Cording is relishing chance in top flight with Giants

IT HAS been a circuitous route getting there but Huddersfield Giants’ Jamie Cording can finally describe himself as a Super League player.

Not only that but the unassuming forward is managing to consistently hold his own at a club which perhaps has the most competitive back-row in the competition.

When all his options are available, Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson can call upon various internationals and a general embarrassment of riches including Jason Chan, David Faiumu, Brett Ferres, Dale Ferguson, Ukuma Ta’ai and Michael Lawrence.

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He was so spoilt for choice that it mattered little former Kangaroo Luke O’Donnell wanted to head home earlier in the year.

However, invariably of late, Anderson has plumped for the reliability of Cording, a 23-year-old from Featherstone, once discarded by Castleford Tigers but re-born after an enlightening spell at the unlikely outpost of Gateshead.

Having scored his second try of the season in Easter Monday’s win over Widnes Vikings, he is expected to be retained today, making his ninth appearance from a possible 11 as Huddersfield seek to return to the Super League summit in the televised game at, ironically enough, bottom-placed Castleford.

“I’m thrilled I’ve got a run of matches,” Cording told the Yorkshire Post, that total being more than in the previous two campaigns combined.

“Paul told me in pre-season if I did the right things and showed up in the trials I’d get a chance. He’s stood by his word.

“Hopefully I keep repaying him by playing well but we have had some fantastic players here especially in the back-row over the past few years.

“We’ve got back-rows coming out of our ears. I’ve got to concentrate on what I can do.

“Paul has seen what I give and that’s working hard for this side. I’m just glad he’s giving me the opportunity.”

Cording’s work-ethic and tireless attitude has proved a crucial, if unheralded, cog in the Giants machine.

It was something Castleford failed to appreciate when he was still developing as a teenager.

“I signed at Cas from Featherstone Lions when I was 16 and came through the junior ranks to earn a full-time deal,” he recalled.

“But it didn’t work out there and I went off to play for Gateshead in the Championship when I was about 19.

“I’ve always been confident I could play at this level and the one thing I pride myself on is my determination. I was really determined to get back to Super League and going to Gateshead turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.

“I know they’re struggling now but back then they were a great side with some great lads. A couple of players from Cas – Joe Arundel and Jonny Walker – went with me at the time. Obviously, things worked out for them back at Cas and Joe’s at Hull FC now.

“But it really benefitted me going to Gateshead as a teenager and playing against men each week for a season.

“It held me in good stead to become a better player and Huddersfield came off the back of that.

“When (head of youth) Peter Riding got in touch (in 2010) I took the shot and I’ve never looked back.”

Mention there of Arundel, the England Knights centre, is a timely reminder of the quality that stemmed from a remarkable junior side.

“I think 11 or 12 of that Fev Lions side went on to sign full-time with pro’ clubs,” recalled Cording.

“It was a fantastic side. We went unbeaten for two years and won the National Cup against a Blackbrook team that included Jamie Foster, Gary Wheeler and Sean Magennis. We had Keal Carlile (Hull KR), Tom Briscoe (Hull FC) and Richie Owen (Castleford) as well as Joe Westerman (Hull FC) and Joe (Arundel).

“It’s great to see they’re all doing well. I’m trying to emulate them now and hopefully I’ll keep getting games here.”

Cording insists there will be no added incentive when he returns to Wheldon Road even though, to add to the intrigue, he is also a proud supporter of their fiercest rivals.

“I come from Featherstone, was a fan as a kid and still look out for their results,” he explained.

“They are doing great in the Championship and the club’s really going forward but it wasn’t any of their players I looked up to as a kid.

“The one I always wanted to be was Henry Paul at Bradford. He was just brilliant. I used to watch the Bulls a bit and some of the things he did were class.

“I know he’s a stand-off and I’m a back-row but I actually played my junior football as a six, played service area and for Yorkshire there and signed for Cas as a half-back too.

“I ended up moving to centre and when I grew a bit more finished up in the pack.

“To be fair, when you’re playing back-row it does help having been a half-back before as you know where they want you to run and, at Huddersfield, we’ve got some fantastic halves.”

It is no secret that Castleford are in some disarray ahead of this afternoon’s contest given they have not won since a triumphant victory over champions Leeds Rhinos on February 10.

Nevertheless, they have an impressive home record over their West Yorkshire rivals, winning the last four meetings at Wheldon Road with Huddersfield not prospering there since 2009.

“They’re a great team who’ve had a tough run,” said Cording.

“Cas’ have played all the top teams and shown up well against the form teams in the big games.

“We have to be going there with the right attitude to get the win as, on their own turf, I know Cas players know that pitch inch by inch and with the crowd behind them, they get a great atmosphere going meaning it’s always a tough match if you want that win.”