Ollie Roberts eager to get back under the tutelage of Ian Watson at Huddersfield Giants

AFTER two years on loan with Salford Red Devils, Ollie Roberts is relishing the chance to make his mark once more at Huddersfield Giants in 2022.

Ollie Roberts: Spent the last two years at Salford, now fighting for his future at Huddersfield. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The second-row’s stock was high when he returned from an excellent 2017 World Cup with Ireland and he was seen as one of the most promising young forwards in Super League.

Indeed, Roberts signed a new five-year deal with Huddersfield early the following season but eventually found himself out of favour when Simon Woolford took over as head coach just a few months later.

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He was sent out on a season-long loan to Salford in 2020, working under current Giants coach Ian Watson, and spent last season there, too.

However, the Halifax-born forward has now headed back to Giants along with prop Seb Ikahihifo who has also spent the last two seasons on loan with the Red Devils.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Roberts said: “I am really looking forward to getting going again with Huddersfield.

“I went on loan to Watto when he was at Salford so it doesn’t make it as weird coming back now as he’s now coach here.

“I wasn’t in Simon Woolford’s way of playing and that’s his opinion but opinions vary.

Ollie Roberts has one year left on his contract at Huddersfield Giants (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“Watto did what I needed to do to play in that team. It has been a bit of a rocky road coming back from the World Cup, then not being in Germ’s (Woolford) plans and not pushing on from there.

“I needed a coach who was going to help me and progress me as a player.

“I was still a young lad coming back from that World Cup: I needed to learn some stuff.

“Watto did that. He taught me some things at Salford but unfortunately he came to Huddersfield (in 2020) after I’d already signed my second year loan as he thought he was staying.

Seb Ikahihifo is also back at Huddersfield after two years with Salford (Picture: RL Photos)

“I was already committed and so was Seb. So I just thought I’d have a good year under Richard Marshall and then push to come back to Huddersfield this season and here we are.”

The former Bradford Bulls player still faces a battle to get in the side given the quality Huddersfield have at second-row with Great Britain’s Josh Jones, former Queensland State of Origin star Chris McQueen and ex-England international Joe Greenwood just some of the options available to Watson.

But Roberts added: “There needs to be that competition for us to push on.

“This is the last year of my deal with an option in Huddersfield’s favour for another year.

“I want to stay at Giants and get that done and I need to be doing what I need to do to play week in week out.

“I’ll be 27 on Christmas Eve and I should be coming into my prime now.

“And there’s a World Cup at the end of next year so I need to be pushing on and playing well for my club.”

Watson, who took Salford to Old Trafford and Wembley in 2019 and 2020 respectively, saw his Giants side struggle for long periods of 2021.

But Roberts said: “He’s made some great additions with Tui (Lolohea), Theo (Fages) and Chris Hill so there’s some serious quality coming in for next season.”