FOR many people who do not watch the NRL, there may be some confusion as to why Huddersfield Giants’ capture of Canberra Raiders’ Aidan Sezer is being hailed so widely.
After all, the playmaker is not an Australian international. Indeed, he has not even represented State of Origin.
With that in mind, why all the fuss about his arrival at the West Yorkshire club where he will not only join on a lucrative two-year deal but as Huddersfield’s first-ever ‘marquee’ signing?
Firstly, Sezer recently started in an NRL Grand Final having played a significant part in guiding Canberra to their first such showpiece in a quarter of a century.
Although not as lauded as half-back partner Jack Wighton – who did earn representative honours – or co-captain Josh Hodgson or, for that matter, England star John Bateman, he was certainly central to their wonderful campaign.
With his kicking quality, running game and ability to organise so well, he has all the attributes required to lead a side around the park.
Not only that, crucially the 28-year-old – approaching his peak years – has proved he can lead a side around the park.
In other words, Sezer is just what Giants so desperately, desperately need.
Famous for being the birthplace of the sport, Huddersfield have instead looked like being in their death throes of late, having diced with relegation too many times in recent years.
It cannot go on like this; eventually they will drop.
However, without over egging the pudding, Sezer’s arrival is arguably their most important signing for more than a decade and one which should go a long way to hopefully see the Fartowners consistently back up towards the right end of the table.
It was obvious they had never properly replaced Danny Brough when they let their talisman join Wakefield Trinity ahead of the 2019 campaign.
With the best will in the world, Matt Frawley, their recruit from the NRL, never looked comfortable and he was always a gamble.
Frawley, who ironically hails from Canberra, had not established himself in the Australian game, playing only sporadically for Canterbury Bulldogs, and he was still rough around the edges.
Sezer brings that requisite quality now and the player will hope to have an instant impact in Super League, just like his former Canberra half-back partner Blake Austin did with Warrington Wolves this year.
“It’s been a drawn-out process for most of the year, but to have it all done is a great relief,” he said, with Raiders allowing him to leave his contract early to make the move. “Obviously it was a disappointing campaign last year for the Giants but the ambition of the club and the group is exciting. I’m really looking forward to get over there and have a successful campaign in 2020.
“I’ve followed the Super League pretty closely and I’ve always said I want to be a part of it and hopefully go over there and I’m delighted it’s come.
“Hopefully my big-game experience will carry through; I’m a more mature player now and we’ve already got big game experience with Jordan Turner who is Grand Final winner.
“We’ve added some great experience with Kenny Edwards – a high quality back-rower and, of course James Gavet, who’s been a really solid front-rower in the NRL. I think as a collective we’ve got things to be optimistic about in the coming year.”
Giants have also signed Leeds Rhinos full-back Ashton Golding who is eager to prove a point in Super League once more and they should certainly be more balanced.
Stand-off Lee Gaskell should revel alongside Sezer and Huddersfield also has youngster Oliver Russell and Tom Holmes to call upon.
Woolford worked briefly with Sezer at Canberra and said: “Everyone knows he was my preferred pick in the crucial half-back area.
“But to get a current NRL Grand Finalist over here in the prime of his career really is a massive boost for the Giants and the game as a whole.
“With over 150 career games in the NRL and experience of finals football, his pedigree speaks for itself and he will be a real asset for the team.
“There are lots of people here at the club to thank for making this possible – especially Ken (Davy) of course – but as a coach my predominant view is what he’ll bring to the team.
“He is an experienced organiser, a superb kicker of the ball both out of the hand and off the tee, and with his 83 per cent kicking success rate, he’ll obviously become our primary kicker. His running game I think will complement the people around him and above all he is from a winning environment at Canberra.”
Hull KR centre Jimmy Keinhorst has joined York City Knights on a season-long loan for 2020.