Ikahihifo looking for some magical moments in Newcastle

Sebastine Ikahihifo.
Sebastine Ikahihifo.
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DO not mention try-scoring to Huddersfield Giants’ Sebastine Ikahihifo.

He is certainly one of the best props in Super League, as the Aucklander’s presence in last season’s Dream Team and remarkable metre-making statistics clearly demonstrate.

But getting across the whitewash is a different matter entirely for the Kiwi.

Ikahihifo is set for his 54th game in Claret and Amber when Huddersfield face Wakefield Trinity at Magic Weekend on Sunday, but, strangely, he has still yet to score even once for the West Yorkshire club.

All of this came to light when asked about Matty English’s try in last Friday’s Challenge Cup win over Wakefield, the young prop’s first in Giants’ colours and in only his tenth game. Bad question.

Ikahihifo, 27, told The Yorkshire Post: “Yeah, he scored a try – and before me so I am a bit disappointed.

“I’ve been playing here for three years now and still not scored – but he’s got one after just a few matches.

“He played really well, though. Matty was the best player on the field. Ryan Hinchcliffe was up there as well.

“Senior guys like me haven’t been performing well, but the young guys, like Matty, have brought loads of energy and we’ll want that again come Sunday.”

Huddersfield, seeking a third successive win, quickly take on Wakefield once more as they attempt to continue recovering after recently being bottom.

It seems interim coach Chris Thorman will be in charge again; Simon Woolford was expected to be here at the start of this week but the Australian’s visa has been delayed again and, unless he receives it today, he is unlikely to be in Newcastle in time.

In many ways, though, it would be fitting if the former Canberra Raiders captain’s arrival was held up a little longer given Thorman – who has helped steady the ship since Rick Stone’s sacking – is a massive Newcastle United fan who hails from nearby Wallsend.

Regardless of who is in charge on game day, Ikahihifo believes the platform is now set for Huddersfield to climb the table.

The former New Zealand Warriors forward said: “He (Thorman) has been working really hard. The situation he was left with was pretty hard; we’d not won for eight weeks, but now we’ve gone back-to-back.

“Woolford’s not here yet, but he’s got some game plans in place and we’re using them. It’s going really well and everyone’s running his lines really hard.

“We also hired one of the high performance managers (Mark Andrews) from back in Australia and we’ve been doing a lot of conditioning with him in the past month. I think we needed it. Sometimes we were getting to games and we were fatigued.

“Half our team were at the World Cup so half our team missed out on pre-season. As a coach, when you don’t really have a well-conditioned team, it doesn’t help.

“We took action the last month or so and you can actually see in our last two performances that our defence has won the game.

“We blew Wakefield away with our defence last week.”

Trinity actually led 8-6 at half-time in that game, but had no answers in the second period as Huddersfield pulled clear 24-14 to set up a home quarter-final against Catalans Dragons.

Super League is Giants’ primary concern, though.

Ikahihifo admitted: “We need these two points more than Wakefield. They are five points ahead of us and to get out of that bottom-four we need the two points. It’s Magic Weekend – we need the magic.”