EORL CRABTREE has thoroughly enjoyed his nine years playing for the Giants.
But he can’t remember a time when he has felt any happier.
Although the 26-year-old England prop suffered a torn hamstring after just two minutes in the opening game at Catalans Dragons and missed the next four Super League games, Crabtree has returned to a winning side.
He was at the heart of the victories over Harlequins and Wigan, and admits he would be delighted to help his hometown club secure Challenge Cup success at Quins this afternoon.
And given the start the Giants have made to the season and the feelgood factor that exists throughout the club, Crabtree sees no reason why Huddersfield’s season can’t get even better.
“This really is a very special place to be right now,” said Crabtree.
“I’ve always loved playing for the club, but I’ve never known it quite as good as this. Everything about being here is fantastic.
“Obviously, the fact we’ve won five of our opening seven games is an important factor in that, because there’s no better feeling than winning.
“But, on top of that, the team spirit is absolutely fantastic – we all thoroughly enjoy each other’s company – and we’re learning so much under (head coach) Nathan Brown and have improved our fitness significantly under Bumper (conditioner Mark Andrews).
“We know we can’t afford to get too carried away at the moment, because we’re well aware there are still areas of our game that need to improve considerably.
“But, right now, we’re absolutely loving it, and it’s important we make the most of it. With the way things are going I can’t see why we can’t continue to build positively on the start we’ve made.”
As well as enjoying his rugby, Crabtree is also enjoying the extra attention the Giants have been receiving from the public.
This season, his club recorded back-to-back five-figure home crowds for the first time in their Super League history.
And when Crabtree walks around the streets of Huddersfield, he’s at times overwhelmed by the response.
“I’m now being stopped for photographs and autographs all the time, which is something that didn’t used to happen very often,” he added.
“Personally, I love it, because it shows just how much this club is developing and how its profile is growing.
“And that’s also obvious with the crowds we’re now attracting.
“We got well over 10,000 for our first home game against St Helens and then over 10,000 again for the next game at the Galpharm against Hull.
“We might have got only 6,500 in our next home game against Harlequins, but that’s not bad compared with what it used to attract.
“When I first played in Super League against the Quins we would be pleased to have got 3,000 against them.
“That shows how things have changed, and everything suggests we’ll have a big following down at London.
“I thought the fans were fantastic at Wigan last Friday, and I’m sure if they get behind us like they did at the JJB we’ll get another win in the Cup.”