Huddersfield Giants young gun embracing Ian Watson’s dazzling praise: ‘I just want to prove him right’

Ben Olawumi
Sam Halsall, Ian Watson

Huddersfield Giants back Sam Halsall (Main Image) & head coach Ian Watson (Circle) - Alamy

Huddersfield Giants starlet Sam Halsall says he ‘just wants to prove Ian Watson right’ after the boss lauded his ability and willingness to develop.

Watson labelled Halsall a potential long-term replacement for Jermaine McGillvary, admitting that having the 22-year-old and other youngsters like him around made the decision to let the club legend go that bit easier.

As it turns out, Halsall has been training at centre this off-season rather than on the wing, and it looks like it’ll be new signing Adam Swift that takes McGillvary’s spot on the wing with the veteran now in the Championship with Wakefield Trinity.

Nonetheless, it was high praise indeed from Watson for a rising star who featured 17 times in 2023, scoring nine tries in the process.

Huddersfield Giants young gun Sam Halsall embracing Ian Watson’s dazzling praise: ‘I just want to prove him right’

Halsall is embracing that praise, as he told Love Rugby League at the Giants’ media day earlier this month.

The Wigan Warriors academy product said: “I just want to prove him right. He put a lot of faith in me last year, which I’m obviously grateful for.

“He stuck with me towards the back end of the year, I managed to get some consistency in my games, and I feel like it’s benefitted me massively.

“I’m looking forward to taking that into the coming year now, but I know that I’ve got competition for my place. No one’s place is nailed on, and I enjoy the healthy competition with the other lads.

“I feel like it makes me better, it makes them better, and hopefully in the long run, it’ll make the team better.”

Giants ‘taking each game as it comes’ in 2024, says Halsall

Huddersfield head into 2024 on the back of a season which saw them finish 9th after a defeat at home to Warrington Wolves on the final night, six points off the pace of those in the play-offs.

12 months earlier, they’d competed in those play-offs having taken Wigan all the way in the Challenge Cup final, in front until the 76th minute of that showpiece at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Improvement then is definitely the key come next year, as Halsall – who moved to the John Smith’s Stadium ahead of 2023 – detailed. He continued: “We’ll put it behind us, but we also can’t forget why we fell off last season.

“As an internal group, we know why that is, and we’ve definitely drawn a line in the sand with it, but we’ve not forgotten it.

“We’re looking to build on and pick back up to the levels of that 2022 season where they had a lot of success here.

“We looked too far ahead last season in terms of finals and looking to get into them. This year will just be a week-to-week basis where we take each game as it comes and hopefully tick those wins off.

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