09th February 2018


Andy Kelly discusses the Giants U19’s Academy’s 36-18 pre- season victory over Wakefield Trinity

Foster Care

On Thursday 8th February the Huddersfield Giants had a double header of fixtures with the Under 19s Academy travelling to face Wakefield Trinity in a pre-season friendly before the first-team defeated Warrington Wolves at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Head of Youth, Andy Kelly, spoke to about the Under 19s comprehensive 36-18 victory.

Kelly was pleased to see such positive play from players of various ages in the team as tries from Jon Luke-Kirby (2), Ross Whitmore, Louis Senior, Tyllar Mellor, Travis Corion and Innes Senior fired the Giants to the victory:

“The Academy performance at Wakefield was very good. I thought as a team performance it bodes well for the season.

“There were some strong individual performances in that, I thought some of our first years represented themselves really well. Ben Bamber probably highlighted that with some barnstorming runs. He got some quick-play of the balls, which he’s been working on in pre-season, and he also won penalties because his effort was so strong and the opposition struggled to contain him.

“The third years are going to steer the team around the field this year and they showed they’ve got enough experience and togetherness now. They lead by example and don’t rest on their laurels and they all represented themselves really well.

“An all-round team performance suggests that we’ll do alright this season but the realities will come in the season, rather than in friendlies, which begins next Thursday against Wigan at Lockwood Park. A lot of the players will go into the week’s preparation with a lot of confidence gained from the match but there’s also the reality that we’ve got a lot to do yet.

“Everybody loves winning and we’re in competitive sport. Winning is an important part of your development just like losing is. Losing is a challenge where you have to consider what you learnt, what was gained and what you do next that comes out of the experience. Winning is good for your development too and it’s a great habit to have as mentally it can be so uplifting.

“It’s good to get a win and get the confidence and optimism it brings. The development of the individuals is one of the key areas of the academy and it’s great to see whole team bonding as it’s something that will really help the individuals portray themselves in a positive light.”

With the Giants U19s Academy season commencing on Thursday 15th February, kick off 7pm at Lockwood Park, against Wigan Warriors, Kelly encouraged supporters to attend the game:

“The academies are of a high quality. You see more and more of those players graduating into first-team rugby league players and we have a good representation of home grown players. The Club supports the academy and the progression of players within that is the justification, so looking at Darnell McIntosh and Tyler Dickinson playing for the first-team last night, we understand that they come through a system that the Club supports.

“It’s fantastic when you’re an academy player seeing people that you’ve played alongside in previous years graduating to first-team rugby league and holding their own in Super League, it gives you a renewed confidence and optimism. Doubt is a big enemy of a player and it starts to dissipate when they see players who succeed.

“It’s great having people come down and support the player’s efforts. In terms of recompense, other than their ambition, they don’t get too much back so for them to see that people appreciate what they’re trying to do for the Club is very important to them.

“By coming to the Academy games, supporters also get a glimpse into the future and it’s not often that you can do that. You can have a look and see for yourself what could one-day be a Super League player.” 

Heikki Kovalainen




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