Huddersfield set to take on St Helens with just 16 players

Huddersfield are set to play with just 16 players when the face St Helens on Friday night.

Injuries have blighted Simon Woolford’s side, who could be without up to 13 senior players due to injury and suspension.

When the Giants’ 21-man squad was released on Wednesday there were five players named who were considered ‘doubtful’, but Woolford has now confirmed that while a couple of those five will be given late fitness tests, they are still very unlikely to make the side.

“There’s one or two that we’ll give another crack but I’m not anticipating anything different,” he said. “It is what it is and it’s going to be a massive effort for the 16 that do play.

“It’s not ideal. We expected to go through some sort of tough period from an injury point of view but to get such a heavy toll so early back in the season is a concern for us.

“We’ve got collision injuries, some head knocks. Surprisingly we’ve only had a couple of soft tissue injuries.

Ashton Golding is one of several players out injured for Huddersfield. Credit: Dean Williams/News Images

“We let Innes (Senior) go (on loan) to Wakefield thinking we had a lot of cover in the outside backs, then we lose three in one game so all of a sudden we’re at the bare bones.

“All those are minor and they’ll be back next week but to anticipate losing three in the one game, it’s just unbelievable.

“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks it’ll be looking a lot better but we’ve just got to go with what we’ve got this week. We’ve still got a side capable of going and doing well.”

The Giants have been forced to call on several young players already this season and their ongoing injury woes mean that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.

Among those selected for Friday are hooker Reiss Butterworth, 21, and former Leeds back rower Owen Trout, 20, who Woolford confirmed will both make their club debuts.

“They’re fit so they’re playing,” he continued. “Those guys deserve a chance. They’ve come back in really good condition and they get that opportunity to play against arguably the best team in the competition.

Ex-Leeds back rower Owen Trout will make his Huddersfield debut on Friday. Credit: Craig Milner/News Images

“We’ve got a couple of young kids – Robson Stevens and Ronan Michael – we’ll hopefully bring them back into the squad next week. We planned on doing that but we didn’t plan on being in the predicament that we’re in so early.

“It’s always a little bit of a worry when you’ve got guys together without the right mix of young and senior players but you go through our squad; Louis Senior – fullback’s arguably his best position so I’ve got full confidence in Louis, he’s looked good in training.

“Dom Young – he’s one kid that’s really come along from the start of the year. He’s obviously off to Australia next year, so I’m looking forward to him getting a game.

“Sam Hewitt’s been pretty good in the past couple of weeks so he’ll get more game time this week. So there are a few positives and a few things I’m looking forward to seeing.

“At some stage since we’ve come back from Covid we were going to need a lot of depth in our squad, and it’s not great that we’ve had to delve into that depth so quickly but they’ll get their opportunity and I’m sure they’re going to play well for us.”

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