Ian Watson on Jake Connor position and why he signed him

Ian Watson’s Huddersfield Giants again look like a force to be reckoned with in 2023 before they’ve kicked a ball and part of that is the fact they have brought in Jake Connor from Hull FC.

He gives Watson a real selection headache and the Giants coach explained his approach to picking the spine when speaking to Serious About Rugby League:

“We’ve got a good idea at this moment in time, there will be a few tweaks to that as we go. Obviously Jake Connor’s not really trained with the team yet so he’s going to have to find a little bit of combination and start to build his way back in, but he’s a high quality player.

“We’ve brought him here to be able to help us go to another level and to win things as well so if he doesn’t start the season it’s not a problem. He can build throughout the season as we go forward and he can build those combinations.

“The main thing is that all the other spine players have all run together and all had time to play together in the pre-season and then we know which ones are the best fit together.

“We’ve put in training situations where we’ve had Tui and Prycey running together with Theo and Peatsy, then we’ve had Adam O’Brien, Oliver Russell, Tui and Prycey and we’ve mixed it up. Obviously we’ve had young Kieran Rush in there as well in case we need to obviously use Kieran at some point.

“They’ve all had a good amount of time together now so it’s about getting into games and playing.”

Meanwhile, he also spoke about whether Connor will play fullback or in the halves:

“The beauty of Jake is that he can play both to be fair, what he’s got is undoubtable talent and he can open up defence so whether he plays at six or whether he plays at one we can put him in positions where he can open teams up, where he can use his skill set.

“That will be the key for us and we’ve worked on a lot of them, even with him not being in training, because obviously we’ve got Will Pryce and Tui who are similar types of players. So we’ve worked hard on getting them together to be able to create the options, so when Jake does come in it just falls into it.”

Watson also explained why he signed Connor:

“He’s that execution, what we did last year the boys were phenomenal in getting those repeat sets, we didn’t execute and somebody like Jake Connor makes you execute better.

“There’s little bits to factor, he’s a lot more experienced, he knows how to read somebody’s defence. Some of the young players in our spine are still learning to unlock a defence so in six more years Will Pryce might be unreal at unlocking a defence, at this moment he might miss a couple of things, same with Oliver Russell.

“But they’ve got to go through that process as a young player. Jake’s 27 now and he will still go through them processes but he’ll probably miss less than what a younger player would, so it makes us better in attack and we’re more of a threat.”

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