Extended family affair is allowing Huddersfield Giants’ Will Pryce to follow in father Leon’s footsteps

WHEN it comes to seeking rugby league advice, Huddersfield Giants rookie Will Pryce concedes he does not have far to look.

The teenage stand-off, who hopes to make his second senior appearance at Wigan Warriors on Sunday, is the son of former Bradford Bulls, St Helens and Great Britain half-back Leon Pryce.

His uncle Karl Pryce played for hometown Bradford, too, as well as Wigan while their cousin Waine Pryce featured on the wing for Castleford Tigers and another – Steve – was a legendary prop for Hunslet.

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“It has definitely helped me,” Pryce told The Yorkshire Post.

“I’m very close to my Uncle Karl and my Grandad Dennis who played at a high level back in the 80s. My grandad on my mum’s side – Andy Graham – played for Great Britain BARLA, too, and was chairman at my amateur club so it’s not just my dad’s side.

“We’re all a big rugby league family and they all come to nearly every game I play in and try to give me tips and advice.

“It’s a massive help having that since I was young; it’s a kind of slingshot and a step ahead for someone of my age to have the knowledge they have been able to give me. It’s a real blessing.”

Pryce came off the bench to produce a thrilling cameo on his senior debut against Catalans Dragons a week ago before Tuesday’s fixture against Castleford was called off, Giants unable to raise a team due to injuries and Covid-related issues.

Attacking the line, producing an assist for Jake Wardle and throwing one audacious pass, the 18-year-old’s confident display was one of the few high spots for Ian Watson’s struggling side.

Bradfordian Pryce, who lives at the family home in Shelf, Halifax, said: “It was really good. Really exciting. And a good opportunity for me to achieve a lifelong dream. Watto gave me freedom to go play rugby and my own game. Since training with the first team (in January), that’s what I’ve been doing – finding a way to play my own game within the team.

“I tried not to hold back. I didn’t want to dip my toe in; I wanted to dive straight in and try to play as confidently as I could.

“In my opinion, if I went out there and did that and go as hard as I could for the last 20 minutes, there’d be no issue.”

PROUD MOMENT: Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce with his father, former player Leon Pryce, after his debut for Huddersfield Giants againtst Catalans Dragons. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com
PROUD MOMENT: Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce with his father, former player Leon Pryce, after his debut for Huddersfield Giants againtst Catalans Dragons. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

It is no surprise he has continued the family tradition of professional rugby league.

“Being brought up with it since I was born and having a ball in my hands since I could walk, I always dreamed of playing rugby,” he said.

“I’d go to watch my dad every weekend and have been going training with him since I was two, going kicking with him and things like that. About this time last year, I realised I had a really good chance of being professional.

“The hard work’s always been there and the dedication as well. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.

Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce celebrates with Jake Wardle after assisting his try against Catalans Dragons. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

“After the game, my dad just said he was really proud. All my family was there and they have all been with me along the journey and seen how hard and tough it can be mentally and physically so they were really happy to see I’d achieved something.

“Now, any opportunity I’m chomping away at it. I’m trying to work as hard as I can, train as hard as I can so I can get another opportunity from Watto and Robbo (Luke Robinson) and, hopefully, play a bit longer.

“That’s down to them and how they want to take the game on Sunday. But if I do get the call-up for Wigan, I’ll be ready.”

With Australian half-backs Aidan Sezer and Jack Cogger still injured, there is a good chance the former England Under 16s player will feature at the DW Stadium as Huddersfield look to emerge from a four-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, on the night of his debut, Catalans posted a picture of a young Pryce decked out in their playing career - his father having played for the Dragons in 2012 to 2014 before returning to Yorkshire with Hull FC.

“The team I played for was the feeder team for Catalans,” said Pryce, as he recollected moving to the south of France around the age of just nine.

Leon Pryce, pictured in action for Great Britain back in 2007. Picture: Vaughn Ridley/SWPix.com

“They were called Catalans Juniors but we were only young and it was just amateur.

“Looking back, when I was there (in Perpignan) I probably did find it quite difficult.

“I was only young and all my mates were over in England.

“At first, I couldn’t speak the language but once I got the hang of that - and I can speak fluent French now - it was easier.

“It’s kind of a blessing in disguise now. I look back now and wish I’d not taken it for granted as much as I did and I’d like to maybe go out there one day and experience it again as it was a really enjoyable time.”

But for now it is all about making his mark for Huddersfield.