HUDDERSFIELD Giants head coach Simon Woolford says he has opted for experience ahead of youth when it comes to his half-back pairing for the crucial relegation run-in.
Teenager Oliver Russell and Tom Holmes, 23, have been the club’s playmakers of late but they have fallen to joint bottom with just three games remaining.
Lee Gaskell – the 28-year-old who has been operating at full-back – reverts to stand-off for tonight’s trip to Hull FC and he is joined by Australian scrum-half Matt Frawley who has been picked just once since mid-May.
“The position we’re in is high pressure and with the two young halves we just felt in the last game they didn’t quite get their jobs right,” said Woolford, Huddersfield crashing 24-0 at home to Castleford Tigers.
“There’s a lot of pressure on them and – let’s make it clear – there’s some other guys in our middles who didn’t either and that made it even more difficult for the halves.
“But we didn’t want to put them into another must-win game scenario this week.
“We thought we’re better off going to our most experienced pairing where we won some games earlier in the year with Frawls and Gaskell.
“We’ve decided to go back to that for the next three weeks.”
Woolford said his side had undergone some team activities – “a bit of go-karting and stuff” – during the two weeks since their last outing to help reduce the pressure before then building up to tonight’s contest.
Before their last outing, he described their next fixture as critical.
Asked what it is now, he said: “If that was critical, this is life-support. It’s important.
“They all are. The last couple we’ve let ourselves down and the longer it goes on the more critical it becomes.
“But we did a good job against them at Magic (55-2 win)and there’s no reason we can’t again.
“That game means nothing as far as Friday night is concerned but it should give them some confidence that brand of footy we played that day works well against them.
“We’d be silly not to look back at that game and see what worked well. We’ll try and replicate that.”