Huddersfield Giants ace striving for glory after ‘very disappointing’ 2023: ‘We want to be challenging for silverware’

Ben Olawumi
Tui Lolohea

Tui Lolohea in action for Huddersfield Giants in 2023 - Alamy

Huddersfield Giants ace Tui Lolohea says he and his team-mates need to ‘take individual accountability’ for a ‘very disappointing’ 2023 with lofty ambitions ahead of the new campaign.

Ian Watson’s side saw their campaign come to an end in September with defeat at home to Warrington Wolves, bringing the curtain down on a season which saw them finish 9th, losing close to 60% of their Super League games.

12 months earlier, they’d competed in the play-offs having already been less than four minutes away from lifting the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1953, pipped to the post at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by Wigan Warriors and Liam Marshall’s late try.

2024 will bring a third season as a Giant for Lolohea, with vast improvement a clear target at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Huddersfield Giants ace Tui Lolohea striving for glory next year after ‘very disappointing’ 2023

The Tonga international spoke to Love Rugby League at Huddersfield’s media day earlier this month, telling us that he shoulders some of the blame for a ‘write-off’ 2023.

On the campaign just gone, he said: “It was a very disappointing year, I think the pressure was there because of what we did in 2022.

People were expecting us to be near the top again last season, and that was definitely a big failure on our part. It just wasn’t good enough really.

“I think it was about us taking individual accountability as players. There were people that were up and down, and I’m definitely one of those people.

“There was a lot of chopping and changing last season too, so we never really had a consistent team. We lost out narrowly in big games against some of the best teams throughout the year, just falling short.

“We also started to string together a couple of wins and show what we were capable of, it was a pretty weird season, but we just couldn’t get that consistency you need (to be successful) for long enough.”

‘We want to be challenging for silverware’, says Tonga star Lolohea

Prior to the 2022 Tottenham heartbreak, Lolohea had already lost both a Challenge Cup final and a Super League Grand Final during his time as a Salford Red Devils player.

Both of those also came under the stewardship Watson, and utility back Lolohea says it’s time for things to change as we approach the New Year.

The 28-year-old added: “Last season was a bit of a write-off for us, I think we showed glimpses of what we’re capable of, but this (coming) year, we just definitely want to be better than last season.

“We want to be challenging the best teams in the comp, and we want to be challenging for silverware and playing in the big games. That’s where we want to be, and that’s where Watto is driving us to be.”

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