JORDAN TURNER believes tonight’s battle with Super League leaders St Helens will give answers to just how much Huddersfield Giants have evolved in 2018.
The West Yorkshire club head over having won nine of their last 10 games, transforming their season having once looked like relegation candidates.
We’re expecting a backlash from Saints as they’ll know they didn’t really perform in what was a massive game for the club.Jordan Turner
Remarkably, Huddersfield now have an outside chance of even reaching the semi-finals although runaway frontrunners Saints – smarting after last Sunday’s shock Challenge Cup semi-final loss to Catalans Dragons – are sure to be keen on quickly denting their progress.
Giants centre Turner said: “I think the whole Super 8s, not just Friday, will be a test of how far we have come as a team.
“Our form’s been really good in the regular season to get in there but that was the same last year and then we just completely fell away in the Eights.
“We’re expecting a backlash from Saints as they’ll know they didn’t really perform in what was a massive game for the club.
“And I know how much they’re hurting as I’ve lost a Challenge Cup semi-final with Saints before (against Leeds in 2015).
“But also it’s motivation for us; regardless of how well Saints have been playing this season, we know if we play to our very best that they are beatable. It’ll be the hardest 80 minutes we’ve had and the hardest we’ll have to get two points but it’s a challenge we’re looking forward to.”
Huddersfield – who lost 66-4 at Saints in April – are bolstered by Suaia Matagi, the Samoa prop set to debut after his recent arrival from Parramatta Eels.
Turner, 29, said: “He’s a large human being, big and aggressive.
“From the little bits I’ve seen in training, I think he’ll bring some of what we’ve been missing this year. We’re looking forward to getting out on the field with him.”
Meanwhile, Saints second-row Jon Wilkin, 34, has said this will be his last season with the club he joined from Hull KR in 2002.
Turner, who won the 2014 Grand Final alongside the ex-England star, said: “He’s been a massive part of that club for a long time now through the highs, lows and back to the highs again.
“He deserves a great send-off and I hope he gets it at the end as he’s been a great servant.”
Also, ex-Hull FC star Turner has backed Wigan Warriors second-row John Bateman to be a big hit at one of his other former clubs Canberra Raiders.
England star Bateman has signed a two-year deal with the NRL outfit from next season with the ex-Bradford Bulls player then returning to Wigan as a ‘marquee’ signing.
Turner spent a short stint at Canberra before joining Huddersfield last June and said: “John Bateman won’t need any words of advice from me.
“I think he’ll go out there and kill it in Australia.
“He’s probably the best English back-row around and he has a close friend already in Canberra in Elliott Whitehead who will help him settle.
“It’s a great move and I really hope it works out for him.”