Sky Sports pundit Barrie McDermott has backed Ian Watson to keep his Huddersfield job, despite Friday’s 54-0 hammering against Leeds at Headingley Stadium.
Head coach Watson dropped stars Jake Connor, Esan Marsters and Matty English to the club’s reserves side, who faced Leeds as a curtain raiser before the Round 16 Super League clash.
Sam Halsall and Harvey Livett also featured in a 30-0 victory in a bold decision by the ex-Salford boss.
However, the first team side couldn’t replicate the performance in an embarrassing night for the Giants live on Sky Sports.
Rohan Smith’s Rhinos ran in nine tries on the night, including braces for Sam Walters, Rhyse Martin and the returning David Fusitu’a.
Richie Myler, Ash Handley and James McDonnell also crossing in the victory, while Huddersfield have conceded a huge 132 points in their last three Super League fixtures.
Huddersfield recently rubbished reports that the side are looking at recently free head coach Justin Holbrook, who was relieved of his duties at the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL earlier in the week.
But pressure is mounting at the John Smith’s Stadium as the side sit 10th on the Super League table, despite their star-studded huge squad.
The Giants are currently eight points behind Wigan in the last play-off position.
Ian Watson won’t get sacked, says McDermott
Despite Friday’s result, Leeds legend and current pundit McDermott believes Huddersfield owner Ken Davy will stick by the former Great Britain assistant, who led Huddersfield to the Challenge Cup final just last season at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“I don’t think Ken Davy is the type of bloke to trust somebody as he has done with Ian Watson and then pull that rug from under him,” McDermott said following the game live on Sky Sports.
“I don’t think he’s going to do that [sack] with Ian Watson.
“Watto is a fantastic coach who clearly isn’t getting the best out of his players. He’s willing to change, I think he’s going to give some players more run-outs in the reserves.
“I don’t think he’s [Ken Davy] going to change Ian Watson, I don’t.
“I think Ken Davy is a loyal man.
“He’s shown faith in Ian Watson, he’s afforded him the right to choose those players but for whatever reason, those players aren’t working within the system that Ian Watson plays with.
“It doesn’t sound like Ian Watson is going to change his system…he’s going to change the players.”
Huddersfield ‘getting worse’ says Phil Clarke
Co-pundit Phil Clarke expressed a different view, insisting Watson is under much pressure after saying the team are only getting worse in 2023.
Huddersfield, who were knocked out of the prestigious Challenge Cup competition in the sixth round by Salford, have only picked up five wins all season.
“They’re getting worse,” Clarke said.
“The first 10 games of this season, they played far better than what they have played this last three games.
“They’re getting far worse and not better.
“I don’t know how much worse you go before you have to decide that something has to change.”