HUDDERSFIELD Giants are to promote top Academy prospect Ben Feehan into their Super League squad as planning for next season gets under way.
Friday's 25-12 defeat by Warrington Wolves ended the McAlpine club's dream of a play-off spot.
Although the Giants aim to end the campaign on a winning note at London Broncos on Sunday - head coach Tony Smith has reported a clean bill of health after the bruising clash with Warrington - attention is already turning to the 2004 campaign.
The Giants expect to reveal at least two new signings in the next few weeks, while progress is also being made on assembling new coach Jon Sharp's back-up team.
The Giants announced the signing of highly-rated Rochdale back row Paul Smith last month, with many predicting the 26-year-old will make an immediate impact in Super League.
And in Huddersfield-born Feehan, the Giants believe they have a future star in the centres.
"The way Ben has been developing under Lee St Hilaire over the past year has been sensational," said chief executive Ralph Rimmer.
"That was emphasised when he scored four tries to help the Junior Academy reach the First Division Grand Final a week ago.
"Opponents Widnes were on their own patch and are a very strong side, but they had no answer to him, such is the way he is coming on.
"This season he has represented Yorkshire at Academy level and was in the Super League Under 21s squad, even though he has only just turned 18.
"What has made such a big difference is his switch from second row to centre.
"What's also pleased me is that next season we will have six Huddersfield-born players in our squad.
"Ben will join Darren Fleary, Marcus St Hilaire, Paul Reilly, Darren Turner and Eorl Crabtree, and I'm a big believer in clubs bringing through their own."
Feehan will be expected to play a leading role in the Academy Grand Final clash on Saturday, September 27, although the opponents and the venue are still unknown.
And he will also be in action when the Junior Academy entertain top Australian club Penrith Panthers' Under 18 team in the Healey-Ward Challenge at the McAlpine on Tuesday, November 18 (7.30).
* Huddersfield Sharks secured a 20-18 home win over previously unbeaten National Conference League Second Division leaders Rochdale Mayfield on Saturday to go eighth.