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Tom Burgess signing part of “creating a legacy” claims Ian Watson

Ian Watson and Tom Burgess

Ian Watson has described Huddersfield Giants’ signing of Tom Burgess as “humongous” and explained it’s part of his long-term aim to “create a legacy” at the club.

Watson took charge at the John Smiths’ Stadium in 2021 after having had success in transforming Salford Red Devils into Super League’s most entertaining team, even getting the club to a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final.

It was his second season with the Giants that saw Watson’s influence truly take over with the club placing third and reaching the Challenge Cup Final, but a disappointing 2023 followed as they placed ninth once again.

Despite Burgess not arriving until the 2025 season, Watson has claimed it will incentivise performances from his young players and could also aid in recruitment.

Speaking to BBC West Yorkshire, he explained: “Some people say obviously that’s a signing for next year, obviously we need to focus on day-to-day which we are doing but you also have to have an eye on the kind of the future not only for your own team values but also for the club values as well. Tom brings that for us and he’s the kind of player that you want involved in the club.

“If you look over the last couple of years, the players that we’ve brought to the club in terms of Chris Hill, Theo Fages, Danny Levi, Ricky Leutele, Kevin Naiqama, Tom Burgess now, they’re high-quality players, we need to link them with some of our younger players.

“If you’re a young player at Huddersfield, you see the ambition of the club and you surely want to be a part of that. So people like Harry Rushton, Sam Halsall, Fenton Rogers, Ollie Wilson, will all want to play with Thomas Burgess, so they’re thinking ‘I need to do my job and perform, so I’m in this team next year as well’. So it gives them a really good kind of ammunition to want to be part of a Huddersfield future.”

Watson hails “humongous” Tom Burgess signing

Tom Burgess has signed for Huddersfield Giants on a three-year deal from 2025.

Tom Burgess has signed for Huddersfield Giants on a three-year deal from 2025. – (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

It had been reported that Tom Burgess potentially wanted to return to England and take on the challenge of Super League, something he never got to do before moving to Australia, but Huddersfield wasn’t one of the teams on the short-list.

Leeds Rhinos had been referenced by Burgess himself as a possible destination, whilst Warrington Wolves would have obviously made a lot of sense given his brother’s role as head coach.

Sam Burgess did confirm that Huddersfield had beaten Warrington’s offer for Tom, labelling the numbers “out of this world”.

Regardless of wage, Ian Watson has outlined that it’s a major signing for both the club and the competition of Super League.

He explained: “Yeah, I think it’s humongous. I think with everything else that’s going on, signing a player like Tom and bringing a calibre of that kind of guy over here, it’s huge for the competition and huge for the game as a whole, not just for Huddersfield Giants.

“It’s great that we’ve managed to get it across the line and bring Tom back home to play in the Super League. That’s very exciting in itself, but I think for the whole game a player of that calibre brings a hell of a lot of focus to our game.”

He also explained that signing Tom Burgess was aided by the Englishman buying into Watson’s mentality of “creating a legacy” at the club, hence Burgess arriving on a three-year deal.

“I think what we did was we laid out to him what we wanted the club to be,” Watson noted, adding on: “We laid out what my vision was for the club in terms of what I came here for and sometimes things get slightly disrupted by things that happen, but my mentality in terms of trying to create a legacy at Huddersfield and create a top team has never changed in that.

“He’s going to make us better”

Ian Watson is backing Tom Burgess to make the difference at the club. – Picture by Allan McKenzie/ – 10/09/2022

Watson concluded by explaining that the arrival of Tom Burgess will simply raise the standards of everyone at the club, noting his leadership and influence as a factor that will take the Giants to another level.

He explained: “You talk about Sam and you talk about the Burgess family, and I think one of the things you would say on and off the field, is they’re impeccable in what they do and what they bring in terms of how they prepare for games, how they lead, how they talk to people, how they influence people.

“I think somebody like Tom, the biggest compliment you can say is that he’s going to make people better. That’s what we want within the club. I think that’s the biggest compliment you can say about a player, that he’s going to make people better. He’s going to make us better as a club as well.”

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