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Sam Tomkins predicts where Huddersfield Giants will finish this season

Sam Tomkins Ian Watson Huddersfield Giants

Huddersfield Giants were humiliated on Friday night by Warrington Wolves with Ian Watson’s men losing 48-0 to mark their eighth defeat in nine games to leave them eight points adrift of the playoffs, and pundit Sam Tomkins has assessed where they’ll likely finish this season.

Ian Watson was a high-profile appointment for the club given the wonders that he had worked at Salford but his tenure at the John Smiths Stadium has been lacklustre with just one playoff finish. That came in 2022 when the club finished third and made the Challenge Cup Final but it would appear that season was the anomaly with the reality being that the Giants aren’t a playoff contender.

Huddersfield Giants finished ninth in Watson’s debut season, ninth in 2023 and currently sit eighth this year, however, they’re only one point ahead of ninth-placed Leigh who do have a game in hand. It appears a trend / ceiling has emerged for the Giants during Ian Watson’s tenure and with the club losing stars Esan Marsters and Luke Yates next season, there’s no sign of it changing.

Sam Tomkins attests to that as he told Sky Sports: “I can’t see them making top six. I think they’re probably going to sit around where they are and have been season because that’s where they’re at.

“They can have a decent performance or they can have a really bad performance. They’ve just not played well all season as a group, they’ve got a lot of change.”

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Are Huddersfield Giants underachieving?

Esan Marsters Super League

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Despite the ninth-placed plateau that the club have seemingly hit, they have recruited lots in recent years with owner Ken Davy even claiming ahead of last season that he had assembled the best Huddersfield Giants team during his time in charge.

One of the major recruits for that season, Jake Connor, has been accused of “not trying” of late with the full-back dropped for a spell of games before returning on Friday night where he once again drew criticism.

It hasn’t just been Connor though with the team’s first half performance against Catalans ahead of the international break described by Brian Carney as “appalling”. Sky Sports pundits Sam Tomkins and Jon Wilkin assessed that as they previewed Friday night’s game, one that would end up being even worse than two weeks ago in Perpignan.

Wilkin explained: “You were watching it through your fingers. When I was watching the game, I had an element of sympathy for Ian Watson. As a coach, you can control tactics, you can control recruitment, you can control many facets of how your team performs, but quite simply fundamental errors, making errors that are just individual responsibility. There’s almost an element of sympathy for him, there’s not much he can do in this situation.”

Sam Tomkins agreed, arguing that Huddersfield Giants didn’t even look like they knew one another, such was the lack of coherency: “Yeah, some of the errors they came up with in that first half against Catalans were just individual, unforced errors. They are the coach-killers and Huddersfield are not a good enough team to make that many mistakes and expect to win a game.

“It has looked like, at times, in recent weeks that they’d never played together before. It was bizarre, they were coming at it with structural errors, there were individual errors and they just looked really really clunky.”

What should be the aim for the Giants?

Huddersfield Giants Ian Watson

Credit: Imago Images

With this season looking more and more like a write-off as the games go by, it’s hard to work out what should be the expectation for the club. Ian Watson has spoken since the demolition at the hands of Warrington Wolves claiming that his side does not have enough quality, something that Sam Tomkins disagreed with.

The ex-England skipper argued Watson has had enough opportunity to build his side and mark it with his own identity, explaining: “For a side that Ian Watson’s got together, he’s picked all these best players and the players he thinks can create a real dynasty at the club and so far they’ve not done it.”

Jon Wilkin agreed, noting: “I’ve seen three or four games this year where, I’m not going to say they’ve thrown the towel in, but they’ve been that despondent with how they’re playing. They’ve let the score blow out.”

On the club’s recent recruitment, Wilkin mentioned Ken Davy’s now infamous statement before suggesting that Huddersfield should be on the trajectory of Hull KR, not plateauing as they have been.

“Since the 2022 season, it’s just fallen away. Owner Ken Davey came out and said ‘I’ve never given more resources to a coach. I’ve given him everything that he can have.’ You can only do that for so long.

“I think if you pinned Ian Watson down and asked him, I think he’d be expecting to be in a similar position to what Hull KR are now. We’re talking about them as competing with Wigan and Saints. Well, I don’t even think you can put Huddersfield anywhere near them.”

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