TO have 28 senior players fit and available to play ahead of the hectic Easter schedule is a real bonus for any club.
In Huddersfield Giants’ case, they hope it is a positive which could see them emerge on the other side of the holiday period as Super League leaders.
Many onlookers felt Nathan Brown’s side would struggle at the start of this season given the sheer number of injured players missing the opening stages.
However, they not only overcame those problems but truly prospered, suffering just two defeats in nine games.
They entertain Salford City Reds this afternoon with almost a clean bill of health so, the theory is, they should now only get better.
Australian Luke O’Donnell is one of those back in the fray, making his return after a seven-month lay-off in last week’s win at champions Leeds Rhinos.
The ex-Australia Test back-row admits he has been impressed with some of the talented youngsters who have flourished during his absence.
New signings Greg Eden and Luke George have been sensational captures but others who came to the fore last season, including Jermaine McGillvary, Larne Patrick – who yesterday signed a new four-year deal – and Joe Wardle have made further marked improvements.
“Many of those probably played a lot more top-flight stuff than we’d have thought last season,” said O’Donnell. “That’s now put them and the club in a really good position; they got a lot of experience, Nathan showed a lot of confidence and it’s paid off in the way we’ve started the year.”
Stand-off Kevin Brown’s switch to loose forward has also meant Huddersfield now boldly possess four creative talents all at one time, leaving opponents fearing where the next attack will occur.
O’Donnell admitted: “We’ve a lot of strings to our bow in terms of strike – Kev, Danny Brough, Scott Grix and Luke Robinson.
“That’s something else we’ve changed and that new style of attack is clearly working.”
England Knights’ Shaun Lunt misses out today with Brown and Dale Ferguson returning. There is still no place for Keith Mason even in the 19-man squad.
Meanwhile, O’Donnell, 31, is bidding to cement his spot this afternoon and hopefully prove his fitness in time for the Exiles against England in June.
“I got injured before last year’s game so it’d be good to have a run,” he said. “I’m just trying to get my form back on track here.”