Huddersfield Giants’ Simon Woolford expects rule changes to bring more injuries and ‘blowout’ scores

AS TEAMS face the prospect of adjusting to new rules without any warm-up games, Huddersfield Giants coach Simon Woolford expects some one-sided scorelines and the risk of injuries over the next few weeks.

INJURY WORRIES: For Huddersfield Giants head coach Simon Woolford following rule changes. Picture: Tony Johnson.

Giants will be back in action, after more than four months without a game, when they face Leeds Rhinos at Headingley tomorrow in the second half of Super League’s reopening double-bill.

For the first time, they will be playing under revised laws including an option for referees to restart the tackle count, instead of awarding a penalty, for certain infringements.

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The changes have been in place in Australia’s NRL since May and Woolford predicted: “I am sure there will be some blowout scores early as some teams will adapt quicker to the new rule than others.”

He noted: “There were a couple of blowouts in the NRL, but what we have seen is a lot more injuries. The ball’s in play a lot more and guys are getting themselves into difficult positions in contact because of fatigue. There are a lot of those injuries coming out of those scenarios.”

Woolford believes the six-again rule will put more emphasis on defence. The Australian, who is in his third season at the Huddersfield helm, warned: “I think my concern is the load defensively, it is going to be a bit of a shock to the system for our middles in particular.

“The main thing is how we handle the defensive side of the new rule. From an attacking point of view we have got the players certainly to take advantage if we get some six agains.

“We have got some players that will suit, but with my defensive cap on it is about making sure we handle the extra workload. We haven’t had a long period to get ready for that, but all we can do is prepare as best we can and be as disciplined as we can without the footy.”

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