Reaching cup final ‘massive’ for Giants

Ian Watson

Head coach Ian Watson believes Huddersfield Giants are destined for great things on the back of a promising start to the season, as they prepare to face Hull KR on Saturday afternoon for a place in the Challenge Cup final (Huddersfield 8/13, draw 20/1, Hull KR 6/4 – Match Betting).

In fifth position in the Betfred Super League after 11 rounds of action, the Giants (25/1 Grand Final Winner) are well-poised to challenge the elite, having last recorded a top-four regular-season finish back in 2015.

But with cup duty taking centre stage this weekend, Watson is focused on taking the club to its first final in the competition since 2009 – a 16-25 Wembley defeat to Warrington, preceded three years earlier by a 42-12 loss to St Helens at Twickenham.

“It’d be massive for us,” Watson told media.

“I came to Huddersfield to try and compete at the top end and build a team that can consistently compete at the top end. I feel we’re going in the right direction.

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“It’s happened fairly quickly to get to a semi-final but that’s down to the hard work the players have put in so far.”

Having taken his previous employers, the unfancied Salford to a behind-closed-doors final in 2020, the former Leigh, Swinton and Halifax hooker has an almost fully-fit playing staff at his disposal for the Elland Road encounter.

Tui Lolohea, Jermaine McGillvary, Chris Hill and Sebastine Ikahihifo are all back in contention, with Will Pryce, Matty English and Jack Cogger the only members of the squad unable to be called upon.

“You’ve got to keep a cool head. Your big players will step up and guide you,” Watson added. “Those players are really important to how the result goes.”

Huddersfield (6/1 Challenge Cup Outright) have lifted the cup on six occasions in all, though not since 1953. Success against KR would set up a final affair at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Saints or Wigan on May 28, with a first piece of major silverware since 1962 on the line.

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Author: Paula Allen