It is that time of year when clubs are preparing for the up-and-coming year, with kit releases, squad number changes and the announcements of pre-season friendlies. Huddersfield Giants are no different, having today announced, at a fan event, whom they will face before the season starts.
The Giants finished third last season but lost to Salford in the first round of the playoffs. They also managed to reach the Challenge Cup Final for the first time since 2009, but despite a valiant effort, lost out to Wigan Warriors by 16-14.
Now, they look to build off of a promising season and they start as they mean to go on with three friendlies against three fellow West Yorkshire sides.
Starting with Bradford Bulls, they face Mark Dunning’s side on Saturday 22nd January, in what will be the first test for Ian Watson’s men. It will also see Huddersfield legend, Michael Lawrence, face his former club for the first time ever after joining Mark Dunning’s side after 16 seasons as a Giant.
They then travel to the Jungle to face fellow Super League side Castleford Tigers – a fixture that will give both coaches the best notion of what is to come for the upcoming season. Expect the full first team of both sides as the fixture will be held on Sunday 5th February, just two weeks before the season starts.
Finally, they host Dewsbury Rams, in what will be the first and only pre-season friendly to be held at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Rams had a disappointing 2022, which concluded in them being relegated from the Championship. The now Betfred League One side will face what is likely to be a young Giants side, with the game being held just one week before the Super League season commences.
However, Huddersfield have a slightly different schedule from the other teams in the league, as they get an extra week to prepare for the season. This is because their opening game of next season, away to St Helens, has been postponed due to their opponents travelling to Australia for the World Club Challenge. It will be interesting to see how this affects the Giants, be it positively or negatively.