Huddersfield Giants chief says NRL star Chris McQueen is ready to go

Huddersfield Giants boss Simon Woolford (SWPIX)Huddersfield Giants boss Simon Woolford (SWPIX)
Huddersfield Giants boss Simon Woolford (SWPIX)
HUDDERSRFIELD Giants’ head coach Simon Woolford has no worries throwing NRL signing Chris McQueen straight into action against Leeds Rhinos - he wanted to get him on the field just hours after landing in the country.

The former Queensland State of Origin second-row will make his debut at St Helens after being released by Wests Tigers to be able to join Huddersfield on a three-month trial contract.

He has only started training this week and has barely played any NRL in the last 18 months but Woolford is more than happy the 33-year-old is ready.

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“Chris flew in last Friday and I asked if he could come straight in for the St Helens game that night but he needed Covid testing so he couldn’t!” said the coach.

“He hasn’t played a lot of footy. He came back from a serious injury a couple of years ago and struggled to get some game-time.

“He hasn't been getting a lot of game time at Tigers but he did play three weeks or so ago for them.

“Wests have been really good; they’ve given him an opportunity to put himself in the window for a new contract and it’s very cost effective for the Giants .

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“Tigers were really forthcoming and very generous in their dealings with this deal so it was a no-brainer.

“He’s been a good player for a long time, has played at a high level, won a Grand Final and his experience will be invaluable for us.

“He’s a real pro, he’ll be another guy the younger kids can learn from and more importantly we feel he is still capable of playing some really good rugby league.

“The next couple of months we’ll need as many players as possible. “We’re fortunate to get Chris and he’ll be thrown straight in.”

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Huddersfield have still yet to win since returning from lockdown and - on the back of last week’s 54-6 hammering by Saints - have now lost their last five matches.

However, they will see half-a-dozen players return against Leeds including, crucially, the Australian Aidan Sezer, their captain and leading playmaker.

“We will resemble quite a different team to last week,” said Woolford, who also sees former Leeds full-back Ashton Golding, winger Darnell McIntosh and centre Jake Wardle return.

“Training’s not been as disrupted and the side’s a lot stronger.

“Getting half a dozen players back is important.

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“Seze is back and you see the difference he makes to our team just at training in our ball work.

“He’s here for a reason and our practice has gone up a couple of notches with him there.

“We’ve got to the stage now where we need to win. We’re looking to get our season back on track tomorrow.”

Huddersfield, of course, were 26-6 ahead against Leeds in their first game back after lockdown before falling away catastrophucally in the final quarter and losing 27-26 in Golden Point extra-time.

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“We don't need to change a lot,” insisted Woolford, when asked how they will tackle their West Yorkshire rivals.

“A lot of things worked for us against Leeds for 67 minutes a month ago.

“There may be some minor things we need to focus on but all in all we won’t change a lot.”

Huddersfield sit seventh having won four of their nine games so far but, of course, it was announced yesterday that the final table will now be decided on win points percentage with Super League fearing more games will be lost for coronavirus reasons.

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“It makes no difference to us as we need to string some wins together,” added Woolford.

“I'm sure at the end of the year - when the standings are final and how many games some teams have played - there’ll be plenty of debate.

“But there’s no way to make those postponed games up - it’s chock full - so I don’t think it can be continually made up.

“There’s no way Catalans will make it up as they’re three behind most others.

“Is it ideal? No. But I don’t think there’s another way around it.”

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