Huddersfield Giants’ recruitment for 2023 has been brilliant but also somewhat confusing.
Ian Watson has brought in five players capable of playing centre in the shape of Esan Marsters, Kevin Naiqama, Jake Bibby, Sam Halsall and Jake Connor.
Connor is the most interesting of the lot. He has spent the last few seasons playing fullback for Hull FC but has also played six and in the centres in the past.
The Giants had Tui Lolohea at fullback for the 2022 campaign and the former Leeds Rhinos and Salford Red Devils man shone in the role.
It seems Lolohea and Connor will form part of the Giants’ spine alongside Theo Fages in 2023 though when speaking to Giants TV Watson did not reveal who would play where but it is safe to assume that one of Connor and Lolohea will start six and the other at fullback.
Watson also explained why he signed Connor believing he would give the Giants a bit of extra quality and creativity, something Lolohea himself delivered believing that it would give his side more than one point of attack and creativity in 2023.
This is something that should seriously worry their Super League rivals. This is because Tui Lolohea – though he let his Tonga team down with a grubber kick today – was Super League’s best player at forcing drop outs with grubber kicks in 2022.
Meanwhile, no team in Super League had as many play the balls in the opposition half as the Giants, not even Champions St Helens.
The trouble with this for the Giants, they scored less points than the Champions, Wigan Warriors and Salford Red Devils and only a few more than Leeds who started the season seemingly unable to score.
This speaks to the style of play Watson pursues. His sides are incredibly structured and great at suffocating their opponents but when teams can contain that structure this doesn’t always translate to points or wins.
So, this speaks to why they have brought in another unstructured star to the club. Like Lolohea, Connor can conjure up magic moments at will and by giving both players this level of pressure and possession, this will translate to even more points.
In effect, Connor’s arrival coupled with these amazing stats could take the Giants up a notch in 2023 as their possession will likely turn the Giants into points scoring machines next year making them real title contenders.