Woolford has ‘bit of money’ to spend to shore up Huddersfield

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Huddersfield Giants’ head coach Simon Woolford says there will be a “maximum” of two new recruits in 2019, but he also wants to extend Australian loose forward Ryan Hinchliffe’s contract.

The Giants have signed Samoa prop Suaia Matagi from Parramatta Eels for next season and have long been in talks with Fiji winger Akuila Uate, a deal they hope will be completed soon.

Huddersfield Giants' head coach Simon Woolford (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Huddersfield Giants' head coach Simon Woolford (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

Woolford said: “We’re still actively out there having a look. We’ve got a bit of money to spend. We’re trying to shore up what positions we need to strengthen in terms of depth.

“Getting Matagi means we’re right as far as our middles go while hopefully we’ll get over the line with Uate, which will mean our outside backs are looking nice and strong.

“We don’t need too many (more). We’re probably looking at one, maximum two.

“But we need to have a look at our roster and see who’s off contract.

“We’ve still got Ryan Hinchliffe. We want to keep him as well so we need to sort him.”

Former Melbourne Storm star Hinchliffe, 33, intimated when Woolford was appointed at the end of April that he would like to stay with the Giants for another year and his form certainly warrants going around again.

The coach added: “We want to keep him for sure. It’s just making sure we get the balance of our squad right.”

Eighth-placed Huddersfield are set to be without Seb Ikahihifo for Thursday’s home game against Wigan Warriors with the club hoping the prop will miss just one match with an ankle injury sustained in last week’s win over Hull FC.

Second-row Ukuma Ta’ai has received a one-match penalty notice for a dangerous contact in that fixture, but Woolford reported that captain Leroy Cudjoe, hooker Kruise Leeming and Scotland back-row Dale Ferguson are all in contention to resume.

Cudjoe (knee) and Leeming (shoulder) will need late checks during tomorrow’s final practice after missing the Hull victory.