4 Oct 2019

THE CHALKBOARD: WARDLE IS A GIANT

As Joe Wardle confirmed his return to the Giants in 2020, the Chalkboard looks at the impact that Joe had on the team and what he will offer in 2020

By Sean Evans

Two weeks ago, we were delighted to bring you the announcement that the ‘King’ Kenny Edwards was joining our back row, and yesterday we showed the league just how physical we intend to be, bringing back Joe Wardle for 2020.

Joe’s season wasn’t as free flowing as we might have hoped but at times was crucial to the overall movement and ability of the Giants pack. Injuries may have slowed him down but next season we are hoping to see him repeat a few of his best tricks, just like he did at crucial times, and at crucial events.

One of the greatest to play the game ever, Sonny-Bill Williams' style was, do the tough stuff, tough, and do the easier stuff even tougher. His manoeuvrability and ability both on and off the ball made him king, and although few will ever reach the height of the Kiwi back-rower - no pun intended - there are definitely elements of his game seen in players like Wardle.

In May, the Super League took the step in moving the Magic Weekend once again and Anfield was the destination, one of the great sporting arenas in the world. Early on in the match against Hull, a kick is placed, and in these moments you look to reliable figures. When the ball hits the deck and bounces funny, to have a presence and the knowledge to be set in position is key, and Wardle demonstrates his almost ‘inability’, by being at exactly the right place at the right time, and that can often be under-appreciated. His try sending the Giants on the way to our biggest win of the season, and over a half-century of points. 

Last season was one of the greatest finishes of all time, and Huddersfield were dragged right into the battle for survival, and at one stage looked all too likely to go down but certain individual games took the Giants just too far away from the drop.

Hull KR at home well proved to be one of those games, as the Giants were falling behind, the comeback thrived, and the ability of Joe Wardle set the comeback alight.

When the score looked unreachable, Jermaine McGillvary put the question marks into peoples mind but when Joe Wardle thrust through the line, the Claret and Gold faithful could truly believe that this was a comeback for the ages, and that it proved to be.

Alex Mellor was the man that provided the line running for the entirety of the season but when Wardle hit his lines, the man became close to unstoppable, and against Hull KR, a half gap became a chance to hit straight between the lines. A quick move and some strong leg driving meant that the KR defence, led by England International Joel Tomkins, had absolutely no chance.   

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