GIANTS coach Nathan Brown today paid tribute to departing stars Brett Hodgson and Stephen Wild.
The experienced duo brought down the curtain on their Huddersfield careers in last Friday’s heartbreaking 42-22 Super League semi-final defeat at St Helens.
Inspirational skipper and reigning Man of Steel Hodgson marked the occasion with another man-of-the-match performance, while Wild produced a typically rock-solid all-round display.
Hodgson is now ready to move to Warrington Wolves and Wild is joining Salford City Reds.
And Brown knows the pair – Wild spent five seasons at the Galpharm and Hodgson two – will prove hard acts to follow.
“They have both been excellent players for the Giants and it’s sad to see them go,” said Brown.
“Brett is an outstanding player and yet again showed that with his performance at St Helens.
“Obviously, players come and go at clubs over the years all the time, but I’m sure he’ll be one Australian who will be remembered here in Huddersfield for a very, very long time.
“He has clearly played a key part in this club moving forward, as has Stephen Wild. He is a player who you know will never let you down.
“Wildy, in particular, came to the club in tougher times but has played a significant role in helping the Giants grow to where they are now.
“There’s no doubt at all that both players have played a significant part in helping to put Huddersfield back in the forefront of the rugby league world, which is a great legacy.”
Another player confirmed as leaving the Giants is second-rower Simon Finnigan who has rejoined Championship club Widnes Vikings after being released by Huddersfield one year early.
The 28-year-old, who represented Ireland in the 2008 World Cup, has signed a 12-month contract with the option of a one-year extension with the Vikings, where he made 73 appearances from 2003-05.
Unfortunately, he was restricted by major neck and shoulder surgery to just seven appearances for the Giants this season and has slipped down the back-row forward pecking order.
Although the season is now over for the Giants, several members of the senior squad will be hoping to feature for England in this autumn’s Four Nations tournament in Australia.
Kevin Brown, Eorl Crabtree, Leroy Cudjoe and Shaun Lunt were all involved in a 40-man England train-on squad two months ago and will be hoping to get the nod off national coach Steve McNamara as he prepares for the tour.
McNamara is announcing which players are in the frame once their particular club is no longer involved in the play-offs, which means the Giants now come into that bracket.
And that includes Cudjoe, who picked up an ankle injury in the Saints clash but is hopeful of making a relatively quick recovery.