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Paul Anderson is out as head coach of Huddersfield Giants. His assistant Kieron Purtill, who is taking up the top job at Leigh next season, has also left with immediate effect.

Andy Kelly, the Giants head of youth, takes over in the interim – just 24 hours before the club play Salford Red Devils – as the club start the search for a new head coach.

Chairman Ken Davy explained the pair had been stood down with immediate effect.

“It is with great sadness that we make this change involving two individuals who have previously taken the club to its greatest achievements since the Team of All Talents,” said the chairman.

“Unfortunately the simple fact is that the results this year have not been satisfactory and the Giants are not performing to the level that anyone associated with the club expects.

“We are not a hiring and firing club by nature, and we have done everything possible behind the scenes to support the team and the staff in their quest for success. “The search for a new Head Coach begins now."

Five things that sealed Anderson's fate

The pre-season turmoil

The shabby Brett Ferres saga put the Giants on the back foot before the Super League XXI campaign had got under way. The last thing a squad needs is major pre-season disruption, so when the England international was caught sleeping with a teammate’s wife and was subsequently sacked by the squad, the Giants were already greatly distracted before a pass had been thrown in anger.


The size of the Giants squad

There’s no doubt top Australian NRL players Ryan Hinchcliffe and Sam Rapira are top 2016 signings and would enhance any Super League squad. But with the number of players who had left at the end of last season, they were never going to be able to make the difference. Losing the likes of the highly-underrated Jack Hughes, Craig Kopczak, Jodie Broughton, Chris Bailey, Anthony Mullally, and then Ferres, was always going to leave a sizeable hole that was never filled. And it got even worse when Luke Robinson was forced to retire with a long-standing hip injury just as the season started. With injuries to a number of senior players on top of that, the Giants were up against it from round one.


The fitness of the Giants?

In so many of the games this season, Huddersfield have faded towards the back end. As a result, many have questioned the fitness of the Giants. Yes, the Giants might have run out of steam in a number of fixtures this year, but when they’re having to make up to 100 tackles a game more than their opponents because of the amount of errors they’re making, is it any great surprise?


No plan B?

This season, when the Giants have fallen behind, they’ve found it virtually impossible to find a way back. It’s as if they’re stuck in a hole and just can’t fathom a away of getting out if it. This could be down to the fact that Huddersfield haven’t been able to call on a back-up plan, although that could, of course, be down to a lack of senior players out on the field due to this season’s tale of injury woe, or a lack of confidence when things start to go wrong.


Have the Giants become too nice?

One of the strengths of Paul Anderson’s Giants has been their physical presence, which is probably what you’d expect from a side led by a former Great Britain prop forward. They just haven’t packed a genuine punch this season, although the fact top props Craig Huby (hand and now shoulder) and Daniel Smith (foot) have hardly been seen this season because of their injuries hasn’t helped this particular cause. As a result, the Giants seem to lack a bit of real nastiest down the middle, resulting in the club’s dangerous backline having to rely far too much on scraps.

Unhappy fan

Chris Roberts verdict on Anderson and Giants

IT’S a sorry end for someone who has done so much for Huddersfield Giants for a decade.

His first year as head coach couldn’t have gone any better.

Jon Sharp and Nathan Brown – and initially Tony Smith during the pre-Anderson era – had earned their stripes helping to establish the Giants as a respected Super League force.

But it was Anderson who applied the finishing touch, guiding Huddersfield to their first top-of-the-table finish for 81 years as the men in claret and gold lifted the 2013 Super League Leaders Shield.

Unfortunately, having helped the Giants secure major silverware in his first season in charge meant the pressure had immediately increased on Anderson to achieve even more in the seasons ahead – even if there was a general feeling within the game that the men from the John Smith’s Stadium were the game’s biggest over-achievers, given the resources at their disposal when compared with those of their major top-flight rivals.

Even though Anderson had helped to take the club ‘to the next level’, the dream of lifting the Super League Trophy at the Old Trafford Grand Final or Challenge Cup at Wembley has remained unfulfilled.

It looked as if the Giants were, however, getting a little closer to achieving Super League’s holy grail last season when they finished third at the end of the Super 8s.

They were looking in good shape heading into their semi-final clash at Wigan, but the Giants’ reputation as the big-game bottlers once again reared its ugly head as they were well beaten 32-8 at Wigan Warriors.

That was to prove to be the start of Anderson’s slippery slope.

From then on, everything seemed to go wrong as Anderson – and the Giants – suffered their ‘annus horribilis’, which unfortunately reached its tragic conclusion with the death of 17-year-old Academy star Ronan Costello following an injury suffered during the Under 19s fixture against Salford last Saturday.

Everything obviously started to go wrong in pre-season when England international Brett Ferres was sacked by the club for off-field disciplinary reasons, and what many felt was a thin Giants 2016 squad was immediately shorn of one of its main assets – through no fault of Anderson or anyone else at the club.

That unsavoury episode shook the club to the core. That in itself made the start of the season tough, but with a whole host of early-season injuries to senior players the Giants were on the back foot from the start.

Just one win was achieved in the opening 10 rounds, although it did appear as if things were starting to turn when four victories were achieved in the space of six weeks in April and May – three in the League and one in the Cup – to bring some hope that a place in the Super 8s could be secured, even if the Giants were still second bottom of the table.

