Super League Season Preview 2019: Huddersfield keen to end poor start habit

It’s the first full season in charge for Simon Woolford at Huddersfield and already he’s making moves to put his stamp on the team.

Out has gone long-serving half-back Danny Brough, with Matt Frawley brought in from Canterbury with only 31 NRL appearances under his belt.

With Frawley and Lee Gaskell named in the half-back squad numbers for the season, it could be deemed as a risk by the Giants.

Akuila Uate is one of the signings of the off-season, though his arrival has been compounded somewhat by injury to opposite wing man Jermaine McGillvary and captain Leroy Cudjoe.

Huddersfield are one of those teams that could be surprise contenders for a play-off place, or sucked in to the relegation battle.

Young Darnell McIntosh has been entrusted with the full-back jersey, and the Giants will need some of the young players to step up to the plate this year.

For Woolford, he arrived at the back end of May with the Giants in the middle of a run of 12 wins in 13 games – though they ended the campaign with five straight defeats.

Woolford said: “The last two or three years, the Giants have started poorly so that’s been a bot of a focus for us, making sure that we get some points on the board.

“While we’re not going to be playing our best footy in the early rounds, we want to be chalking some wins up, that’s important.

“You obviously can’t make all the changes and get the perfect squad in one year, but I’m happy with the changes we’ve made and I feel our squad is going to be better than last year.”

Huddersfield welcome Salford for their Super League opener on Friday.

Coach: Simon Woolford
Assistant: Luke Robinson
Captain: Leroy Cudjoe
Key Man: Akuila Uate
One to Watch: Reiss Butterworth

Ins: Suaia Matagi (Parramatta), Tom Holmes (Featherstone), Reiss Butterworth (Bradford), Matt Frawley (Canterbury), Akuila Uate (Manly), Scott Grix (Wakefield), Joe Wardle (Castleford)

Outs: Sam Wood (Batley), Ryan Hinchcliffe (retired), Mikey Wood (Bradford), Tyler Dickinson (Batley), Nathan Mason (London B), Danny Brough (Wakefield), Jake Mamo (Warrington), Jamie Greenwood (Oldham), Tyllar Mellor (Workington), Liam Johnson (Dewsbury), Oliver Russell (Leigh, loan), Jordan Rankin (Castleford, loan)

Squad: 1 Darnell McIntosh, 2 Jermaine McGillvary, 3 Leroy Cudjoe, 4 Jordan Turner, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lee Gaskell, 7 Matt Frawley, 8 Paul Clough, 9 Kruise Leeming, 10 Siuia Matagi, 11 Aaron Murphy, 12 Alex Mellor, 13 Michael Lawrence, 14 Adam O’Brien, 15 Ollie Roberts, 16 Dale Ferguson, 17 Ukuma Ta’ai, 18 Daniel Smith, 19 Matty English, 20 Jake Wardle, 23 Olly Russell, 24 Tom Holmes, 25 Colton Roche, 26 Sebastine Ikahihifo, 27 Adam Walne, 28 Sam Wood, 29 Sam Hewitt, 30 Jon Luke Kirby, 31 Louis Senior, 32 Innes Senior, 33 Reiss Butterworth, 34 Isaac Farrell, 35 Joe Wardle

Prediction: 9th