Simon Woolford’s ‘passion’ helps secure job as Huddersfield Giants’ new head coach

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Huddersfield Giants managing director Richard Thewlis says new head coach Simon Woolford is the right man to take over at an “important time” for the West Yorkshire club.

Australian Woolford, 43, an assistant to former Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown with NRL club Newcastle Knights, moves to the UK on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Although some paperwork is yet to be completed, the ex-Canberra Raiders captain hopes to be able to arrive and take over from interim head coach Chris Thorman next week.

Huddersfield – who sacked former Newcastle Knights head coach Rick Stone in March – have slipped to the bottom of the table with just two wins this term.

Thewlis said: “The decision on the head coach is probably the most important that the board make.

“And I have to say that as well as being a unanimous decision I felt it was made easier by Simon’s absolute passion, preparation and desire shown throughout our process of selection. He has looked in detail already at our roster, staffing structure and overall club set-up and is very excited to get over here as soon as possible.

“We sought advices and assistance from a number of highly-respected coaches and administrators in the NRL and on all fronts Simon came up as the right man for us at this important time.”

Thewlis is not wrong when he says choosing their new coach is one of the board’s most important decisions.

However, so too are decisions on player recruitment and the managing director’s work in that field has left plenty of question marks. It remains to be seen if the squad he has helped assemble – and the one now inherited mid-season by Woolford – is good enough to pull away from the bottom.

Stone, who also took over mid-season in 2016, had his hands tied for some time, but did enough to guide them through the Qualifiers that campaign before securing eighth spot last year.

Woolford, it is hoped, will have a more rapid impact to help make sure Huddersfield are not left in fear of relegation in the Middle Eights. He said “It’s a great honour to be trusted in this position at such a famous club.

“I have had ambitions on being a head coach for some time now, and after speaking with Nathan Brown and gaining his full support, this job just felt right.

“There is an immediate challenge at the Giants, and just as important a goal for long-term success as well.

“It’s certainly not going to be a case of coming in and waving a magic wand; it’s going to take some hard work and some buy-in from everyone involved.”