2020 Review: Huddersfield Giants

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Andrew Ferguson continues his review of the 2020 Super League season - club by club - today looking at Huddersfield.

The Giants exploded out of the blocks to start the year, scoring three consecutive solid wins before suffering a heavy loss to Wigan. They bounced back magnificently with a hard fought win over competition heavyweights St.Helens.

But much like the sides below them on the ladder, the suspension of the competition coincided with a form slump that they struggled to get out of. If not for a 3 game run in the back half of September after their coach Simon Woolford was replaced, Huddersfield would've been sitting at the bottom of the table.

Their season rounded out with a string of 5 narrow losses in a disappointing, but not overly worrying season.

Turning Point

Changing coaches. Simon Woolford's time as coach came to an end after Huddersfield went down 13-12 to Leeds in a rather good performance, however it was the Giants 6th straight loss. Luke Robinson stepped in and immediately saw Huddersfield win 3 straight games, before losing the last 5 games - with all but the last match decided by 8 points or less (The last game was a 13 point loss to Wigan). 

What Worked

Luke Robinson. Despite losing 2 games more than they won under Robinson, Huddersfield had a points difference of +11 under his tenure, their defence looking more committed. The Giants last 4 games of the year saw them keep their opposition to under 20 points. This consistently reliable defence is a great platform for the club to work from in 2021.

What Didn't Work

Simon Woolford. Unfortunately the Australian coach was unable to replicate the success he had in his debut season where he won 12 of his opening 14 games, before losing the last 5 games. 2019 was much worse with some very patchy form and 2020 looked to be a repeat of that. The club opted to go in a different direction and the performance of the side under Robinson appeared to justify the decision to axe Woolford.

Best Player

Aidan Sezer. The Australian halfback was the Giants marquee signing and he showed plenty to prove that he is someone they can build the club around. A good playmaker with a very handy kicking game and a high accuracy as a goal kicker makes him a must have in this side.

Rookies

Teenage winger Dominic Young made his debut in 2019, however only played the one game, a feat he repeated in 2020, both times playing against St Helens. Back Rower Owen Trout who made his debut with the Rhinos last year turned out in 6 games for the Giants at the back end of the season, holding down his spot on the bench for 5 weeks. Young rake Reiss Butterworth got promoted to Super League in 2020 after spending a few years in League 1 and Championship.

Looking Ahead

Interim coach Luke Robinson has been replaced by former Saflord coach Ian Watson. The Giants have been reasonably quiet on the transfers front, bringing in just 2 players - Jack Ashworth from Saints and Australian half Jack Cogger. Suaia Matagi will return to Castleford after spending a year on loan at the Giants. He will be joined at the Tigers by Jordan Turner. Reiss Butterworth will be moving to Dewsbury Rams, Adam Walne is off to Barrow and Akuila Uate has called time on his glittering career.

The club has shown at the end of 2020 that it has a reliable defensive unit, while the addition of Cogger to the halves alongside Sezer could see the Giants attack lift a gear in 2021.

2020 results

RoundDateOppositionResultScoreCoachCaptainVenue
SL R1Feb 1stCatalansW32 - 12WoolfordSezerGilbert Brutus
SL R3Feb 14thSalfordW12 - 10WoolfordSezerAJ Bell
SL R4Feb 21stHull KRW22 -  4WoolfordSezerKCOM Craven
SL R5Mar 1stWiganL10 - 42WoolfordSezerJohn Smith's
SL R6Mar 6thSt HelensW12 - 10WoolfordSezerTotally Wicked
CC 5RMar 11thTorontoL 0 - 18WoolfordSezerJohn Smith's
SL R2Aug 2ndLeedsL26 - 27WoolfordSezerEmerald Headingley
SL R9Aug 15thWarringtonL18 - 19WoolfordSezerTotally Wicked
SL R10Aug 30thHull FCL12 - 31WoolfordCudjoeHalliwell Jones
SL R11Sep 4thSt HelensL 6 - 54WoolfordCudjoeEmerald Headingley
SL R12Sep 11thLeedsL12 - 13WoolfordSezerTotally Wicked
SL R7Sep 17thWakefieldW29 -  6RobinsonSezerJohn Smith's
SL R13Sep 24thCastlefordW31 - 19RobinsonSezerHalliwell Jones
SL R14Sep 30thHull KRW32 - 22RobinsonSezerJohn Smith's
SL R15Oct 8thSalfordL16 - 24RobinsonSezerEmerald Headingley
SL R16Oct 13thHull FCL16 - 18RobinsonSezerHalliwell Jones
SL R17Oct 22ndWakefieldL14 - 18RobinsonSezerTotally Wicked
SL R18Oct 30thWarringtonL12 - 19RobinsonSezerTotally Wicked
SL R20Nov 6thWiganL 6 - 19RobinsonSezerEmerald Headingley