21 Jul 2021

Watson confirms Gavet departure and talks 2022 recruitment

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Ian Watson has confirmed that James Gavet will leave the club for personal reasons in his weekly press call ahead of tomorrow's game against Hull FC. The 31-year-old has made 21 appearances for the club since arriving from Newcastle Knights in 2020 and will return home shortly. 

"James Gavet will be going back home, he feels its the right thing to do for himself. He might come out and explain those decisions but it's up to him to do that. He's been brilliant to be fair and been upfront and been really honest with the situation. He's been a great pro in the meantime, between him starting the season and now - he's always been putting his hand up to play and he's been giving his best, which is all we can ask for."

Watson also gave an update on Jack Cogger, who is nearing a return to the squad after a foot injury, and confirmed that the half-back will potentially be in contention for a place for the Giants next game. Elsewhere, Watson confirmed that Owen Trout has returned and the squad suffered no additional injuries in the aftermath of the Wigan game last Friday.

"We came through the last game unscathed. We were hoping to get one or two back but to be fair, we've got Owen Trout back, which is a big plus. He's looked really good in training this week and has been brilliant this season for us.

"We thought we might have Jack Cogger back, but it's a bit too early, but he'll be another week. He was healing really well, and looked really stable so he did a training session on Monday, but his injury has just flared up after the training session. It might be that this week is just a bit too far, so we think he'll be another week."

The Giants coach is looking forward to seeing Cogger, and fellow half-back Lee Gaskell back in the squad in the coming weeks, but praised the improvement in the performances of those who have stepped up to fill the void, Olly Russell & Will Pryce. 

"It'll be good to get Cogger and Gaskell back, they offer a bit of experience in the spine but the boys that have been doing the job at the minute; Olly Russell & Will Pryce have been playing phenomenally and I thought they did really well. You can see that they're learning and growing in confidence week to week. 

Turning to tomorrow night's opponents, with Hull having an extended break, he feels that the side that the Giants will come up against will be fresh from the extended lay-off and praised the quality of the squad named by Hull Coach, Brett Hodgson for tomorrow's fixture. 

"The bodies will be fresh as they've had 4 weeks off, but there'll be some lads coming back from Covid which might have an impact on them. The squad they've put out is still a really good squad."

An injury impacted Giants were defeated 17-10 in the reverse fixture a month ago, but Watson said that the performance, and the hard-work shown by the team in that game impressed him and the squad have followed on from that with impressive performances against Wigan Warriors in the last two weeks. Maintaining that work ethic, Watson said, will be the key to getting a result tomorrow night. 

"We need to play to our own strengths and in the reverse fixture a month ago, the biggest thing that struck me was the team work ethic. That's struck me in the last few weeks in the games against Wigan. We're starting to play like a team now, and I want us to maintain that, because it's keeping us in games and we only need to tweak and improve things to get a result now. I'm happy with the group we've got out on the field at the moment."

Watson also spoke about the upcoming departure of Aidan Sezer, but insists that the group are focusing on the players that will be at the club in 2022, not those who will not.

"Aidan and I spoke about 6-7 weeks ago about which way we wanted to go. Aidan's made his decision and I think that's the best for him and the best for us. 

"For the group, it's important that we concentrate on what we do have next year, not on what we don't have and we move forward together."

On the upcoming season, Watson has revealed the club are in a 'great spot' in terms of recruitment for the upcoming year, and is confident the additions will improve the environment and the mentality of the squad going into next season. He insists, however, that the signings will be announced when the time is right and when it is best for all parties involved. 

"We're in a great spot with our recruitment. We'd like to be able to give you more information but we'll do right by the players and clubs involved.

"We're far down the line on reinforcements for next season. Clubs like to announce them when the time feels right for them and when it works for the clubs and players involved. Have we signed players next year? Yes we have. The club want to do the right thing and want to do what's best in regard to the other clubs in terms of releasing that. We'll follow on from the values of the club.

"The guys that are coming in are first class. They'll advance this environment and will make Huddersfield better. We've been brought in to do that. There was a problem here before we came in and a lot of this season has been about finding out about that and fixing them up on the back of that. 

"We're getting a great understanding of the club. There's a lot of players that have surprised us, and a lot of players that have been a little bit challenging. Not everyone is the best of friends, but everyone has to have a common goal and you have to have the right group to work towards that.

"We want to work towards sustaining this club as a top four club, if you get the top end players right, those players help you bring on the youngsters. Huddersfield has a good crop of youngsters coming through and they've been there for a while on the back of the work of Andy Kelly with our academy. It was up to us to find out what the issues were and fix them and I feel like we're doing that. The new signings coming through will make the club better. 

"It's really exciting. The group that we've got playing now will be in really good stead for their development in regards to the people we're bringing in. Once you start building something, you've got to get the top players at the club right to be able to sustain success, to challenge the younger players and push those players to be better all the time. With what we've recruited, we're being smart to help bring on the younger players in this club. If we want to be successful and make a successful Huddersfield Giants team, we need to bring those younger players through so that they can sustain what the other guys do. 

The Huddersfield boss, however, has insisted that the coming months will be huge for the club, and will be focusing on making sure the side on the paddock and on the playing field are adhering to the processes that Watson insists will be bring success to the club. 

"The next few months are huge. When you talk about processes, and the way you train and the way you play - lots of that has gone out of the window with Covid and having players missing, you want to challenge players to be getting better, especially some of the younger guys. For some of the youngers players to be getting first-team Rugby might be the making of these players."

Catch the full interview, including an interview with Giants back-row Sam Hewitt, in full on GiantsTV. Subscriptions are available for just £2.99 or £29.99 per month. Click here to subscribe.