Ian Watson on “massive step forward”, the area in which Huddersfield Giants aren’t given enough credit and disappointment of Salford Red Devils defeat

Huddersfield’s season certainly didn’t end the way they imagined after a terrific season which saw them finish third in the Super League table and reach a Challenge Cup Final.

After all that, the Giants came unstuck against Salford yesterday as the Red Devils came away with a 28-0 win over the Giants thanks to tries from Joe Burgess, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Brierley and the brilliant Andy Ackers.

It ended their season on a sour note, but it should still be regarded as a success after they climbed six places in the Super League table under Ian Watson this year and after the defeat Watson echoed this thinking as he reflected on the season, noting the disappointment of this weekend’s defeat, the progress made and an area where he feels the Giants don’t get enough credit.

“This is going to sting,” Watson said, “This is the most disappointing way we could have finished the season on the back of the development we’ve done but we’ve finished third and got to a Challenge Cup Final.

“There’s a massive step forward in terms of progression

“A hell of lot of our players will have learnt a lot from this game. I speak to them all the time about how play-off football is completely different and some of the more experienced guys have said that as well.

“We don’t get enough credit for the amount of young players we actually have in our team that are learning lessons. Salford taught us a real lesson today.”

He even identified one player in particular who learnt a lot from the play-off game itself: “Olly Russell has just said in there he’s probably learnt more in that game than he has all season.”

Things are only going to get better then for the Giants as the likes of Russell develop alongside some exciting recruits who Watson believes will add a real competitive element to the Giants in 2023: “Yeah they’ll be a couple of players who add to that. The big one for recruitment is bringing in competitors. Harry Rushton has been competing against NRL players to play and at Wigan to get into the first team.”

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