Analysing contenders for Huddersfield Giants job after Ian Watson sacking

Aaron Bower

Huddersfield Giants are on the hunt for a new head coach after Ian Watson was sacked by the Super League club – and there are options on both sides of the world.

Watson has left his post after a disappointing 2024 campaign which has the Giants languishing outside the play-off places and likely to miss out on the top six once again.

Huddersfield will launch a worldwide hunt for Watson’s replacement: and here are our leading contenders to take charge.

Luke Robinson

Luke Robinson

The current Huddersfield assistant has served more than long enough of an apprenticeship under a number of coaches at the John Smith’s Stadium.

If Huddersfield prefer an element of continuity, with a number of signings already done for 2025, and they wish to avoid a full-scale overhaul, could Robinson be a realistic candidate?

He’d be a popular choice among Giants supporters, and giving a young, British coach a chance is something Huddersfield have done before.

Rohan Smith

Rohan Smith Leeds Rhinos Alamy
Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith

An obvious shout – but one that carries with it some merit, you could argue.

Smith is still on this side of the world and is reportedly open to offers to return to the game if they are right. While his time at Leeds Rhinos ended in disappointment, he did achieve some things there which could make him a candidate for another role in West Yorkshire.

He did great work with Leeds’ academy system in blooding and developing young players – and Huddersfield have a talented pathway system of their own which needs utilising. With that in mind – and given how Smith did get Leeds to a Grand Final – there would be worse options.

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Tony Smith

Tony Smith
Tony Smith

From one Smith to another – and a trip back down memory lane for Huddersfield?

Smith, of course, achieved great success during his first stint at the Giants way back when, which led to him going on and becoming one of the most revered and respected coaches in the British game.

There is no suggestion he would be actively willing to get back into a coaching position any time soon: but if Huddersfield wanted a senior head with experience to mould their young group, could he be a good fit?

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Ryan Carr

Ryan Carr St George Illawarra Dragons Alamy
Photo: AAP Image/Mark Evans

There have been whispers that Carr feels ready to take on a serious head coaching role on either side of the world – and he has experience of working in England before, of course.

His time at Featherstone saw him earn plenty of admirers – particularly across West Yorkshire at Leeds Rhinos, who were supporters of his and had tipped him up as a future head coach at Headingley.

He’s worked as the stand-in coach at St George, and is someone who could be a good fit if Huddersfield are looking for a long-term candidate.

Dean Young

Dean Young

The last pick on this list is arguably somewhat more of a slimmer chance. Dean Young has recently been endorsed by none other than Wayne Bennett for a shot at the Parramatta Eels gig.

Young, who is on the coaching staff at St George as an assistant coach, was interviewed for the Eels role but was ultimately overlooked in favour of Jason Ryles.

With no role in the NRL forthcoming, does Young turn to Super League for a shot at a head coaching position? The unproven Australian head coach is something Huddersfield have done with success before with Nathan Brown – and they may be tempted again.

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