Huddersfield Giants sign NRL youngster and boxing champion who ‘jumped at the opportunity’ to work with Ian Watson

Ben Olawumi
Ian Watson Huddersfield Giants Alamy

Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson - Alamy

Having put pen to paper on a two-year deal, Huddersfield Giants’ new signing Thomas Deakin says he ‘jumped at the opportunity’ to work with head coach Ian Watson.

Love Rugby League reported the news that the 21-year-old hooker would be joining the West Yorkshire outfit as a replacement for Nathan Peats earlier this month, with Peats retiring at the end of the 2023 season.

After leaving Sydney Roosters, Deakin’s signing has now been confirmed by the Giants, with the number nine setting his sights on a Grand Final appearance under Watson, a man he’s already seen in the flesh at Old Trafford back in 2019.

Thomas Deakin ‘jumped at the opportunity’ to work with Ian Watson

The promising youngster won’t count towards Huddersfield’s overseas quota when he arrives from Australia, as he was born in Oldham and played for local outfit Oldham St Anne’s in his youth.

Looking forward to a new challenge after featuring in the Roosters’ New South Wales Cup side throughout 2023, he told the Giants’ website: “Funnily enough, I went to watch Ian Watson’s team (Salford Red Devils) play against St Helens in the Grand Final a few years back.

I was watching them and following them, and they did something special. When I heard that Huddersfield wanted me and that he was the head of that project, it’s an opportunity I jumped at.

“I think it’s the next step in my career. I have been at the Roosters since under 13’s, and it’s a big part of my life, but I think it’s time to start playing some first team footy.”

The feeling is mutual, with boss Watson a great admirer of his new signing

Rugby League isn’t the only sport Deakin has earned admirers in, also a Boxing champion over in Australia. It’s clear that there’s a mutual respect there, as new boss Watson can’t wait to welcome him into their pack.

The Giants chief said: “Thomas is a young British nine who we’ve kept a close eye on ever since he featured in the trial games for Sydney during pre-season.

“I feel that he will be a great fit for the organisation. He’s also a boxing champion, so he comes with the right work ethic and mentality, and that’s the sort of player we want to promote through the Giants.

“He’s been well educated and in a great environment in the Roosters system, while also training with the first team during pre-season, so he’ll have learnt so much from the players they have there.

“Attack wise, he’s quick from dummy-half and has some real good distribution. Defensively, he’s not afraid of putting his body in and can also fit in at loose if needed, giving us good strength in our spine.”

Deakin becomes Watson’s third confirmed addition for 2024, with Jack Murchie also coming over from the NRL, and Adam Swift making the move from Hull FC. Andre Savelio is also expected to follow Swift from the MKM Stadium to the John Smith’s Stadium, though that signing has not yet been announced by Huddersfield.

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