Huddersfield Giants development policy gets Super League thumbs-up

NATHAN BROWN is a proud Australian, but nothing fills him with greater pride than fielding a Giants 17 with as many Englishmen as possible.

NATHAN BROWN is a proud Australian, but nothing fills him with greater pride than fielding a Giants 17 with as many Englishmen as possible.

That doesn’t mean he’s unhappy including Antipodeans Jason Chan, David Fa’alogo, David Faiumu and Luke O’Donnell in his line-ups. Far from it.

It’s just the Galpharm chief gains so much satisfaction from seeing young, homegrown talent given their chance at Super League level and taking it with both hands.

And he’s happy taking young players with potential from other clubs, as well as those coming up through the Giants’ own ranks, such as Leroy Cudjoe, Michael Lawrence and Jermaine McGillvary.

Over the past few seasons, Brown has recruited Joe Wardle (Bradford), Larne Patrick (Bradford) and Greg Eden (Castleford) and helped them develop into players who are now making big names for themselves at Super League level, while Luke George, Dale Ferguson and Aaron Murphy (all from Wakefield) are enhancing their reputations.

However, it’s a policy that looks as if it’s about to be stolen by other clubs, with Hull publicly admitting the fact.

The Airlie Birds have obviously been on the receiving end of the Giants’ approach over recent weeks, with Brown’s boys having secured Super League and Challenge Cup success.

On both occasions, the Giants fielded the best of young British talent, which is something that’s made a massive impression on Hull FC Director of Rugby Shaun McRae.

“Huddersfield Giants are a tremendous model for the game,” said McRae.

“What they’ve been able to do is take young players, develop them and give them opportunities at different times.

“Those players have now played 40 or 60 games, so when Nathan Brown has to take an international player out, he can put someone in who is no longer a rookie. So it’s a great model to base your team on.

“It’s not as easy as it looks, though, especially financially.

“But I like the way Huddersfield do their business, and there are some things you can learn from them.”

Unfortunately, however, the Giants are starting to pay a fairly heavy price for their successful homegrown development policy.

It means many of their top stars are part of either the current England Elite Training Squad (Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree and Leroy Cudjoe) or England Knights set-up (Dale Ferguson, Larne Patrick, Jermaine McGillvary and Joe Wardle).

That in itself is a positive, although there are times when it can make weekly training planning a problem – as this week has proved.

All seven spent the start of the week in the England training camp, which is far from ideal, with the Giants having travelled out to Catalan Dragons on Thursday.

As a result, it meant Galpharm chief Brown spent a large chunk of the build-up to today’s top-of-the-table clash working with just half of the first-choice squad.

Not that the head coach would ever complain, of course.

In fact, he regards this time away as another vital part of his players’ development.

“You just can’t put a price on spending time away with the national set-up,” said Brown.

“It’s the chance for the players to learn off other top-quality coaches and train with the very best players this control has to offer.

“As a result, it can only help makes all of the blokes far better players, and that’s something we should all applaud.”

 
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