Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson insists that Wigan’s Jake Bibby is still a target for 2023 despite the signing of Kevin Naiqama from the NRL.
The Giants boss confirmed his interest in the Wigan outside-back to Love Rugby League earlier in May. 26-year-old Bibby remains off-contract at the DW Stadium for the 2023 season.
The centre, winger or back-rower played under Watson at Salford, featuring in their first ever Grand Final at Old Trafford in 2019.
He made 79 appearances for the Red Devils before linking up with Wigan for the 2020 campaign.
Despite the recent signing of centre Naiqama from the Sydney Roosters, Watson told Love Rugby League that he is still interested in signing Bibby.
“We want a really strong squad. Jake Bibby is obviously someone we’ve been speaking to. We want that one to come off as well,” Watson said.
“We want that competition for places. Players being able to play different positions as well is a bonus for us.
“Look at the squads this year with the amount of injuries again in the sport, it is important that you’ve got players who can play in different positions.
“Talking on Jake Bibby, he has played back-row for me when we where at Salford. I know he can do a job there. He has played a few other positions as well.
“Jake is a great kid. I won’t speak too much on him now until hopefully something happens on the back of that. He is a great kid.”
Too many centres?
The Giants are already blessed with talent in the centre position. Currently on loan at Warrington, Jake Wardle is contracted with the club for next season. Watson also confirmed that the side have offered Ricky Leutele a fresh deal for next season. Leroy Cudjoe is also set to sign a new deal, while Toby King could make his loan move to the John Smith’s Stadium permanent.
“The one thing I have always spoken about is that we want a quality squad with real strength,” Watson added.
“If you look at us now, we are probably just a little bit short in those outside-backs. But I think every year when you build your squad you are always short in one area or the other.
“You’d love to have Kevin Naiqama, Ricky Leutele, Toby King, Leroy and Jermaine McGillvary. All these top class internationals. But obviously we are in a salary cap sport so we have got to fit it all in.
“We’ve got to be as strong as we can be next year and going forward. What we need to do is close the gap between the top two and making sure we are featuring in there consistently.”
Toby King’s future?
In a swap deal for Wardle, King returned to his hometown club on loan for the remainder of the current campaign.
He was dropped by Warrington before making the sudden switch to his former club.
“Myself and Toby just talked about him just enjoying the game and not worrying about what happened at Warrington,” Watson said on King.
“Toby’s a class player. We want to get him fully flying, being fit and get him confident in his own ability and I’m sure we’ve got a champion player there.”