Why Huddersfield Giants might have the strongest squad in Super League

Going into 2021, an argument was being put forward that Huddersfield might have the strongest squad in the league or at least the next strongest after that of Champions St Helens.

However, going into 2022 no such argument was made following their struggles last season as injuries and change caused them to stall early on in the campaign.

Nonetheless, the Giants recruited well going into this season signing the likes of Theo Fages, Tui Lolohea and Chris Hill but such signings were dismissed and Huddersfield were expected to be mediocre once again but those predictions couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Giants are nicely cemented in the top four and played in a Challenge Cup Final a week ago and this has come on the back of two things: firstly faith in the project being developed by Ian Watson at Huddersfield, they didn’t panic and continued to invest in the players he wanted and the second being the success of his signings and the development of a great squad and it might just be the strongest squad in the league.

Granted it’s hard to say that in terms of quality that it’s a superior squad to St Helens, but the Champions’ depth has been tested and strained in some areas this season. Look at the halves for instance, the lack of natural cover here has seen Kristian Woolf cycle through a number of options there due to the injury suffered by Lewis Dodd, but no such problem would likely befall the Giants who have excellent depth all across the park.

It’s quite easy to prove this as well which is what I’ll set about doing here starting with their Challenge Cup Final team.

A final team is always going to be a side’s strongest available 17 as Ian Watson named this side: Tui Lolohea, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Ricky Leutele, Innes Senior, Jack Cogger, Olly Russell, Chris Hill, Danny Levi, Oliver Wilson, Josh Jones, Chris McQueen and Luke Yates in the starting 13 with Ash Golding, Owen Trout, Joe Greenwood and Matty English amongst the subs.

They lost that game but only just and were arguably the stronger team against a superb Wigan side for the majority of the game underlining that 17’s quality but what’s even more remarkable is the players Watson was able to bring in last night as they took on the second-placed Catalans Dragons away.

Watson brought in seven players who didn’t play the final some of which were enforced changes and some of which were designed to rest those involved in the final. Jake Wardle came in on the wing, Will Pryce returned from suspension at halfback, Adam O’Brien took over at nine and scored a lovely try whilst Michael Lawrence started at prop. Meanwhile, on the bench Jack Ashworth, Nathan Mason and Sam Hewitt all featured.

Just listing those talented players underlines the quality of the Giants squad but if you want proof, turn to the games Watson has chosen to turn to this ‘rested’ side which have oddly come against the three other members of the top four.

Remarkably on Easter Monday a ‘rested’ Giants side pushed a full strength St Helens side all the way before a similar team beat Wigan a matter of weeks ago but the pick of the bunch came at Catalans last night who went into the game second in the table only to be played off the park by the Giants despite those seven changes with Huddersfield taking an 18-0 lead.

If that’s still not enough proof for you, then how about this? In their last two games, Watson hasn’t called upon Louis Senior who scored a superb hat-trick the last time we saw him feature and of course there has been no Theo Fages, Huddersfield’s star signing and perhaps best player, due to injury recently.

Seb Ikahihifo is another brilliant member of the Giants squad currently unavailable whilst Oliver Roberts is another player of quality who hasn’t been named in the last two Giants sides.

In total that’s 28 top class players at Watson’s disposal not including the fantastic youngsters the club are producing. These 28 are also nicely distributed across the positions making perhaps the best squad depth in the league.

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