Ian Watson looking for Huddersfield Giants to make swift start

IAN WATSON maintains he will not feel under added pressure to get Huddersfield Giants off to a fast start this season.

They failed to live up to expectations in his debut campaign last year after joining from Salford Red Devils.

Giants did not manage to reach the play-offs but they have invested heavily again with the likes of internationals Chris Hill, Theo Fages and Tui Lolohea all joining for 2022.

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Watson, whose side start at newly-promoted Toulouse Olympique on February 12, could do with a strong opening to the campaign to assuage any early pressure on him.

But he insisted: “I don’t look at that. I focus on our processes and where we are.

“Do I want to start well and start fast? One hundred per cent I do.

“It’s a goal of ours to start strong. It always gives you a good base to go on.

“But it’s not a certainty to do anything.

Huddersfield's coach Ian Watson. Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“The year we got to the Grand Final (with Salford) in ‘19, we only won four out of 10 at the start and then later we went on a good run.

Hull won three out of their opening four last year and then struggled to win after that,” said Watson.

“Getting off to a good start is not everything but it helps.

“We’ll focus on where we want to get to. We’re in a good spot at the moment.”

Which is more than can be said of Toulouse.

They announced yesterday the sudden departure of captain Johnathan Ford, barely a fortnight before their Super League debut, due to “family and personal reasons.”

The star Australian half-back, 32, has spent 11 seasons with the French club, playing 190 games and scoring 53 tries.

In a statement, Toulouse said: “The entire Toulouse Olympique team is grateful for his contribution to the history of the club. We wish him the best.”

Toulouse have confirmed they are in talks with “certain” players about their vaccination status in light of recent developments.

The French government has passed laws which prohibit athletes travelling to and from the country if they are not vaccinated against Covid.

Catalans Dragons have confirmed all their players are vaxxed.