Huddersfield Giants v Leeds Rhinos: Whirlwind week for Thorman in race to stabilise Giants

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TUESDAY began for Chris Thorman having a pint with a deflated Rick Stone – the man he had just found out he had replaced as Huddersfield Giants head coach – but ended with him toasting the arrival of a baby son.

Given that whirlwind few hours, it is a surprise the 37-year-old has had any time at all to gather his thoughts and prepare his team for this afternoon’s visit of champions Leeds Rhinos.

Top job: Chris Thorman has gone from player to assistant to now being in charge, temporarily, of Huddersfield Giants.

Top job: Chris Thorman has gone from player to assistant to now being in charge, temporarily, of Huddersfield Giants.

Wallsend-born Thorman, the long-serving assistant who has stepped up on an interim basis following Australian Stone’s sacking, certainly has his hands full but that is nothing new.

He had only just turned 31 when he became player-coach of York City Knights so he has experience of being at the helm while the former England half-back has been involved at Huddersfield, a club he once captained, since the end of 2012.

But following Noli James Thorman’s arrival, and on his first press call yesterday, he admitted: “There’s not been much sleep involved recently.

“It (Tuesday) was the longest day in history. I was informed of the decision with Rick in (Giants managing director) Richard Thewlis’ office.

You don’t aspire to be an assistant coach do you?

Chris Thorman

“I went for a pint with Rick at the pub to say our goodbyes. I knew he wasn’t going to be hanging around – his family are still in Australia so he’d nothing to really hang around for.

“He was deflated. It was emotional. It wasn’t nice but if you lose your job it never is, is it?

“He’s a good, honest bloke and it was tough for everyone at the club to make that decision. I know that.

“I then got home about 8 o’clock that night. I had some dinner, got into bed, my head hit the pillow and then her waters broke. We drove to Pinderfields and she was in labour for about 18 hours. I can’t make out like it was me giving birth – but I was a bit tired!

Chris Thorman at his unveiling earlier on Thursday

Chris Thorman at his unveiling earlier on Thursday

“The boys weren’t in the day after so I had a little bit of time to do some stuff that I hang my hat on – some video analysis of Leeds – but we haven’t really focused on Leeds too much, more this group and what it’s capable of.

“It’s never as bad as you think. We’re two points out of the top-eight. It’s a simple fact.”

Thorman hasn’t been told how long he will be in charge for but he wants to be considered for the role – ‘you don’t aspire to be an assistant coach do you?’ – and hopes to put things in place that will help add to their two victories so far.

It would be no surprise to see more enterprise from Huddersfield under his stewardship although getting senior players fit is essential for that to happen.

Thankfully, both Danny Brough and Seb Ikahihifo should be fit for this afternoon but the injury-ravaged hosts are still missing a huge chunk of salary cap and 18-year-old Academy product Sam Hewitt may debut.

Thorman added: “I want to build some confidence, build some consistency in team training sessions – that is important – and that will hopefully be reflected in team performances.

“There might be some subtleties that I bring along the way. I have different philosophies to Rick. I didn’t agree with him on some things. As an assistant you tow the line a little. He still let me do my own thing but at the same time I wasn’t head coach.

“There was some subtleties I would have changed and I have opportunity to do that now. How quickly you can is up for debate.”

Huddersfield have an arduous trip to Perpignan on Easter Monday after today’s West Yorkshire derby against a Leeds side smarting from last week’s 25-24 loss to Castleford Tigers.

Meanwhile, Rhinos scrum-half Richie Myler is relishing his battle with veteran Brough and said: “He makes it tough.

“He’s done that for a very long time and is a big key indicator of anything that’s good from Giants.

“They have a lot of strike in their team and a lot of quality. They’ll be looking to turn things around and we’ll need to be on.”