Wigan Warriors v Huddersfield Giants – Attitude key for Giants’ hopes of getting off the mark

THEIR opponents have stretched ahead of them without even kicking a ball but Huddersfield Giants can ill-afford to worry about such things at Wigan Warriors tonight.

Huddersfield Giants' head coach Simon Woolford. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Simon Woolford’s side remain bottom of Super League having lost their opening four games.

Struggling champions Wigan were there alongside them, too, before seeing their two-point deduction for salary cap breaches over-turned on Wednesday.

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That will have given Adrian Lam’s team – who suffered a shock defeat at London Broncos on Sunday – a timely lift ahead of the game at DW Stadium as will the return of the likes of Dom Manfredi and Ben Flower.

Although they have only prospered once this term, they are clear favourites to claim the victory this evening, perhaps a sign of the worrying state Huddersfield are in.

Indeed, Woolford bemoaned his side’s complete lack of “resilience” after Sunday’s reverse against Hull FC. The one thing, at least, he will demand tonight is certainly an improvement in their attitude.

There have been mitigating circumstances to their slovenly start, mind, not least an injury list which sees captain Leroy Cudjoe, Scotland back-row Dale Ferguson and workaholic prop Paul Clough still yet to feature. Moreover, the unfortunate absence of Mark Andrews, the popular head of performance who had to head home to Australia for family reasons just after Christmas, has not helped either.

That role is increasingly one of the most important positions in modern club operations and, though Andrews has continued working remotely, Giants have moved to remedy the situation in a bid to help revive their campaign.

They announced yesterday that 37-year-old Oliver Richardson – who won three Premiership titles when strength and conditioning coach for Leicester Tigers – had replaced Andrews who was in his second spell at Huddersfield.

Former Queensland Reds head of physical performance Richardson has recently finished working with Kubota Spears in Japan and will arrive in West Yorkshire imminently.

“There is no doubt Mark did a great job here for the club and he will always be a close ally of ours as we move forwards,” said Giants managing director Richard Thewlis.

Andrews was handed a three-year deal only in August by Thewlis following his sterling work alongside Woolford in rescuing their ailing 2018.

“When I spoke with him as you’d expect he simply wanted the club to start winning.

“We expect Ollie to be in the UK in a fortnight.”

“But, as you’d expect, he will start his work behind the scenes regarding training patterns, protocols, loading, medical rehabilitation and a whole host of matters all of which our results to date show we need to improve upon.”