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“Not trying” – Jake Connor slammed by Sky Sports pundits

Jake Connor Jon Wilkin

Prior to last night, Jake Connor had played just once for Huddersfield Giants since early May with the full-back seemingly frozen out but he was back on the field and back in discussion with his effort being questioned by the Sky Sports team.

Jake Connor is an exceptional talent and a player that always finds himself in the spotlight, however, it’s not always for the right reasons. The full-back lost his place in Ian Watson’s side after a string of performances that saw him involved in personal spats on the field with his attitude being questioned by many.

There was even suggestion that the 29-year-old would be allowed to leave the club on loan with Leeds Rhinos being a likely destination but it was confirmed last night that the Rhinos are out of the race, with Connor instead recalled to the Giants’ starting 13.

Ian Watson spoke to Sky Sports pre-match explaining what he had asked of the full-back, explaining: “He just get his head down and work hard and show the boys that he wants to be part of this team in terms of his effort areas and everything. Just like everybody else, have a team first mentality.”

That immediately set off alarm bells for many watching with effort normally being a given for a Super League player, however, after the 48-0 loss to Warrington, his effort has once again come into question after the embarrassing 48-0 defeat at the hands of Warrington. Giants’ owner Ken Davy has been forced to address the fans after such a shocking performance.

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Is Jake Connor trying?

Super League Jake Connor

Credit: Imago Images

One of the main pundits to have criticised Jake Connor throughout the season has been Jon Wilkin and he was asking questions of the Giants’ number one once again last night as he spoke on Sky Sports.

Highlighting a rare instance of attacking play for the Giants, Wilkin said: “I just want to draw attention to Jake Connor. I don’t want to be critical. He’s the fullback in the middle of the screen right in front of the play the ball. His job now is to get on his bike and follow the play.”

Fellow pundit and former England full-back Sam Tomkins chimed in to offer insight: “As a fullback, you want to stay one pass inside the ball and Jake hasn’t. He’s got Andre Savelio doing essentially what a fullback does.

“Savelio is a metre from the ball and Jake Connor is 20 meters from the ball and he won’t want to see that again.”

The duo’s assessment of Connor’s lacklustre effort to support the Giants’ attack prompted host Brian Carney to suggest that Jake Connor simply was “not trying”, something that Jon Wilkin agreed with wholeheartedly.

Wilkin stated: “Yeah, for sure. Or, he’s not understanding what his job is but for me, he’s played fullback long enough that he absolutely knows what his job is.”

It wasn’t the only criticism aimed at Jake Connor from the ex-St Helens captain last night with Wilkin also stating that the former Hull FC man simply “doesn’t want to play” for Huddersfield.

Wilkin argued: “Jake Connor doesn’t want to play. He doesn’t want to be out there. He’s playing but he’s not there.

“It’s the only time I’ve heard a coach say, ‘What I want to see from Jake is the effort areas and the team first mentality’. Well, why is he in the team?”

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