Ian Watson wants to coach in NRL after finishing ‘project’ at Huddersfield

Ian Watson Huddersfield Giants Super League SWpix
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix

Huddersfield head coach Ian Watson says he has a desire to coach in the NRL, but only once the ‘project’ he has started with the Giants is complete.

Watson, 45, joined the Giants last year. He led them to the Challenge Cup final in May, that the club’s first major final for 13 years.

Watson’s side currently sit 4th in the Super League table. Though the boss is flattered by links with jobs in the NRL, he believes his task in Yorkshire has some way to go before he can look elsewhere.

“I do want to go across there eventually but at the moment we’ve got a big project here at Huddersfield,” said Watson.

“When I came to Huddersfield, I wanted to try and create a little bit of a legacy. I also wanted a team that was going to consistently be up there when I eventually do leave.

“I want there to be a team who consistently competes for trophies, and I want the youth system to be good coming through.

“We knew it was really good anyway, but it’s important we have the alignment between all at the club by the time I leave.

“Huddersfield have shown real faith in me to try and deliver that. I feel it’s going in the right direction but there’s still a lot of work to be done at this moment in time.

“There’s a big job to do here. I know where I want the club to go and where I want the club to be. At the moment, everyone’s on the same page.”

Rule Britannia

During his own playing days, Watson featured for various clubs across the North West. Included in that were hometown team Salford, who he later went on to head up.

After featuring for Swinton as a player-coach, the former hooker joined the Red Devils in 2014 as assistant head coach to Iestyn Harris.

Watson took over as head coach when Harris departed in late 2015, and led Salford to the 2019 Grand Final as well as 2020 Challenge Cup final.

He believes the links with British coaches to NRL sides are only a positive, adding: “One of the biggest things I took from the links – and I spoke to my wife about this – is that it’s good they’re starting to talk about English coaches.

“It’s always the other way that Australians seem to come across here and in Australia, they just seem to regurgitate the same coaches all the time with the same kind of results.

“The more coaches working over here that get nominated for roles over there is a good thing for Super League. There’s a lot of good UK coaches and just because they’re working in Super League doesn’t mean they’re any worse than what’s in the NRL.

“A lot of them are probably better than what’s over there.

“As I said, it is something I’ve always looked at and had a desire to go across to Australia, but at this moment in time, Huddersfield is the main focus for me personally.”

Watson’s Giants take on Hull KR this Sunday (kick-off 3:15pm).

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