Nathan Brown’s last season in charge of the Giants comes after disappointment due to the way they ended 2011. Danny Brough’s last minute injury against Castleford at The Shay came as a real blow to the side, who were second in the league up until that game.
However the Giants did enough to secure a top four place, by losing only four games until that crucial injury. The Giant had been put to sleep afterwards, as they went onto win only four more games in 14 attempts.
It’s a statistic that will annoy Nathan Brown, who will want to finally win some silverware on English soil after losing the Challenge Cup final in 2009.
Brown hasn’t recruited any big names ahead of the forthcoming season, showing he is perfectly happy with the side he has now. However they have brought in the Papua New Guinean Jason Chan and Championship stalwart Tony Tonks from Wakefield. Chan was Crusaders’ outstanding player in 2011, and has done well to land himself a club like Huddersfield.
Key man: Danny Brough
Danny Brough was a player reborn in the first half of the 2011 season. He made his intentions clear from the very first game of the season at Millennium Magic when he almost single handed whitewashed Warrington, the eventual league leaders. Brough led the Giants to an early top of the league spot, but had the hard work come undone when he was injured in the final moments of a game against Castleford. But the Giants had done enough to maintain a fourth place finish despite losing both their play off matches.
One-to-watch: Jason Chan
Was the shining light for Crusaders in the midst of all the dark and depression that surrounded the club’s exit from Super League. Chan has international experience after playing in the World Cup. He joined the Celtic Crusaders in 2009 and moved with the club to Wrexham during the relocation and rebrand. Over the past three years at the Crusaders he has developed into a stand out player and a second rower who is formidable in front of opponents.
Transfers Out: David Hodgson (Hull KR), Darrell Griffin (Leeds), Andy Raleigh (Wakefield), Danny Kirmond (Wakefield), Graeme Horne (Hull KR), Keal Carlile (Hull KR), Kyle Wood (Wakefield), Josh Griffin (Castleford), Gregg McNally (Leigh)
Prediction: Comfortable play off contenders but won’t reach the same heights of 2011, 6th.
Super League Grand Final Odds: 16/1 (5th favourites)
League Leaders Odds: 20/1 (5th)
Challenge Cup Odds: 14/1 (5th)
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Squad: Scott Grix, Michael Lawrence, Leroy Cudjoe, Lee Gilmour, Jermaine McGillvary, Kevin Brown, Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree, Luke Robinson, Keith Mason, Luke O’Donnell, David Fa’alogo, David Faiumu, Shaun Lunt, Larne Patrick, Dale Ferguson, Joe Wardle, Jason Chan, Tommy Lee, Luke George, aaron Murphy, Tony Tonks, Jacob Fairbank, Adam Walker, Jon Molloy, Jamie Cording, Matthew Sarsfield, Matt Dawson, Greg Eden, Josh Johnson, Dave Orwell, Ross Peltier.