Aidan Sezer steals the limelight as Huddersfield Giants crush Catalans Dragons

Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara is praying for a swift arrival from Israel Folau to boost his squad after the 32-12 defeat to Huddersfield in the first round of Super League 2020.

Aidan Sezer.

Aidan Sezer took the limelight away from Folau in Perpignan with an incredible debut performance for Giants.

The former Canberra Raiders scrum-half scored 16 points as the Giants ignored the script and dominated an indisciplined and disorganised Catalans Dragons side.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sezer eclipsed the performance of his fellow Aussie debutant as James Maloney failed to fire for the Dragons alongside Josh Drinkwater.

All talk of controversial signing Folau fell silent as the Giants ran riot with a powerful pack performance and an instant hit partnership at half-back between Sezer and Lee Gaskell.

The Dragons are keeping their new recruit under wraps, fearful of adding flames to the media frenzy caused by his recruitment. Folau was sacked by Australian rugby union last year for making homophobic comments.

The Dragons’ defence out wide was at fault for several tries by Huddersfield and McNamara believes the controversial former dual code Australian international will plug some gaps.

McNamara’s opposite number, Giants coach Simon Woolford, believes Folau will be a hit, saying: “Catalans made a decision to sign Israel, they haven’t broken any rules in signing him.

“There’s been a lot of discussion and a lot of clubs are against it. But he’s here now and it’s a good signing for the Catalans, full credit to them.

“They’ve got a good player, so full credit to them.”

Woolford was delighted with his own signing from Down Under, new club captain Aidan Sezer, who was outstanding in the victory in Perpignan.

Woolford said: “Aidan Sezer’s made a huge difference to our team, I think it’s obvious for all to see. He’s played 160 NRL games, he’s composed and not much rattles him. He’s such a good goal-kicker as well and I thought his kicking game, along with Gasky (Lee Gaskell) showed a good variety.

“I thought they put Catalans under a lot of pressure and the more they play together the more dangerous they are going to be.

“We wanted to make sure we made a bit of a stand. We’re a different team, we’ve brought in four or five different players and some young kids who got some game-time last year who have now got another pre-season behind them.

“We know where we’re heading, we know what sort of team we’ve got and what we’re capable of and tonight we took a step in the right direction.

“If we can compete like that every week and turn up with that defensive mentality I think we’ll win a lot more than we’ll lose.”

Catalans Dragons: S Tomkins; Romano, Langi, Mead, Yaha; Maloney, Drinkwater; Bousquet, McIlorum, Casty, J Tomkins, Whitley, Garcia. Substitutes: Simon, Jullien, Baitieri, Kasiano.

Huddersfield Giants: McIntosh; McGillvary, Wood, Jk Wardle, L Senior; Gaskell, Sezer; Matagi, O’Brien, English, Murphy, Jo Wardle, Lawrence. Substitutes: Gavet, Edwards, Ta’ai, Clough.

Referee: S Mikalauskas (RFL).