Olly Russell targets Huddersfield starting spot & Challenge Cup glory

Drew Darbyshire
Olly Russell Huddersfield SWpix

Photo: Will Palmer / SWpix

Huddersfield half-back Olly Russell proved just how good of a player he is in Super League last season, and now he is aiming to cement a starting spot in Ian Watson’s side.

The 23-year-old enjoyed his best year to date in 2021. He featured in 14 Super League matches for the Giants.

Russell, a former Oldham St Annes junior, has made almost 50 first team appearances for Huddersfield and is hungry for more.

He told Love Rugby League: “I want to play as many games as I can but I think I am going into this season a little bit different to how I have done previously.

“I want to be pushing, I want to be playing and I feel like last year I showed that I can play in Super League at a good level. That has given me a lot of confidence.

“Watto (Ian Watson) has given me a lot of confidence too so I want to be pushing to get in that 17-man squad every week.

“I think there is competition for places in every position this year and it is only going to help us. If you get the shirt and are playing well then you keep it. If you aren’t playing well then you get dropped and someone else can come in. The competition is good for everyone.”

POTENTIAL: Bright future ahead for Huddersfield youngster Olly Russell

The Giants finished ninth in Super League in Ian Watson’s first season as head coach.

However, the club have made a number of impressive recruits over the off-season and are aiming for the play-offs as well as Challenge Cup success.

Russell added: “We are going to take each game as it comes but we want to make the play-offs.

“It is something Huddersfield haven’t done for a while but I think we’ve got the squad and personnel to do it this year. From there, we would like to win a Challenge Cup.

“We will take every week as it comes but if we listen to Watto and buy in to it – obviously he’s done it with Salford – then hopefully we do get into those big games at the end of the year.”

The Love Rugby League Podcast #2 – featuring Adam Hills

Olly Russell: We’ve come on a lot more than what we did last year

The Giants have enjoyed a strong recruitment drive ahead of the new Super League season. New Zealand and Samoa international hooker Danny Levi has arrived from the NRL.

Frenchman Theo Fages has joined from champions St Helens. Tonga half-back Tui Lolohea has also made the move across the Pennines from Salford.

Huddersfield have bolstered their forward pack with the signings of Chris Hill and Nathan Mason.

Russell said: “The new players have brought a lot for us, it has been exciting. Players like Tui and Hilly have brought different views on what they think. We’ve come on a lot more than what we did last year.

“Theo has won Grand Finals and Challenge Cups which is what every player wants to do. First of all, he is a nice lad and he has taken to everyone else. We are all learning from each other and its good competition.

“A few of the lads have come back to us from loan spells so it has been good to have Seb (Ikahihifo) and Ollie Roberts back.

“Danny Levi is an exciting player out of dummy half and he is another good lad. Chris Hill has plenty of experience and is a top bloke. He has been great, he’s funny and a good leader. He knows when to be serious so it has been good having him around.”

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