Huddersfield Giants rookie Will Pryce aims to follow in dad’s England footsteps

SONS of famous fathers have made their mark in Super League this year, none more so than Will Pryce, whose dad Leon is one of the competition’s legendary figures.

Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

Will is poised to take another step in illustrious footsteps on Friday when he makes his debut for England’s second-string Knights squad against Jamaica at Wheldon Road, in Castleford.

Leon won the Challenge Cup six times and four Grand Finals during a glittering career which included spells with Bradford Bulls in their glory days, St Helens, Catalans Dragons and Hull.

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He was also capped 24 times, by either England or Great Britain and Will also has aspirations of going on to play at the highest level.

Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce with his father, former player Leon Pryce, after the game. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

While next year’s World Cup may come too soon, despite its 12 month delay, the 2025 event is a realistic target for Pryce and his team-mates in the Knights group.

They trained against the full England squad at Headingley on Tuesday and Pryce insisted the next global tournament is “definitely in my focus”.

He revealed: “We spoke about that with [Knights coach] Paul Anderson, Scully [Paul Sculthorpe, the England pathways coach] and [England boss] Shaun Wane at the end of the session.

“He said if you show and prove to me you’re worthy, in three or four years you’ll be selected and you’ll be playing.

Huddersfield Giants' Will Pryce gets away from Wakefield Trinity's Matty Ashurst. Picture: PA.

“It’s all about proving you can be ready for 2025.”

Leeds Rhinos’ Morgan Gannon, whose father Jim played in Super League for Halifax and Huddersfield, also made his debut this year and is in the Knights squad for Friday. Anderson has selected a youthful line up and though Jamaica’s players will be drawn mainly from the lower divisions, with Giants’ Ashton Golding and Michael Lawrence being two exceptions, Pryce is thrilled at the prospect of pulling on an England jumper for the first time.

“I was really buzzing,” he said of his call up.

“I didn’t expect it to be honest, I was thinking more about the Under-19s squad than the Knights. To get selected for this is really humbling and I can’t wait to pull the shirt on and play on Friday.

“I‘ve watched my dad play for England and it’s what everyone wants to play in.

“To get that honour, I’m so grateful and I can’t wait,” he added.

The parallels between Will’s fledgling career and that of his father, who also burst on to the scene as a teenage prodigy, are obvious.

“Baloo [Anderson] and Scully both played in the same team as my dad at Saints,” Pryce recalled.

“I used to train with Baloo’s boys and be around training with Scully.

“It’s like deja vu really.”

While the early part of Leon’s career was spent in teams challenging for honours, Will has had an arguably tougher baptism of fire, coming into a struggling Giants side.

Injuries may have forced coach Ian Watson’s hand, but Pryce is grateful for the opportunity.

“I was expecting one or two games at Huddersfield this year, but the trust Watto has put in me has boosted my confidence massively and I can’t wait for 2022,” he added.

“In the first game, being on the bench, I was really nervous and I felt I was going to throw up, but it felt like a dream come true and now it’s a reality and I’m grateful and so happy.”

Pryce also paid tribute to the help he has received from Giants’ more established players, though he will not be repaying any favours on Friday.

“The senior guys at Huddersfield have been massive,” he said.

“I couldn’t have asked for more help.

“Leroy [Cudjoe] has sat down with me every morning going over video, Jez [Jermain McGillvary] speaks to me so much in training and Bruno [Lawrence] is such a leader.

“The group Watto has put together is great for our young lads.

“They welcome you in and I couldn’t have asked for a better group.”

But he pledged: “I’m going to give Bruno some on Friday, I’m going to try pester him and Ashton Golding and see what I can get out of them.

“We’ll see what happens.”

Pryce’s form in the halves for Giants has already caught the eye of rival clubs both in England and the NRL. However, he stressed: “My future is with Huddersfield for the next couple of years.”

He said: “I want to try and win something with the boys we’ve got at Huddersfield and not focus on the long-term so much.

“I want to concentrate on getting regular first-team rugby.

“I’ve got an agent and my dad guides me so I don’t focus on all the interest, it’s more about me focussing on my rugby.

“It’s rugby that does the best talking for you, that’s what will put me in the shop window.

“It’s about staying focussed on that, staying grounded and not letting things get ahead of you.

“I signed at the start of this year for two more years through to the end of 2024. I’ve not signed anything further, I’m just trying to crack on with my rugby.”