Huddersfield Giants chief Rick Stone admits he has some tough selection choices ahead of Sunday’s Middle 8s derby date at Batley Bulldogs.
The Australian head coach confirmed earlier this week that back-row forward Tom Symonds is ready to return after missing the last three games with a calf injury.
And he has also revealed full-back Scott Grix is back in the frame after recovering from a nasty knock to the back during the opening exchanges of Huddersfield’s 34-12 defeat at Salford Red Devils 12 days ago.
With all 17 who featured in Sunday’s 62-16 home thrashing of Featherstone Rovers having emerged unscathed, Stone is fully aware he has some challenging selection questions to answer.
Rick Stone talks about the Batley clash:
But he also knows this competition for places doesn’t do his club any harm whatsoever.
“It’s definitely looking a lot healthier for spots now,” he said.
“Barring a major disaster, Tommy Symonds should be back, while Scott Grix has been able to train after that nasty knock to the back at Salford. They are potentially two new good options for us.
“The Tommy one is certainly an interesting one, because the players who have been playing in his position have done well in his absence. There’s absolutely no doubt about that.
“Obviously, if he does return this week it’ll help strengthen our bench in some capacity, and a strong bench is always a positive sign in terms of a squad’s depth.
“We have to make sure we capitalise on this.”
As well as the potential return of Symonds and Grix, Stone was also boosted by last week’s first involvement under his command of centre Joe Wardle following a knee injury.
And the John Smith’s Stadium boss knows that bodes well for the games that remain in 2016.
“Joe was happy with the way things went,” added Stone.
“He didn’t have a heap of work to do against Featherstone, but when he did he showed a bit of class, and there’s no question he’s going to be better for another game this weekend.
“Although Batley were beaten heavily last week, we fully expect them to be a lot tougher this weekend and provide us with a very good challenge.
“We’ll all benefit from that.”