HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ selection issues show little sign of abating with the club revealing even one of their fit players – Tonga international Ukuma Ta’ai – is currently unable to play due to an ongoing visa issue.
They face Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday looking to bounce back from their disappointing Super League round one loss at home to Salford Red Devils. They were missing eight players for that 34-14 defeat such as injured captain Leroy Cudjoe, England winger Jermaine McGillvary and stand-off Lee Gaskell.
However, it has emerged Ta’ai – the 32-year-old forward who has played 145 Super League games since joining from New Zealand Warriors in 2012 – did not feature due to red-tape issues.
He may not be free for the trip to France either and coach Simon Woolford said: “The club are working through a very complex process regarding his clearance.
“He’s a slim shot for the Catalan game but he should be fine for the next round against Warrington.
“I don’t imagine there will be too many changes from last week.
“We’ve still got a couple of guys who need a bit more time. Aaron Murphy will be back. He’s the only certain one at this stage.
“We should have most back for Warrington which is our next game after France as we have a bye next week.
“Blokes like Gaskell, McGillvary and Jake Wardle should be available for round four.
“It’s very frustrating particularly early in the year but there was three guys we knew we weren’t going to have first up.”
Furthermore, head of performance Mark Andrews – so influential in improving Huddersfield’s fortunes last season – returned to Sydney after the Salford game to attend to some family matters.
The West Yorkshire club say he will be back ahead of the Easter period and continue to liase from overseas with all the staff on training loads and programmes.
Meanwhile, Featherstone Rovers back-row Brett Delaney has had to retire with immediate effect after the former Leeds Rhinos star was told he needs more surgery on a serious facial injury.
The Australian, who won four Super League titles with Leeds, suffered the injury while playing for Rhinos last July.
Delaney, 33, joined Featherstone on a two-year deal in October but issues with the fractured eye socket – which twice became badly infected and affected his vision – flared up in last month’s friendly against Halifax.