Tui Lolohea explains why he was left disappointed by Huddersfield Giants' Challenge Cup draw

Tui Lolohea has scoffed at suggestions that the Challenge Cup semi-final draw was kind to Huddersfield Giants, insisting Ian Watson's side would have fancied their chances against St Helens or Wigan Warriors.

Huddersfield's reward for seeing off Hull FC in the quarter-finals is an Elland Road date with Hull KR, the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.

But belief is coursing through the Giants camp after kicking off the season with seven wins in nine games in league and cup.

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"The way we're playing at the minute, I would have been confident playing against Saints or Wigan," Lolohea told The Yorkshire Post.

Tui Lolohea has been in fine form at the start of the new season. (Picture: Lolohea has been in fine form at the start of the new season. (Picture:
Tui Lolohea has been in fine form at the start of the new season. (Picture:

"We're not afraid. We're quite confident that we can match it with the best team in St Helens.

"They're obviously the benchmark and sometimes you want to play against those teams to know where you're at.

"We're playing against them on Easter Monday so it's going to be a good test to see where we are against the best team."

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Next week's Super League clash with the defending champions at the John Smith's Stadium comes hot on the heels of Thursday's trip to Leeds Rhinos.

Tui Lolohea celebrates his try against Hull FC. (Picture: Lolohea celebrates his try against Hull FC. (Picture:
Tui Lolohea celebrates his try against Hull FC. (Picture:

The Giants will also take on Warrington Wolves and Wakefield Trinity in the build-up to next month's semi-final.

Lolohea is sensing a huge opportunity to bring the cup back to Huddersfield for the first time since 1953.

"One hundred per cent," he said.

"We're 80 minutes away from the final and that's crazy to think so early in the year. We've done well so far but it's only the beginning.

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"We've got a pretty big game against Hull KR in a couple of weeks. They're starting to find form so it's going to be a good game.

"Hopefully we can get through this Easter period of so many games in so many days and then look forward to a long turnaround to a semi-final."

Lolohea has played a leading role in Huddersfield's impressive early-season form following his move from Salford Red Devils, prompting Watson to label him as Super League's best full-back.

The 27-year-old has laughed off his coach's claim but did admit that he takes confidence from the kind of praise he has received in the opening months of the season.

"I don't know what he's on at the minute," joked Lolohea.

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"It's kind of good to hear these things sometimes, especially for me because I probably haven't had something like this in a while.

"I've had a rollercoaster of a career so I'm quite happy to start this way. But it's only the beginning and I don't want to get too far ahead of myself thinking I'm this and that. There are other quality full-backs in the competition."

Lolohea was expected to partner Theo Fages in a new-look half-back partnership, only for Watson to throw a curveball.

With Will Pryce, Ashton Golding and Olly Ashall-Bott all competing for the full-back role at the start of the year, Watson went for Lolohea in a move that even caught the player himself by surprise.

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Asked whether he saw the switch coming, Lolohea replied: "No I didn't actually.

"I've played there before but I didn't expect it. I was initially coming over to play half-back but he's our coach for a reason and knows what he's doing.

"He's got faith in me and that's all that counts."

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