Ian Watson sack debate: Pundit fears for Huddersfield Giants coach amid ‘biggest week of his career’

Josh McAllister

Former Super League half-back and current pundit Kevin Brown believes Ian Watson faces the biggest week of his coaching career ahead of Friday’s showdown with Wigan.

Huddersfield fell to an embarrassing 54-0 defeat to Leeds at Headingley Stadium in Round 16, which was dubbed as a ‘mini Grand Final’ by Rhinos boss Rohan Smith ahead of the clash.

It was an emotional night inside the ground, with the tie dedicated to motor neurone disease awareness, with Rob Burrow and his family taking over Sky Sports’ coverage.

Smith’s side delivered on the field, crossing for nine tries to hand the Giants their 10th defeat of the season.

Watson assembled a star-studded squad with plenty of depth ahead of the season’s kick-off, resulting in high expectations for the year.

But the side have failed to fulfil on the field, with a trip to the DW Stadium up next against Matt Peet’s Warriors.

Huddersfield have picked up just five wins all season and sit 10th on the Super League table, eight points away from the play-offs.

Brown, who made 172 appearances for the John Smith’s Stadium side across seven seasons, was a guest on Betfred’s recent episode of the Last Tackle, and shared his fears for the former Great Britain assistant.

Ian Watson faces ‘biggest week of his coaching career’ says Brown

“Ian Watson, I think it’s the biggest week of his coaching career,” Brown said.

“Never mind the cup finals and the Grand Finals, I think this week is potentially the most difficult and most important.

“If they start poor, the players have got no resilience or trust in the process at the minute. That’s clear.

“If they start well, then they can build a bit of form. I am watching that game with eyes wide open thinking this could go either way massively.

“I know how good Ian Watson is as a coach. But this is probably the biggest job he’s ever had to turn the fortunes around.”

Having led Salford Red Devils to their first ever Grand Final in 2019, Watson guided Huddersfield to the Challenge Cup final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in his first year in charge just last season.

The side also finished the regular campaign in third position with a total of 17 wins, but were later knocked out of the play-offs by Salford.

Speaking following last Friday’s defeat, Sky Sports pundit Barrie McDermott backed Watson to keep his job as Huddersfield’s boss.

“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 previously said.

“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.”

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