Ian Watson gives injury update on star signing

Huddersfield Giants will host Castleford Tigers on Friday night in the Sky Sports televised fixture and also the first Castleford game since the departure of Lee Radford.

The Giants are coming off their first win of the season, a narrow and gritty 8-0 victory over Wakefield Trinity and now they return to the John Smith to kickstart their season.

They’re facing a Castleford side who will be stinging following three losses on the bounce and will also be looking to impress any potential new head coach, with Andy Last currently acting as caretaker.

Huddersfield are also themselves still trying to find their feet this season given that they missed out in round one due to St Helens being down under, and had an uncharacteristc home loss to Warrington in round two.

Their 8-0 win over Wakefield didn’t do their incredible offence of 2022 any justice and so they’ll be marking this televised fixture as the ganme to truly open up their 2023 season.

To do so Ian Watson has named a strong 21-man squad but it is still without the injured Jake Connor, but also Kevin Naiqama.

Whilst he’s stated that Connor likely wouldn’t be available until round five or potentially later, Naiqama is an interesting one as Watson has openly admitted that in regards to their round three game against Wakefield, “if it was a Grand Final Kevin would play”.

It seems that with the depth and replacements of Jake Bibby and others, Watson is keen to allow the former Grand Final winner Naiqama to rest up.

“He’s ran Monday, ran Tuesday. He feels like he could play but the medical team have just asked us to give him the extra week to make sure that when he comes back he basically stays back.
“He had a bit of a tear and what they didn’t want was to make it worse and then he’d have to come out at some point. They wanted it to fully heal and to be fresh with players, I thought Bibby came in and did a great job last week.
“He’s under no rush or pressure to come back and play but from the way he ran on Monday and Tuesday, he was running at the side with the physios and they were all happy with him in the metres and metres per second. They’re more than happy that he can come back but they just asked us to give him another week so he’s more robust.”
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