Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos - Jack Cogger calls on Giants’ flair players to step up and secure win

THE time has come for Huddersfield Giants’ key playmakers to stand up and “lead the side to 
victory”, according to Jack Cogger.

Rallying call: Huddersfield Giants half-back Jack Cogger. Picture Tony Johnson

The Australian stand-off is still waiting to savour his first Super League win since joining from Canterbury Bulldogs in December.

Huddersfield have lost all four games ahead of tomorrow’s visit from Leeds Rhinos, who admittedly have not fared much better themselves.

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It has been a frustrating start to the campaign for the Fartowners under new coach Ian Watson, given they have come close on a number of occasions only to be missing the crucial polish when they need it most.

Matters have not been helped by the fact their captain and scrum-half Aidan Sezer – who has been linked with a move to Brisbane Broncos – missed the first couple of games due to injury.

However, he is now back leading the side and developing a partnership with Cogger – who has started all the games so far –with fellow stand-off Lee Gaskell largely switching to full-back.

“That (starting) was a goal of mine,” said Cogger, who began his NRL career with Newcastle Knights.

“So I am pretty happy with that as I did come late in the pre-season. Seze missed the first couple of games so that’s one less person.

Partnership: Jack Cogger is starting to build an understanding with Aiden Sezer after the latter missed the openign coupel of rounds. Picture Bruce Rollinson

“But the make-up of our spine now, where Gasky can play halves and full-back, I’m hoping is going to be the right combination for us – three ball players in there.

“But we have to start putting the wins on the board.

“The middles are starting to do their role really well, as a team we’re defending really well so now it’s time for us as a spine to start leading us to victory.”

Watson has said centre Ricky Leutele will return from a broken hand tomorrow and there is also chance Leroy Cudjoe could also come back after missing last week’s narrow 18-10 loss against St Helens.

Getting there: Cogger is sure a first win of the campaign is coming under new coach Ian Watson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

Cogger added: “We’ve had a pretty long turnaround since then – it’ll be nine days – so we’ve had a number of training sessions this week where we’ve tweaked what needs fixing up.

“Whether attack or defence, little lapses have cost us in the end but with the team stabilising a little bit, and everyone starting to understand their role, a win hopefully against Leeds this week can hopefully catapult us for the rest of the season.

“Hopefully we can now turn those close losses to wins.”

It should be an intriguing West Yorkshire derby.

Leeds have not won since beating Wakefield Trinity on the opening day of the season, losing all four games since.

Clearly, there are mitigating factors for Richard Agar’s side who have had to deal with an extensive injury list which has blighted their squad.

Liam Sutcliffe returns tomorrow but Alex Sutcliffe drops out and Richie Myler starts a two-game ban so they are still missing ten first-teamers. Centre Konrad Hurrell is one of those who returned to action in last week’s 26-6 loss at Hull KR and the Tonga international knows all about the character of the squad and their ability to overcome adversity.

In his first campaign after joining from Gold Coast Titans, Leeds were in dire straits in 2019 – leading to Dave Furner being sacked – but they recovered and rallied, the explosive Hurrell finishing with 14 tries.

“The boys now don’t want to go through that memory of losing games week in week out again,” he said.

“It’s a motivation for everyone to work hard and try to take the club to where it is supposed to be.

“I always knew it was the best club in the league in terms of winning Grand Finals and we’re trying to get the club back to that.

“We’ve been doing it tough with injuries this year but we’ve still got a good squad to have a crack and hopefully we’ll get a win this week.”

Ex-New Zealand Warriors star Hurrell, 29, is out of contract at the end of the season and looking to earn a new deal.

He said there has been no developments on it yet and added: “It’s been frustrating.

“I haven’t started the year how I wanted to and now I’m back on the field I’m trying to prove that hopefully can re-sign me.

“I’d love to stay and that’s what I’m trying to do here.

“I’m trying to work hard and play the best I can as there’s a lot of young guns coming through and they can easily just play over me.

“I need to prepare and play as best I can.”

Hurrell joked he “might go do the dishes for Gary (Hetherington) and Kev (Sinfield)” in a bid to get matters sorted.

Helping Leeds to a win tomorrow would be a more likely way of extending his stay at Emerald Headingley.

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