Huddersfield Giants v Warrington Wolves - Crunch meeting of former Canberra Raiders

THE contest between Huddersfield Giants captain Aidan Sezer and Warrington Wolves star Blake Austin – two ‘marquee‘ signings and also former Canberra Raiders team-mates – is sure to draw attention in tonight’s game at St Helens.

However, Huddersfield head coach Simon Woolford, who worked with both players in his own time at the NRL club, feels that half-back tussle will only be part of the story in this Super League contest.

“Seze did play quite a bit with Blake,” he said, with Sezer moving to the UK this year after Austin had made the switch with some acclaim the previous campaign.

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“But Warrington are a fantastic team. They have quality all over the park and they rely a lot on their big men to get them forward.

Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer: Faces challenge. Picture: PAHuddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer: Faces challenge. Picture: PA
Huddersfield Giants' Aidan Sezer: Faces challenge. Picture: PA

“They play their best footy off quick play-the-balls and offloads so that has been a focus for us this week and obviously there’s some individual players there we need to do a good job on.”

Huddersfield have had plenty of time to prepare; after making their return from lockdown with a painful Golden Point extra-time loss at Leeds Rhinos a fortnight ago, they had no game last weekend. Warrington returned to action by defeating Hull KR 40-10 on Sunday and Woolford is confident his own side have learned from the errors of their way against Leeds when they let a 26-6 lead slip in the final 18 minutes.

“After what happened in round one (of the restart) sometimes it’s really detrimental when you then have to have a week off and you have a couple of weeks to figure out what happened,” he said.

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“Sometimes it’s good to get straight back on the horse and make up for what happened.

“But I actually think we needed that week; we got through some good work and refreshed ourselves not so much physically but mentally and got ourselves back in order.

“We’re confident in our preparation for this Warrington game.”

The West Yorkshire club, who won four of their five league games before lockdown in March, dropped down to seventh with defeat to Leeds.

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With this now shortened season, there could be a danger of quickly falling off the pace with another defeat.

However, Woolford does not see it that way – Wolves are joint-second with St Helens – and he envisages a deep and competitive race for the top-four.

“I don’t see a St Helens type scenario this year where any one club is going to stand out and be so far ahead of the pack like the were last time,” he said.

“There’s so many obstacles to overcome. You’ve already seen some clubs have issues with injuries. Others haven’t yet but I’m sure they all will as it goes on and there’s midweek fixtures, games to be made up for Covid and the Challenge Cup, too.

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“It’s important we make the most of our start, keep chugging along and then put ourselves in the picture for the back end.”

Woolford will choose between Olly Russell and Tom Holmes to replace injured stand-off Lee Gaskell, who is out for five weeks with a broken thumb.

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