Huddersfield Giants v Wakefield Trinity: Ian Watson taking positives from injury problems

THERE has been a positive aspect to Huddersfield Giants’ recent injury crisis, according to their coach Ian Watson.

Giants head coach Ian Watson. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

A host of youngsters – led by Will Pryce, son of former Great Britain star Leon – have had an opportunity to show what they are capable of and Watson is confident, if quality, experienced players can be added to supplement the youth, Giants have a bright future.

“It’s about building and being able to get the right people in to encourage our younger players,” said Watson.

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“We had 10 Under-21s against Hull and 10 Under-21s against Castleford, which bodes well for the future. If we can put the right players in and around them they’ll grow and be even better as we go forward.”

Josh Jones and Joe Greenwood are back in Huddersfield’s squad for tomorrow’s visit of Wakefield Trinity. Long-term casualties Ricky Leutele, Jack Cogger and Lee Gaskell were due to take part in a team training session today, though Watson confirmed tomorrow’s game has come “a little bit too early” for them.

“Hopefully we should start getting a few players back in the next couple of weeks,” added the coach.

“We’ve got a few players ruled out for the season, but the other guys have been working hard.

“The medical and strength and conditioning teams have been working hard with them to get them back to where they need to be.

“What you worry about is how long can the young lads keep going before they have a little bit of a dip, so getting players back gives you a little bit more experience and means you can be smart with some of the younger players.”

Even so, selection headaches loom as the number of players in Giants’ treatment room decreases.

“The young lads who’ve stepped up have been performing really well,” Watson said.

“We have always said if you are performing, you will hold your place.”

Tomorrow’s game is a yardstick for Giants who were beaten 38-12 at Wakefield in May, a result Watson described as “embarrassing”.

He noted: “They are pretty much full-strength and it will be good for us to test where we are.”

Trinity will be lifted by the return of their star winger Tom Johnstone, who is available after knee surgery.

The England man has played only four times this season, having been sidelined early on by concussion and Wakefield coach Chris Chester is thrilled to have him back.

He confirmed: “As long as he gets through [today’s] team run, he will be fit and available to play.

“I think that’s a massive boost for everybody.

“He has been through the mill over the last couple of years so to have him back out there will be really pleasing.”

Johnstone is known as one of Super League’s best finishers, but Chester stressed: “We are not expecting a great deal of him in the first couple of weeks. He has been out for such a long period of time, but we are looking forward to seeing him back.”