HUDDERSFIELD Giants chief Paul Anderson will be looking for his pack to play with more controlled aggression in Super League XVIII.
With the departure of no-nonsense prop Keith Mason, Huddersfield have lost a major midfield enforcer.
But with the 30-year-old beginning to fall down the pecking order last season and then Anderson recruiting fellow big pack men Craig Kopczak, Stuart Fielden, Anthony Mullally and Ukuma Ta’ai for 2013, Mason’s days at the Giants became numbered.
Although Anderson and the Giants are not publicly commenting on the reasons for Mason’s move away – a club statement has said: “Huddersfield Giants can confirm that Keith Mason left the club on October 4. The matter is in the hands of solicitors and, therefore, the club will not be making any further comment at this time.” – the fact the former St Helens man was giving away so many penalties at the end of the season must have been a cause for concern.
And Anderson has admitted having a bigger physical presence and being far more disciplined at the same time is vital for the Class of 2013.
“The lack of penalties we were conceding did become a concern,” reflected Anderson. “While the way we were physically dominated by Hull in our play-off defeat was also something that wasn’t good to see.
“We obviously needed to do something about it, and that’s why we’ve recruited who we have.
“We’re still waiting for Ukuma Ta’ai to arrive, and we know what a major physical presence he’ll give us, but all of our other new signings are here and have been making a very sizeable impact at training. That’s just what we needed.”
As well as the new signings, the Giants pack next season will include the likes of Eorl Crabtree, Luke O’Donnell, Larne Patrick, Brett Ferres, Dale Ferguson and newly-transformed back-rower Michael Lawrence, who have a wealth of top-flight experience between them.
Mason was a member of Huddersfield’s 2009 Wembley Challenge Cup final team and has made over 150 first-team appearances.
He has been linked with a return to one of his former clubs Wakefield, while Castleford are also believed to be expressing a keen interest.
“I have really enjoyed my time at the Giants and want to thank all the fans, who have been brilliant,” said Mason.
“The people in Huddersfield have been great, but now I have a new chapter in my life and I hope my Super League future can be sorted out very shortly”.