Unpredictable for much of the last decade, 2013 is the year that Huddersfield fans will remember most after topping the Super League table for the first time.
Unfortunately they have been unable to back up their League Leaders Shield success and even flirted with relegation last season, surviving on the final day.
Throughout their rollercoaster ride, the Giants have fielded a number of high quality players who have helped set the competition alight.
Full-back – Scott Grix
An obvious choice as Irish international Scott Grix is named at full-back. He arrived at the Giants in 2010 and played the best rugby of his career at the John Smith’s Stadium. Grix notched up 52 tries and 32 goals in his 148 appearances for the club. Often enough, he would ‘chime into the line’ being an extra ‘pivot’ with his kicking game and side-stepping ability.
Wingers – Jermaine McGillvary & Aaron Murphy
International winger Jermaine McGillvary has played out the entire decade with the club and has been nothing short of superb. Having made over 200 appearances, scoring over 150 tries, the winger has done enough to earn international call ups to both England and Great Britain.
On the other wing is the often underrated Aaron Murphy. He arrived in 2012 from rival club Wakefield with a point to prove and has definitely succeeded. Playing primarily on the wing in his 150+ appearances, Murphy has scored 70+ tries but aside that, his ability to rotate between various positions has helped him become a tricky player to defend against.
Centres – Leroy Cudjoe & Joe Wardle
Leroy Cudjoe is another who has spent the full decade with the club, making over 240 appearances, scoring 100+ tries and slotting over 57 goals. This success helped him to multiple international appearances for England, having a good run with the national team in the 2013 World Cup.
Joe Wardle takes up the other centre slot having recently returned for his second stint with the club. Although his spells with Newcastle Knights and Castleford Tigers did not work out, he has always excelled wearing claret and gold. Having made up to 150 appearances in all competitions for the club, Wardle’s ability to drive the ball in as well as assist and score tries has helped him become a fan’s favourite.
Stand-off – Danny Brough
Arguably the easiest selection as former captain Danny Brough is named at stand-off. Having interchanged between both half-back positions, Brough reached his peak at ‘five-eighth’, lifting the Man of Steel award in 2013, owing to his expert kicking game and leadership. As for his statistics, he made over 200 appearances during his eight seasons, scoring over 1500 points, in what was a remarkable tenure.
Scrum-half – Luke Robinson
Partnering the maestro is Luke Robinson, whose time in the game was cut short due to injury. Regardless of this, he was another who displayed his ‘A game’ with the club during an eight-year spell. Robinson scored over 45 tries, assisting in countless others, thanks mainly to his kicking game and tricky side-step, something he utilised between different playing positions throughout his career.
Props – Eorl Crabtree & Sebastine Ikahihifo
Eorl Crabtree was a clear choice, having spent a total of 17 seasons with Huddersfield before retiring in 2016. He enjoyed an eventful career at the Giants, from helping the club gain promotion to playing in the Challenge Cup Final and winning the Shield in 2013. Crabtree was a huge part of all said achievements and remains involved with the club to this day.
Alongside him in the front row is powerhouse Sebastine Ikahihifo. He only arrived at Huddersfield in 2016 but has proved to be a hugely popular player with the club’s supporters. He is a tough player to tackle and is always capable of an offload in impossible situations. Such skills even saw him selected as part of the 2017 Super League Dream Team.
Hooker – Shaun Lunt
He may have moved about in recent seasons but Shaun Lunt has been the Giants main man at acting half. Though he has won silverware elsewhere, Lunt was part of the side that won the Shield in 2013, finishing their top try scorer with a total of 23, while also helping the club to multiple appearances in the Super League play-offs. His threat in possession and ability to direct the forward pack is what made him such a crucial asset throughout his stay.
Second-row – Brett Ferres & Ukuma Ta’ai
Former England player Brett Ferres played the best rugby of his career at Huddersfield and is another who was part of the 2013 table toppers. His link up with Danny Brough springs to mind, often crashing onto many short balls from his captain to score. Though he left on a sour note, his strong performances earned him his international recognition, becoming a feared player at that time.
Same could be said currently for Ukuma Ta’ai who arrived in 2013 and has been a regular since. The 32-year-old has acted as an ‘extra prop’ on occasions, laying down the platform in attack for the half-backs to utilise their skill. Another who is a favourite with the Huddersfield supporters and now looks likely to finish his career at the club.
Loose-forward – David Faiumu
A lot to choose from in this position but David Faiumu gets the nod. Having arrived back in 2008, helping the club to safety, Faiumu was part of the team that played at Wembley a year later. He successfully managed to rotate continuously between hooker and loose-forward, producing consistent performances that earned him a Samoa call-up. He also featured for the Exiles earlier on in the decade.
Coach – Paul Anderson
Though he faced some stick during his time with the club, Paul Anderson arguably took charge of their best seasons. Replacing Nathan Brown in 2012, Anderson took the Giants from mid-table to the top, lifting the League Leaders Shield in 2013. The next two seasons were strong, finishing in the play-offs and the inaugural Super League Super 8s before his departure midway through 2016.