Huddersfield Giants Joe Wardle admits players slacked off

JOE Wardle not only realises competition is as tough as it has ever been at Huddersfield Giants but also that it’s Ian Watson’s way “or you’re gone.”

The combative back-row is one of a handful of players still remaining from the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield winning side so he knows what it is like to be part of a successful Huddersfield squad.

However, the Giants have never reached those heights again since and have still not won a championship since 1962, something new head coach Watson hopes to address after his high-profile switch from Salford Red Devils in the autumn.

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As they edge closer to their Super League kick-off against Hull FC in a little over a fortnight’s time, Wardle said: “My first impressions (of Watson) are very good.

“He has some very high standards. Probably in the past, even some of us older guys, we have probably slacked off a little bit in our standards.

“But he’s come in, put his foot down and basically it’s his way or you are gone.

“He’s very good. It’s probably not even learning a lot more about the game.

“It’s more making sure we’re doing the right things all of the time which is probably some of the things we have gone off in the last couple of years.”

Huddersfield Giants' Joe Wardle (ISABEL PEARCE/SWPIX)

Halifax-born Wardle, 29, faces fierce competition in the second-row this term after Watson bought Great Britain tourist Josh Jones - who helped the coach reach the 2019 Grand Final with Salford - from Hull FC and recruited England international Joe Greenwood from Wigan Warriors.

Huddersfield had already brought in former Queensland State of Origin back-row Chris McQueen during last term to add to Kiwi star Kenny Edwards.

“It’s a bit crazy; none of us know if we’re coming or going!” said Wardle, when asked about that depth of talent, young Sam Hewitt having also gone on a season-long loan to Halifax.

“It is a bit weird but it’s probably for the best. It means you are pushing yourself to get the best out of yourself and we’re pushing each other as well.

New Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson. (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

"We’re having a bit of a laugh doing it and either way we’re all good friends so no matter what happens we’re all here for the same goal.

“That’s to try take Huddersfield up the ladder and hopefully win something.

“I’m enjoying it and having a good pre-season, too.”

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