Ian Watson believes Huddersfield Giants star should have been Man of Steel contender in 2022

Ian Watson and the Huddersfield Giants have made some impressive statement signings going into 2023.

They’ve signed the likes of Esan Marsters and Kevin Naiqama from the NRL, Jake Bibby and Jake Connor from Super League rivals and seemingly concluded their recruitment with the return of Nathan Peats this morning.

They all join a very impressive squad from 2022 which finished third, but Ian Watson doesn’t think his players quite got the recognition they deserved.

He told Giants TV that he felt one player should have been up for Young Player of the Year and that another should have been kicking around the Man of Steel contenders:

“Olly Russell with the year he had should have been up there with Jack Welsby and Harry Smith for Young Player of the Year, Tui Lolohea should have been a Man of Steel contender.

“We got the recognition in the end in here especially by being picked for the World Cup but you want them to come back fit and healthy because out of all our guys, us and Wigan played the most games by getting to the Challenge Cup Final and with our guys being so young they need a break and our England Knights guys are on a break now and hopefully our World Cup guys will get a break at some point.”

That situation leads to a staggered return for players for pre-season which Watson spoke about as he underlined their intention to compete for silverware: “It should get to be a very good environment, a really competitive environment where we’re all the same page, competing and with our common goal to compete for silverware.

“Pre-season makes it interesting because some will come back on 7th, some will be back on the 14th and some, depending how far they go in the World Cup it might not be till January.”

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