Huddersfield Giants v St Helens – Coach Ian Watson urges Giants to avoid slow start against unbeaten Saints

Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson has warned his side there can be no repeat slow start against champions St Helens tonight after conceding they were “probably over-confident” ahead of the agonising loss at Hull KR.

Ahead of his fifth game in charge, the former Salford Red Devils chief is still awaiting his first Super League victory with Giants, Watson’s only success so far coming in the Challenge Cup at Leigh Centurions.

A common thread in those defeats has been sloppy openings to games, none more so than when falling 18-0 down at last year’s bottom side Rovers.

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Admittedly, Giants recovered to take the lead – only to then lose 25-24 following a late drop goal.

And back-to-back champions Saints – who have won all four of their games so far – will not be as forgiving when they arrive at John Smith’s Stadium.

“You can’t start poorly against a Saints team,” admitted Watson.

“You have to match them early doors. They come out firing straight away and if they put you in a hole there then you are in for a long day.

“It’s up to us to go match them physically and see where that takes us. We took it [KR defeat] hard as a group as well as individuals; we just didn’t do the right things in the first half.

AGONY: Hull KR's Jordan Abdull kicks the game-winning drop goal against Huddersfield. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance in the game. Every second half [this season] we’ve come back out, regrouped and played the way we wanted to play. We’ve been really competitive and won every second half. That shows what we can do as a group.

“We’ve just got to have that belief to start well. For me, it’s getting the right team out there early at the start of the game that’s going to carry that through.”

Watson has issues there, though; he had named the same 21-man squad for Saints’ visit but cannot field the same 17.

“I’d love to but we have a few injuries in there and we named them just to give them every chance to be able to play,” he said.

SEARCHING: Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson is still after his first Super League win this season. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Giants have lost both centres –in-form Jake Wardle and ex-England international Leroy Cudjoe.

Although neither injury is serious, it is a setback for the West Yorkshire club, who are already missing former Melbourne Storm centre Ricky Leutele.

Watson said: “Leroy was 50/50 for this week. Jake’s probably going to be a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed, Ricky may be back next week.”

Winger Sam Wood will switch to centre, with Darnell McIntosh likely to move from No 1 to the flank.

Giants loose forward Josh Jones and Australian second-row Chris McQueen can also both play centre.

Watson confirmed Lee Gaskell will start at full-back after coming on and making such an impression there at Rovers.

Props James Gavet, Oliver Wilson and Ronan Michael plus winger Louis Senior are looking to come into the 17 while Tommy Makinson is missing for Saints.

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