sport

Huddersfield Giants head coach Rick Stone looks for a positive end to 2017 campaign

Two changes made for visit of Leeds Rhinos in final game of season

Huddersfield Giants' Head Coach Rick Stone Betfred Super League XXII Super 8 Play Off Hull FC v Huddersfield 18/08/17 (Pic by John Rushworth)

Huddersfield Giants head coach Rick Stone has made two changes to his 19-man squad to face Leeds Rhinos in the final home game of the season at home on Friday.

From the squad that faced St Helens, and lost 40-16 in the penultimate round of the Super 8s last week, forwards Sebastine Ikahihifo and Nathan Mason come into the squad to replace the injured Oliver Roberts , who has a hamstring strain, and Dale Ferguson, who is still struggling with a shoulder problem.

Stone is looking for a strong end to the 2017 Super League campaign at the John Smith’s Stadium (8pm) and said: “We are looking for something positive out of the game.

“The past few weeks have not been great for us and last week we were pretty poor in our execution against Saints which disappointing , so we are looking to do a bit better.

“And it is very important to finish well in front of our own fans.

“They have been really important for us this season and very loyal this year both home and away and they have turned up and made a lot of noise and given us plenty of support.

“We didn’t give them a lot to cheer about early in the season, but hopefully we can give them something to cheer about by the time we have finished the competition.

Stone was hoping that, while nothing rides on the game with the Giants out of the frame for the top four and Leeds already booked in for a home semi-final, that the derby will still be a great contest.

“Every game is a game worth playing for, but each time we face Leeds everyone involved in it seems to want to give that little bit extra,” said Stone.

“The players seem to enjoy playing in it and they get up for the Leeds game and I think playing them at the John Smith’s in the last game means there will be a fair bit of a buzz about the place.

“Leeds supporters generally provide a lot of vocal support and bring numbers, so I expect a good atmosphere in the place and we are all looking forward to it.

“They are heading towards the semi-finals and so all our guys would like to put in a good performance against them before Leeds go into that stage of the competition.

“Leeds have had a good year, particularly when you think that last year they were down with us in the bottom four.

“The Rhinos have been pretty consistent most of the season, they have had a few defeats particularly against Castleford , but they have got a good set of forwards.

“They are a very skilful set of forwards who provide a lot of opportunities to strike with their offloads.

“Leeds also have a couple of good halves and creative players, the likes of Matt Parcell and Rob Burrow and they can bring in the dangerous players for them on the edges.

“Across the park they can hurt you and they have something of a unique style, they a bit more off the cuff than some other teams and that can really challenge you.

“Their sort of ad lib footy can pull you all over the place.”

Stone will take a break and head back to Australia at the end of the month, but it already looking forward to next season.

“We have been planning for next season for a while now and it is really an on-going process, but we are getting their,” said Stone.

“I will slip home for a while in October and then we will be back here for a pre-season start in November.”

Huddersfield Giants 19-man squad: Jermaine McGillvary, Lee Gaskell, Danny Brough, Sam Rapira, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Michael Lawrence, Kruise Leeming, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Ukuma Ta’ai, Paul Clough, Nathan Mason, Daniel Smith, Tyler Dickinson, Sam Wood, Darnell McIntosh, Alex Mellor, Adam O’Brien, Jordan Turner, Jordan Rankin

View full mobile page