But everything started to unravel in the second half at Widnes a week later. After leading 16-0 just before half-time, the Giants fell apart to lose 24-20, were well beaten at home by Castleford Tigers five days later, and then suffered that 19-2 home loss to Wakefield on Sunday.

The final hooter was greeted by a chorus of boos as the Giants’ last hope of avoiding a place in the Middle 8s and the scrap to avoid relegation from Super League was virtually confirmed. That reaction from the fans was possibly the final straw.

Football madness creeping in

Do us a favour

A week ahead of their meeting in the Challenge Cup, Andy Kelly and Huddersfield will be hoping Wakefield Trinity can do them a favour tomorrow.

While the Giants are in action at Salford Red Devils, Wakefield play host to Leeds Rhinos, who are bottom of the Super League table on points difference.

Huddersfield can draw level on 10 points with Salford if they win, while a Wakefield win would keep Leeds bottom of the pile

Surprise surprise

Support for Anderson

Chris Roberts and Neil Atkinson debate Giants sacking

Tough times for fans and club

Home where the heart is

For the record, there are two Australian coaches and one French in Super League - the other eight are English

Blow for British coaching: claim

All the best

Australia a possible route

It wouldn’t be a first for the Giants if they were to appoint from the NRL in Australia.

But what about a return of one of their own?

Former England coach Steve McNamara is currently assistant to Trent Robinson at Sydney Roosters.

Popular opinion seems to be that McNamara would be open to an approach from Super League

Hitting nail on the head

Who might take over?

Fans will be casting around for coaching suggestions to take over at Huddersfield Giants.

Of those gaining a reputation in the Championship, Glenn Morrison at Dewsbury Rams may be fancied by a few of the Claret and Gold faithful.

Likewise Richard Marshall at Halifax, a former Giants players, could get the nod from sections of support.

Mark Aston at Sheffield may also have his name thrown into the hat.

Or are their any assistants in Super League who could catch the eye?

Also, Ivan Cleary, the former Penrith Panthers and New Zealand Warriors coach, is currently in the market for a job.

Be proud

Candidates for Giants job?

Kelly a busy man!

Giants youth development staff Andy Kelly (left) with player performance manager Steve Hardisty
Giants youth development staff Andy Kelly (left) with player performance manager Steve Hardisty

Andy Kelly is going to be a very busy man.

Huddersfield Giants’ Head of Youth has stepped up to take charge of the Super League team in the wake of the club’s decision to part company with Head Coach Paul Anderson and Assistant Kieron Purtill.

He will be in charge tomorrow, when the Giants visit Salford Red Devils in Super League bidding for only a fifth victory of the season, and then he will prepare the squad for next Thursday’s massive Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The following Thursday, the Giants are at home to Hull FC and, on Friday, July 8, they play Hull KR away.

But the following day, Kelly is due to fly out to Australia with the England Academy Squad because he is their head coach!

Intriguing times for the 55-year-old, who is highly experienced as a coach, especially as the club have put no timescale on their search for a new team chief.

Kelly was the man who took home-city club Wakefield Trinity into Super League in 1998, thanks to a play-off final victory over Featherstone Rovers at the John Smith’s Stadium.

After getting Trinity into the top flight, Kelly assembled a capable squad on a tight budget and in limited time (promotion wasn’t confirmed until the November).

It was the start of an unbroken spell at the top table for the club.

Inevitably, changes at the top at Trinity meant Kelly departed and he later coached Gateshead Thunder, Featherstone Rovers, Dewsbury Rams and the Ireland national team, before shifting attention to academy rugby.

An England international as a player, he is one of three brothers who have played for Wakefield alongside Neil and Richard.

Decision dividing opinion

What do you think?

Thanks for the memories

Kieron Purtill speaks out

Kieron Purtill
Kieron Purtill

Cup prompts decision?

Almost 10 years at the Giants

Anderson joined the Giants as assistant coach in 2007 and, after Nathan Brown departed, became head coach in July 2-12.

Former Bradford Bulls and St Helens star player Anderson led the Giants to the League Leaders Shield in 2013 – their first for 80 years – and guided the club to top-four finishes in each of the last two seasons.

This term, however, the club have won just four Super League matches, although they have reached the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup, when they face Wakefield next week.

Statement from Chairman Ken Davy

“We are fortunate to have a man so highly respected in all areas of the game as Andy Kelly to take the first team forward in the very immediate future.

The boardroom chief added: “It is usual in statements such as these to end with the club will be making no further comment, but I believe that Paul in particular deserves more than that.

“He has been at the Giants for nearly ten years now with almost four as Head Coach and has been at the heart of our rise to the top end of the table, and I know he has been as disappointed as anyone regarding our performances – and has strived night and day to improve our results.

“Paul is an excellent coach and I have no doubt that he will soon be back in the game, and both he and Kieron are immensely respected for the work they have done at the club.“This is another sad day for all concerned with the Giants in what has been a dark and difficult period for the club.

“But it is also the day we draw the line in the sand and move forward, with the united aim of turning losses into wins and putting smiles back on the players, staff and supporters faces.”