One of the big stories of the winter was the confirmation that Wigan Warriors star Kai Pearce-Paul and Huddersfield Giants star Will Pryce would be going to the NRL in 2024 to join the Newcastle Knights.
Speaking to Serious About Rugby League ahead of the new season, Huddersfield boss Ian Watson gave his very balanced verdict on the youngster:
“It’s disappointing in some ways that he’s going across there but I totally understand it, I totally get it. I understand his level of ambition and why he wants to get across there.
“At the moment the NRL is seen as the pinnacle of rugby league and the pinnacle of the sport so he wants to compete over there and show everybody what he’s good at. It’s disappointing for us because he’s a young lad, he’s in the infancy of his career and he could have had a great great career over here and we could have built something really special in and round Will going forward.
“What will happen now is he’ll probably go away and he’ll probably start all over again at Newcastle and he’s got to start that career again from there.
“You can look at it both ways, is it a good thing that they’re looking at some of our British and younger players and saying that we’ve got a talent that is probably better than their younger talents, so they’re coming to get our guys? Yeah.
“Or, we can say ‘it’s really disappointing that one of our young players has left our Super League because he doesn’t think our competition is as good as that one’, but in true light it isn’t. That’s a billion pound industry over there in the NRL, Super League is probably a million pound industry. You’re not talking the level of the NRL, over there that’s like the Premier League of football over here.
“I’d rather look at it as a positive that they’ve come to get one of our better younger players, because their players aren’t as good as what our young British players that are coming through.”
Asked if we could see Pryce return to Huddersfield after his time in the NRL, Watson said:
“You’d hope so, he’s been pretty adamant that he wants to try and stay across there but you’d love him to come back to Huddersfield and continue what he’s just started to do here.”