KEVIN BROWN has spoken of his "incredible pride" having been made the new Huddersfield Giants captain.
The England international, who toured during the Four Nations last year, has taken over from former Man of Steel Brett Hodgson following the Australian's move to Warrington.
Brown, 26, led the Giants on occasions last season during Hodgson's injury absence but has now been chosen to lead them on a permanent basis by coach Nathan Brown.
"It's a tremendous honour for me and one I was delighted to accept," said the ex-Wigan stand-off.
"It's an incredibly proud moment for me.
"I've played under some great captains in my career so far and I'll be trying to lead by example and be as consistent throughout the year as I can be.
"Myself and Nathan (Brown) have spoken about the importance of improving all the time, both as a team and individually; I was quite consistent last year and if I can improve further then I will be really happy.
"The squad is improving all the time, especially the younger players who are really stepping up and showing that they are ready for the Super League.
"Hopefully we can take that into the season and have a great year."
Brown, contracted to the Giants until 2015, is seen as a long-term appointment and it proved an easy decision for his coach.
"Kev has shown that he consistently does the right things on and off the field and he is not frightened to challenge other players to do the same," said Brown.
"The big bonus that Kev will have is that he has a good group of senior players around him who will definitely support him as captain and the fact that he is contracted to the club for the next five years offers some good stability for everyone involved."
Meanwhile, half-back Brett Finch, one of Wigan's three close-season recruits from Melbourne Storm, will miss the start of the Super League champions' title defence through injury.
The 29-year-old, who has signed a two-year contract, hurt his neck in pre-season training and will undergo surgery this week.
"The news is a blow to the club and the player and, as yet, we are unsure of how long he will be on the sidelines but he will miss the start of the 2011 season," said Warriors coach Michael Maguire.
"Brett is a great character and we know he will be looking to bounce back as soon as possible."
Wigan will also be without goalkicking winger Pat Richards, the 2010 Man of Steel, for the start of the new season on February 12 as he continues his recuperation from a ruptured Achilles sustained in October's Grand-Final win over St Helens.
However, new signings Ryan Hoffman and Jeff Lima will make their first appearances in Sunday's friendly at Salford.