13th April 2018


Luke Robinson reflects on the U19s Academy’s progress

Foster Care

Huddersfield Giants U19s Head Coach, Luke Robinson, spoke to about players making the step up to first team and his side’s victory over London Broncos last weekend:

“I was really happy, especially because I think London are a good side. They had a good victory over Warrington before that game, they’ve had a few good victories this season, and have a lot of very big, strong, athletic players. It was always going to be a tough day out.

“The mentality that we’re showing this year is really good and the players are really buying into what I’m trying to give them this year. More importantly, they’re coming out with something that I’ve always strived to implement, which is that work ethic and mentality. They were really disciplined and it showed in the first twenty minutes in particular.

“We’ve had some little milestones this year that have been good, but if I’m being brutally honest, I don’t think the milestones are very good and we should have dispelled them a long time ago. We were the first Giants Academy side to win away to Catalans and to take points off Wigan, but there is definitely more in us. I think we’re a side that’s still learning and developing but we’re making strides in the right areas.

“We’ve got Jamie Greenwood who’s playing well, Finley Bruce and Jack Flynn, who’s out injured, who are all very creative players in the spine of our team. I’ve always been someone who believes in the effort and desire, but I’m also a big believer in the English game, I like to be expansive and play free-flowing rugby. The players have really bought into it and we’ve got some great interplays. They’re not only winning games but actually playing good rugby at the same time.”

Sam Hewitt and Innes and Louis Senior made the step up from the Academy and have featured for the first team since the Easter period and Robinson is delighted with their progression:

“I’d like to give a special mention to Sam Hewitt and Louis and Innes Senior because we’ve been playing such good rugby in the U19s that some of our senior players, who are integral to our team, are being given opportunities in the first-team. Sometimes it can be distracting for us, having our best players taken away from us, but the younger lads seem to be taking it into their stride and we’re still winning games even without a full complement of players.

“For me, it’s good to see the development of the Senior twins around the knowledge of their position, that probably to the naked eye isn’t quite so visible, but they grasp the game well and are bright kids that understand the game. Everything that I’ve been giving them up until this point they seem to have really taken in their stride and those two, along with Sam Hewitt, are really leading the way for the rest of the Academy side at the moment and are showing that there is a path, if we keep doing the right thing and progressing in the 19s, to get to the first-team. I’m absolutely delighted.

“Hearing that Innes is the first Super League try scorer born in the 21st century makes me feel old, I think I made my debut before he was born, which is scary.”

Matty English made his first-team home debut against Castleford Tigers on Sunday and Robinson praised the 20 year old prop-forward:

“Matty was our captain last year and I think everyone understands what he brings. He’s someone that brings a lot of rugby intelligence, he’s a clever bloke and understands the game. He’s got a little subtlety to his game that not a lot of prop forwards have and I know that he’s going to get this a lot throughout his career but he reminds me of James Graham in his body shape, the way that he plays and his work ethic.

“He’s really stepped up when playing in the championship against some more senior players and he stepped up against Castleford too.”

The U19s side have only succumbed to one defeat so far this season and Robinson reflected on his side’s start to the season:

“What’s important is that we continue this good start, it’s not been perfect, and I’d like to keep the momentum going. Winning, like losing, becomes habitual so if we can keep on the winning streak then it bodes well for the rest of the season.

“It’s only my second year for me and I think it’s taken the two seasons for me to put my stamp on the team, I think every coach will say that you need two pre-seasons. Good rugby players are usually good blokes, so I’m very thankful that the side I’ve got this year and the individuals in it are very honest blokes and it’s shown on the field.”

Robinson also thanked the Huddersfield Giants Supporters Association (HGSA) for their support and hard-work in helping to run the Academy matches:

“The Supporters Association have been brilliant, they’re advertising the games and helping to get people down there. I’ve said before that it’s just a field and it doesn’t matter whether you’re home or away but it’s always nice to be able to showcase your skills in front of a decent crowd which we’ve had this season.”



Heikki Kovalainen




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