FORMER boss Nathan Brown is hoping the Giants fans read nothing into their side’s 26-0 pre-season Super League XVIII defeat at St Helens.
Huddersfield conceded five tries and showed few signs of being able to break down a resilient Saints defence at Langtree Park on Friday night.
But new St Helens chief Brown is still tipping the Giants to have a fruitful season, knowing Huddersfield will be far stronger when they return for the Super League XVIII opener onSaturday, February 2.
“I’d take that scoreline in three weeks time!” said Brown, who fielded a stronger side than the visitors on the night.
“That’s because I know the Giants are going to be there or thereabouts this season.
“We all know it’ll be much, much different when the League game comes around next month. It won’t be like Friday night.
“I’m certainly not going to read too much into the trial match. There’s no way we’re going to get carried away with what happened, just like the Giants won’t be losing too much sleep about the way the game panned out for them.
“I don’t think the Giants fans should take any notice of this particular result. It will count for absolutely nothing this season.”
Brown was basing much of that assessment on the respective sides on show.
He was lacking just three first-choice players in Josh Perry, Tony Puletua and Gary Wheeler, while Huddersfield chief Paul Anderson was lacking senior men Eorl Crabtree, Jacob Fairbank, Brett Ferres, Stuart Fielden, Jermaine McGillvary, Luke O’Donnell and Ukuma Ta’ai.
On top of that, Anderson gave many of his big-name players who did take part limited game-time, making sure many of the youngsters in the squad gained valuable experience at a higher level.
And this was something Brown was keen to point out.
“To keep a team to ‘nil’ is always pleasing, but I’m the first to acknowledge that was far from telling the full story,” he added.
“I’m well aware the Giants had four international forwards not playing.
“And they had several other players I rate very highly not on their teamsheet.
“When they’re all back they’ll be a totally different proposition. In fact, in the opening quarter the other night, they were still a real handful, and we needed to defend very well to keep them out. So we know how much stronger they’ll be when it really matters.
“With the size and strength they’re going to have, it’s clear a big part of their game will be based on power. Trying to contain them will be no easy task for anyone.
“There’s no doubt they’ll be a very hard team to beat, there’s no doubt about it.
“I know Baloo (Anderson) is the right man for the job, and in the time he’s taken over from me he’s gone the right way about making sure the Giants remain one of the competition’s most respected teams.
“It’ll certainly be interesting to see how they go if they manage to keep all their main players healthy.
“If that happens, then I know they have the squad to have a very big year. I’d obviously be delighted if they did that.”
Brown also admitted he found it strange coaching against a former club for the first time in his career, having played and coached only for St George Dragons in the Australian NRL before joining the Giants four years ago.
“It did seem a bit weird, I have to admit. It’s the first time in over 20 years in the professional game I’ve ever experienced anything like this,” he continued.
“But I enjoyed it. It was really good catching up with everyone again, and it made me appreciate once again what a top club it is.”