Huddersfield Giants: Veteran Chris Hill preparing for Giants’ 2022 Super League challenge

PRE-SEASON training does not start for another couple of weeks for Huddersfield Giants’ new signing Chris Hill but old habits die hard.

Chris Hill, in action for Warrington Wolves against Wigan Warriors at the magic Weekend in Newcastle in September Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

While the majority of the squad began their 2022 preparations on Monday, the Great Britain prop has been given a little extra time off given – unlike Huddersfield – his previous club Warrington Wolves saw their last campaign extended into the play-offs.

Nevertheless, Hill is keen to get going and was out running on a local field yesterday “ticking over” in readiness for officially meeting up with his new team.

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Even though he turned 34 last week, Hill is one of Super League’s most recognisable faces and has experienced countless arduous pre-season schedules during his decorated career, he has not lost his appetite for this time of year.

Hill, who joined on a two-year contract after almost 300 games with Warrington, told The Yorkshire Post: “As soon as I stop enjoying that, it’s time to stop.

“I enjoy it every day. I enjoy the challenge. It will be a lot different this time, not going back to the same place I’ve been going for the last 10 years.

“But I’m looking forward to that – something different, a different challenge and a different environment.

“I know a few of the lads have started this week and I am looking forward to getting into the swing of things with them.

Chris Hill had a successful 10 years with Warrington Wolves winning two Challenge Cup finals - but never won a Super League Grand Final Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com

“I’ve still got a burning ambition to achieve something: I want to do that with Huddersfield. I can’t wait.”

It is just what Giants fans will be wanting to hear.

They have suffered false dawns before; the arrival of head coach Ian Watson this time last year, and a number of significant signings, brought plenty of expectation but, for one reason or another, little materialised and the West Yorkshire club finished a disappointing ninth.

However, the capture of Hill – whose 29 England caps include an appearance in the 2017 World Cup final – as well as St Helens’ Grand Final-winning scrum-half Theo Fages and Salford Red Devils’ Tonga stand-off Tui Lolohea suggests a greater return in 2022.

FAMILIAR FACE: Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“Huddersfield have been very inconsistent and had their ups and downs over the years,” he conceded.

“There’s a few clubs who have suffered from that. Huddersfield know they haven’t been consistent enough but with some of the players they have brought in it looks like they can really make a change and do well.

“We just need to get back to playing some basic rugby first and challenging every week in every game. That’s the key. We’ll have high hopes and ambitions.”

Hill, of course, has unfinished business; although he won two Challenge Cup finals and a League Leaders’ Shield with Warrington, the club painfully lost all four Super League Grand Finals they reached during his decade there. Their last title remains the championship success of 1955.

Similarly, Huddersfield have not won the league since 1962 and – although finishing top in 2013 –have still not reached a Grand Final while their last Challenge Cup triumph was almost 70 years ago.

The West Yorkshire club is the birthplace of rugby league but it has been starved of glory.

Watson hopes the leadership, experience and professionalism of Hill – who has three times been named in the Super League Dream Team – will help them remedy that.

“I know how Watto works and I’ve met him a few times over the last few months, too,” said Hill, who was on the Lions tour two years ago when the then Salford coach was one of Wayne Bennett’s assistants.

“I played with Watto at Leigh as well a good few years back so we have built a relationship.”

And Hill is looking forward to working with the club’s talented young front-rows.

“I spoke to Watto the other day about that,” he said.

“They’ve probably not had a real senior figure up there in the last few years. The likes of Matty English and Oli Wilson, they are the future of the game.

“But they can help me improve, too, and I can help them. I think they’ll keep me going and push me as well as me pushing them.”

Meanwhile, Giants have strengthened their coaching staff with the appointment of Tom Tsang as head of academy.

Huddersfield-born Tsang finished last season as London Broncos caretaker head coach, was in charge of Coventry Bears and has also worked for the RFL.