AFTER suffering bitterly-disappointing defeats, Huddersfield Giants took the decision to remove their head coach and put Paul Anderson in charge.
Unfortunately, Anderson’s first game at the helm wasn’t to produce a fairytale revival as Huddersfield suffered a Super League defeat at the hands of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Yes, everyone knows that’s exactly what’s happened over the past few weeks.
But how many remember this was also the case back in 2008?
After a demoralising 48-0 defeat at Catalan Dragons in late May, head coach Jon Sharp was axed and his assistant coach, Anderson, took over and had to prepare his side for a game against Wakefield, although four years ago that match took place at Belle Vue.
There were high hopes the change would immediately result in an upturn in fortunes.
That, however, wasn’t to be, as the Giants went down 28-26 to the Wildcats.
But after that, the outlook did start to get a little brighter.
The new coaching methods and philosophy of temporary coaching duo Anderson and Kieron Purtill began to pay off and the performances steadily began to improve.
In the final 11 games of the season, Anderson and Purtill helped the Giants secure six victories, culminating in a 38-20 final-day triumph at Warrington Wolves.
On the field, captain Chris Thorman was responsible for steadying the ship for the stand-in coaches and, during that time, underlined his obvious leadership qualities.
Unfortunately, for Purtill and Thorman there was no place for them in the Giants’ class of 2009 under new head coach Nathan Brown.
Yet the pair had shown in those tough times in the second half of the previous season that they had special talents and could, one day, return to serve the Giants with distinction yet again and help the club continue to be a respected Super League force.
The time has now come to put that theory to the test.
After just over three years as the assistant coach at St Helens, Purtill is back in West Yorkshire and helping out Anderson with immediate effect as his new No2.
Then, at the end of the season when York City Knights’ Co-operative Championship campaign is over, player-coach Thorman will hang up his boots and link up with his fellow coaches as an assistant for Super League XVIII, with current Galpharm staff coach Jamahl Lolesi expected to follow Brown to St Helens for 2013.
And, all being well, Thorman will arrive with the Giants having just finished the season on a high, with the woes of May, June and July already a distant memory.
That’s the hope, at least.
After the new Anderson regime opened with last week’s deflating home defeat to Wakefield, Huddersfield head to St Helens tomorrow night with Purtill now at his side.