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Ex-St Helens star Kevin Naiqama set for shock Super League return

Former St Helens star Kevin Naiqama is set for a shock return to Super League.

His new club will not be Saints, but the Sydney Roosters man will be linking up with Huddersfield Giants.

Naiqama was, of course, part of that St Helens side in Super League that won three Grand Finals in a row as he underlined his winning credentials in an incredible spell on Merseyside.

The Fijian was set to retire at the end of 2021, but was lured by the Roosters to go around again.

Naiqama starred in all three showpiece events at Old Trafford – even winning the man-of-the-match in his last St Helens appearance – and has now revealed all on his time there.

Huddersfield Giants Head Coach, Ian Watson said: “I think he’s a huge signing for us. You look at his performances when he’s played for St Helens and when he’s been playing for the Roosters this year, he always competes and plays well.

“The big thing for me is Kevin as a person, there are many things he can add to this group like educating our younger players, imparting that experience and teaching them how to do things the right way. Kevin always does things the right way.

“Everyone you speak to has a high opinion of him; the way he trains, the way he looks after himself, his mentality and the way he goes into games. That’ll be a big lift for us to get to where we want to be – challenging for Challenge Cup Finals and Grand Finals.

“He loves to play Rugby and he’s a great guy who’ll add to our environment. He wants to enjoy the last few years of his career; influence a side and we just want him to be Kevin: to be himself.

“He’s a top-quality player who’ll be involved in our squad, the beauty of him is that he’s not just a centre – he’s played Full-Back, Wing, Centre and even at 6 at Fiji. The level of performance he demands from himself is an eight out of ten, week in, week out. He’s not coming here to replace anyone, he’s here to help the quality of our team.”

Kevin Naiqama said: “There’s a couple of factors; Ian Watson, the coach that he is and the ability he has and the team that the Giants are building. When I was playing at St Helens, it felt like we were playing ourselves when we played teams coached by Ian Watson in terms of the style and in playing the long game.

“When he was at Salford, he took them to the Grand Final and the following year took them to a Challenge Cup Final, he did a great job and he’s doing a great job at Huddersfield taking them to a Challenge Cup Final. There’s an exciting journey ahead for Huddersfield Giants. I’m hoping to add value to the team and set up the success that we’re hoping to achieve.

“It’s really exciting to be joining the Giants: Huddersfield have come up this year more than any other year. There’s no surprise to that with Ian Watson and the group of players that are there, they’re building something really special, and I hope to be a valuable part of it.”

With Naiqama set to arrive at the John Smith’s Stadium, it leaves question marks over the future of star centre Ricky Leutele who has been linked with two Super League sides as well as a move back home to his former club Cronulla Sharks.

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