Wakefield Trinity v Huddersfield Giants: Ian Watson looking for Giants to take next step in progression
That’s the view of head coach Ian Watson as he takes his side to Wakefield Trinity tomorrow.
Having lost their opening four Super League games, they have won their next three to leave them in confident mood for the West Yorkshire derby.
There is a sense that Huddersfield - who invested heavily in the off-season following Watson’s arrival from Salford Red Devils - are starting to find their feet.
“We are really happy with where we’re at at the moment having the three wins back to back,” he conceded.
“The big one for us is can we go four from four now and really step it up to put some pressure on the teams above us and pull them back in?”
Huddersfield sat seventh ahead of this round but fully realise they can quickly progress up the table.
That said, Wakefield are aiming to do the same having finally got off the mark themselves with Sunday’s win over Hull KR.
Chris Chester’s side have started to get key personnel back such as captain Jacob Miller and former Dream Team centre Bill Tupou who both starred in that victory.
Hooker Kyle Wood could also return against his former club tomorrow as he comes in for Olly Ashall-Bott, the full-back who has returned to Huddersfield after a loan spell at Belle Vue.
Watson knows the threat Trinity will pose and said: “They have been really good in quite a lot of the games and really competitive in a lot of them.
“They have just missed out on certain things and had a bit of an unsettled team.
“They’ll be looking to go two from two after the Hull KR game.
“They have got good players across the field: Reece Lyne and Bill Tupou in the backfield, and in the middle they have the size of (Dave) Fifita and we know the way (Joe) Westerman can carry the ball plus someone like (Kelepi) Tanginoa on the back of it.
“I’ve not even mentioned any of their spine there. They have a quality squad and we have to take them very seriously. We have to be at our best.
“It has to be about us, though, and our focus is we know their strengths but we have to make sure they are more worried about us.”
Ironically, Ashall-Bott goes straight into the Giants’ 21-man squad and Joe Wardle is also included for the first time this season.
However, Watson says Wardle – yet to play this season due to a hamstring issue – is not quite ready to play.
Ashall-Bott has a chance of making his debut but the only certain change will involve impressive prop Luke Yates.
He serves a one-game suspension and sees his ever-present record since following Watson from Salford ended.
The Australian, 26, leaves a significant hole to fill given his considerable appetite for work.
Only Hull FC hooker Danny Houghton has made more than his 331 tackles in Super League this term.
Watson added; “His work ethic is phenomenal.
“I don’t think there is anyone else like him in how hard he works.
“But we probably have the closest guy to him in Matty English. He works unbelievably hard with some of the stuff he does off the ball that people don’t see, only those who play with him.
“We need some of the other guys now to really step up because Luke Yates has consistently done 100m per game and 55 tackles per game with numerous quick plays the balls and ruck wins on the back end of that.
“His leadership as well is something that Yatesy has brought to Huddersfield. He will be a big, big miss but we feel we have players within our squad who can step up while he is out.
“James Gavet is back with us and he’s ready to go. He’ll be one looking for a big, big game.”
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