Huddersfield head coach Luke Robinson has earmarked young forwards Ronan Michael and Robson Stevens as two players the Giants could build their squad around in future.
The pair are yet to make their senior debuts but have spent time since lockdown training with the first team.
Michael has been named in Robinson’s 21-man squad for the second time ahead of this week’s clash with Wakefield, while Stevens has also been included twice in recent weeks, and the Giants boss is already predicting bright futures for both of them.
“We want to keep players at the club that hold the Huddersfield values and those are two players that hold really good values,” he said. “First and foremost, they’re really good rugby league players and they’ve got heaps of potential but secondly they’re actually really good human beings.
“They’re willing to learn, they want to progress, they want to achieve things in their career and those are the types of individuals that we want to definitely keep within the club.
“Especially in the middle, it’s a tough gig being in there at a young age and there’s not many Sam Burgess-types around that go in at 18, 19, even 21 (years-of-age) and play regular rugby.
“You progress and you mature and it takes you until your sort of mid-20s to sort of find your feet in that middle part of the field.
“But we’ve got high aspirations and expectations, so hopefully in years to come we can build a side around them.”
Irishman Michael, in particular, has done it tough to get to where he is.
The 20-year-old from Balbriggan only started playing rugby league two years ago and was part of an exchange with Canberra Raiders before finding himself back in Ireland months later when the Covid-19 pandemic happened.
“Ronan’s been a really good story,” Robinson continued. “He pretty much paid for his own way over here. He managed to get a trial with myself when I was under-19s coach.
“Then we built up a bit of a relationship with Canberra through Don Furner and the plan was that if we got anybody that we feel could benefit from going over there and spending some time in their under-20s competition, they’d facilitate that.
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“So he went over to Canberra, started training around the first team. He was planning on playing for the under-20s this season and gaining some vital experience and knowledge before he came back to us, but then Covid hit.
“He’d just about found his feet and settled in and was then sent straight back, but because of furlough he went straight back to Ireland. I think he started working as a window cleaner to earn a bit of money.
“So he’s shown some resilience and a lot of dedication. But he’s had a fair few obstacles since he’s come over.
“Going to Australia, getting furloughed, getting sent back to Ireland, getting put in lockdown, then becoming a window cleaner during his spare time to earn a bit of extra brass.
“Fortunately for him and us, we managed to get him back off furlough and into our squad but it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster year for him to say the least.”