All change at Huddersfield Giants as Aidan Sezer looks forward to a new era

AIDAN SEZER could be forgiven for thinking he had joined a new club when he returned to Huddersfield Giants from his winter break back home in Australia.

A new head coach – essentially his third in 12 months – a new head of strength and conditioning and a raft of new players meant there was plenty of change compared to the stellar scrum-half’s maiden season with the Claret and Gold.

As the former Canberra Raiders star attested, though, it is not change for change’s sake and it has left Huddersfield’s captain in a positive mood ahead of Super League’s start later this month.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sezer’s debut campaign last year had brought its own personal rewards; the NRL Grand Finalist quickly settled and such was his creative quality that, by the end, and even for a team that finished seventh, he was shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel.

However, the man who signed him – fellow Australian Simon Woolford – left in September after some disappointing results and being told his contract would not be renewed beyond the end of the season.

Assistant Luke Robinson stepped up on an interim basis but Ian Watson the Salford Red Devils chief, was appointed in charge ahead of the new 2021 campaign.

He has been backed by the club’s owner Ken Davy and been able to bring his strength and conditioning coach Greg Brown with him from Salford as well as sign a plethora of new recruits.

With that in mind, Giants are being tipped by some to be potential dark horses in the race for the Grand Final, hopefully following in the path of Salford, whom Watson guided to Old Trafford against the odds in 2019.

Sezer said: “It is different. But there’s a good feeling at the club. Obviously, Watto’s got a good track record and I think we have a good squad here at the moment.

“The boys have been preparing really well and we’re looking forward to the friendly (against Leeds Rhinos) in a couple of weeks and then the season.”

Watson, of course, is a former scrum-half himself although famously he spent most of his career piloting sides in the second tier rather than Super League or the NRL where Sezer helped Canberra reach the Grand Final two years ago.

“I’ve got on really well with Watto,” said Sezer, the West Yorkshire club’s first-ever ‘marquee’ signing.

New direction: Aidan Sezar is enjoying working under new Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

“I enjoy what he brings to the club and obviously he has his own style in the way he wants to play.

“It’s enterprising footy and it’s something as a half I’m looking forward to and relishing.

“I think Salford had a good brand in his time there. Hopefully he can transition that into the Giants and we can have a good year, too.”

Does the 29-year-old feel more confident of team success this time around?

“I’m always confident,” insisted Sezer.

“I was confident last year. But obviously there was a few hurdles that we didn’t get over.

“This year, though, we’ve got a really good squad; we’ve brought in some quality.

“Watto headlines that but he’s brought in some good players as well. Ricky Leutele is probably a big one for us; he’s had success at NRL level and is a quality centre.

“Then there’s guys like Josh Jones and Joe Greenwood who have been around and are seasoned pros now. With the application at training and the fact a lot of us are better for the run last year, it’s looking good.”

Frustratingly, Giants lost a number of games last season by very narrow margins, including three by only a solitary point.

It showed how competitive they were but Sezer insisted: “Even though we were close on the scoreboard, it wasn’t a good indication of the game. There were a lot of times when we didn’t really deserve to be in the game but we held on and that’s the character from the boys.

“But this year we have the quality and the experience as well to turn those into wins.

“It’s something we need to do as well; it’s small margins and if we’d won a few of those games we’d have been playing finals footy last year.

“We need to make sure we’re getting those wins and getting up the ladder this time.

“There’s a lot of quality around in the competition and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully Giants are the benchmark.”

And the biggest change of all, perhaps, a first title since 1962?

Support The Yorkshire Post and become a subscriber today. Your subscription will help us to continue to bring quality news to the people of Yorkshire. In return, you’ll see fewer ads on site, get free access to our app and receive exclusive members-only offers. Click HERE to subscribe.