30 Apr 2021

Coaches Comments: Watson stresses need for consistency

Ian Watson has confirmed that Ricky Leutele is in line for a return to the matchday squad against Leeds Rhinos this Sunday. The former Melbourne Storm centre has missed the last four games with a hand injury, but looks set to slot in at centre for the West Yorkshire Derby. 

"Ricky will be back in" said Watson "With Leroy we'll see which decision we'll go with. We thought our right edge did really well against the best left edge in the competition. We'll make a decision to let the lads know in the morning"

Watson also provided an update on Giants full-back Ashton Golding, who's missed the start of the season through injury. The former Rhinos man is behind schedule due to a minor infection, but is due to return in late May, the Giants head coach confirmed.

"He's been pushed back a bit, he was due to be early May but he's suffered an infection so he's had to have that cleaned out. He's due back late May"

The Giants faced their rivals in pre-season, coming out on top after an impressive first half performance, but Watson insists that there is little to learn from the pre-season victory, as the Giants squad are still clicking into gear.

"Pre-season games are about getting minutes under your belt. Even at the start of the season, you're working on processes but you're not still match fit. With us being new to each other, there's lot we're working on. They've been there in large parts, our second half performances have been outstanding, but there's work to go."

Watson also praised the depth of the Rhinos squad, with the visitors for Sunday suffering an injury crisis with 10 unavailable players this week. He also is expecting a tough game, and indicated he appreciated the size of the fixture for both teams when he was Salford boss.

"They're a real quality squad. If we had 10 injuries, we wouldn't be able to put a squad out like that - so you can see the squad depth there. We'll be expecting a really tough fixture, and looking from the outside in, it's a really big fixture - Huddersfield vs Leeds."

Watson named four half-backs in his 21-man squad for this week's game, with Olly Russell joining Aidan Sezer, Jack Cogger and Lee Gaskell in the extended party for the fixture. Watson stressed the need for stability and consistency in the spine of the team.

"You need consistency there. When you get a settled spine, you start to hit form. We've had young Jack Cogger for instance, who's still getting to know the team and Sezer has been in and out. We need consistency in the spine."

Finally, Watson stressed that the side are working towards that all important first win, and insists the side in moving in the right direction. 

"We're not far off. It was going to take time for us to hit out peak, but people can start to see the work that's been going in. Look at the second half against St Helens, we're stepping in the right direction. That's not good enough, obviously, we want the win, but we're moving in the right direction"

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