Ian Watson’s response to Huddersfield Giants pressure and extraordinary verdict of player effort

Ian Watson

Ian Watson, Huddersfield Giants' head coach

Huddersfield Giants coach Ian Watson has insisted that talk about his future at the club is a decision for someone else to make – but admits this has been the toughest ten weeks of his coaching career before turning the gun on his players, and saying he does not believe they are working hard enough.

The Giants have won just one of their last eight games, and their season is in danger of completely falling apart after a heavy 48-0 defeat to Warrington on Friday night. It was, by some distance, their worst display of 2024.

That has inevitably led to speculation over whether or not Watson could lose his job at the John Smith’s Stadium. He insisted that’s not something he has an answer to – before launching into an in-depth assessment of his squad’s effort and desire.

He said: “I said this week when I was talking to someone that if I can’t control that, that’s for other people to decide on the back end of that. But the way I’ve generally handled things on the back end of that, some things like the young players coming in, they’re small wins for me.

“There’s some good guys in there who are going to be good players. Does that mean I’ll get fired? We’ll see. That’s for someone else to make a call about. I love what I do, I’m passionate about winning. This kills you, this. Is it stressful? Kills you. It smashes your brain in.”

When Watson was asked if this was the toughest period of his career, given the financial constraints he worked under in his previous role at Salford, he said:  “100 per cent. The way I’ve felt over the last ten weeks, yeah. It’s the toughest period.

“The one thing I’d say about Salford, and I’m not being derogatory, there were champion guys there. The way they carried themselves, they understood what the club was about and what we were about. They all bought into that.

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“I just think this club is different. I thought it was different from the outside – I thought I was coming to a top-four setup. Look at our squads, put them on paper next to St Helens, Catalans and Leeds.

“Look at the levels of player, or the champions in those squads. I know Leigh are sat in a tough position but they’re not getting the barren we’re getting. The levels of player are unbelievable. That makes a massive difference.

“What you’ve got to understand is you might not have the best players, but you’ve got to work harder than everyone else. I don’t think at this moment in time we’re working hard enough.”

Watson then said: “It’s down to what you’re willing to put yourself through when you get on the field. I think collectively, everyone together has to decide they want to do something.

“We had to start again this year and we’re probably starting again with younger players. Nobody wants to wait or see things mature in five or six years, they want to win now. I’m the same, but it’s tough, unless you’re signing the players the level these have got, it’s tough.”

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