remaining.

“I was looking forward to it already as soon as the Catalans game was over,” said Hughes, in relation to Huddersfield’s dramatic 22-22 draw with the French club at Magic Weekend last Sunday.

“Hopefully we’ll beat them and that will put us closer to the top of the table. When you look at recent years, Huddersfield do do well against Wigan.

“We’ll be confident, of course we will, just as we were last time.”

Giants fell 24-16 at DW Stadium in February, only Hughes’s second game with his loan club, but they led 16-10 at the break and were unlucky not to come away with more.

However, for all they are in the top four, Paul Anderson’s side have struggled for any real rhythm this term, illustrated again last weekend.

They let a 16-0 lead slip against Catalans and eventually needed Danny Brough to convert Jermaine McGillvary’s last-minute try from the touchline to snatch a 22-22 draw.

Hughes admits his side thought they had the points in the bag with their initial dominance in Newcastle.

“We felt we were on top and they were just defending their try line for 40 minutes,” he added. “But, then again, so did we for that second half.

“It was definitely a game of two halves and we were disappointed.

“The way we started you’d say it was a point lost but after the second half you could say gained. We went with ‘lost’ and it’s given us something to work on this week.”

Wigan, meanwhile, were mightily impressive in defeating leaders Leeds Rhinos 27-12 at St James’ Park. They had been embarrassed 58-16 by Catalans in Perpignan the week previously but responded in emphatic fashion.

“They wouldn’t have been happy after that Catalans game,” admitted Hughes.

“They are going to be building now. They are chasing that top of the table and the Challenge Cup. But we want to finish first, too, and give ourselves a chance of Old Trafford. We have to be in that top four to do that. We’re doing everything we can – working and playing hard to get there.”

Huddersfield may have won the League Leaders’ Shield in 2013 but they have still yet to reach a Super League Grand Final and have not won an actual championship since 1962.

Doing that would be some way to mark his spell with the club.

But Hughes, and Huddersfield, know they have to start finding consistency soon or it will be the more familiar faces of Wigan and others lifting the all-important trophies once more.

Huddersfield have recalled prop Josh Johnson and called up academy products Liam Johnson and Jared Simpson for the first time after losing full-back Scott Grix due to suspension and Aaron Murphy and Brett Ferres with knee injuries.