Leroy Cudjoe is happy to fight for his place at Huddersfield Giants

HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ Leroy Cudjoe says the signing of Samoa centre Ricky Leutele has done him “the world of good” and helped raise his own game.

LEROY CUDJOE: Enjoying the battle for starting spots at Huddersfield Giants.
LEROY CUDJOE: Enjoying the battle for starting spots at Huddersfield Giants.

Ex-England international Cudjoe played his part in Sunday’s 36-18 Challenge Cup success at Leigh Centurions, the West Yorkshire club’s first win since head coach Ian Watson took over.

He delivered an impressive display on the right edge having retained his place this term in the face of competition from NRL Grand Final-winning star Leutele and highly-rated homegrown talent Jake Wardle.

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Cudjoe, who turned 33 last week, has played in all three games so far and told The Yorkshire Post: “I’m really enjoying myself at the minute.

“It’s the first time in five years I’ve done a full pre-season and I feel so much better for it.

“When Watto told me he was looking to sign Ricky I knew I needed a big pre-season.

“The competition for places has done me the world of good.

“Getting the start in the first game I feel was a reward for the way I performed in pre-season but I know I’ve got to keep building my game and improving as I want to keep it.”

OFF-SEASON SIGNING: Huddersfield Giants' Ricky Leutele. Picture: Tony Johnson

Watson pitched Cudjoe and Leutele together in the opening game against Hull FC but the former Toronto Wolfpack star - who finished last season at Melbourne Storm - suffered a hand injury.

Wardle, 22, has come in and he made a series of incisive breaks as Giants beat Leigh to set-up a quarter-final tie with St Helens.

“Jake is already a very good player and he’s only going to get better and better,” added Cudjoe.

“Competition brings the best out in all of us, not only for your spot in the team but also preparing each other for games.

“In training me, Ricky, Jake and Sam Wood all keep each other on our toes as well as helping each other with advice to get better which can only benefit the team.

“We were really happy to get the win yesterday. The Challenge cup is a competition we want to do well in, so it was important.

“But the win should also give us some confidence after two Super League defeats. We’re certainly heading in the right direction.”

Huddersfield barely made a mistake when opening up an 18-0 lead inside the opening half-hour, offering a glimpse of the kind of football Watson is trying to get them to play after his move from Salford Red Devils.

“We showed in spells how good we can be when we stick to our process,” added Cudjoe, who helped furnish England winger Jermaine McGillvary with a hat-trick of tries.

“The next step for us is being consistent and ruthless with it. We want to be a team that’s consistent week in week out for 80 minutes, not just good in spells like we were on Sunday.

“But it is a step in the right direction.”

Huddersfield return to Super League action on Friday when they head to a Hull KR still reeling from their Cup exit after an epic Golden Point contest against Castleford Tigers.

Rovers also lost their first game of the season in Golden Point against Catalans Dragons and fought hard in another defeat at St Helens.

Cudjoe insisted: “Hull KR are a good side that can score points.

“They’ve taken two very good sides to extra-time and been unlucky not to win.

“They’re a dangerous side who like to throw the ball about and play ad-lib rugby so defensively we’ll have to be very good.”

England coach Shaun Wane has invited two of Cudjoe’s Giants team-mates to take part in today’s squad session at Leeds Beckett University.

Last week, Wane named a 35-strong squad for England’s opening game of RLWC2021 against Samoa at Newcastle in October.

With seven of those 35 based in Australia and several more unable to take part through injury, Wane has taken the opportunity to introduce Giants pair Matty English and Jake Wardle and Rhinos duo Mikolaj Oledzki and Kruise Leeming to the training session. Of the four, only Wardle has yet to feature in an England team above Academy level.

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