Tyler Dickinson is ready to step up to the mark for Huddersfield Giants.
In the week that former New Zealand international front rower Sam Rapira confirmed he is heading for France to play for Toulouse, the 21-year-old Halifax-born prop has been handed a new contract until the end of the 2019 season.
Dickinson is thrilled and keen to kick on, although he is not involved at Salford tomorrow (1.30).
“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but it finally feels like it’s paying off,” said Dickinson.
“To have an extra two years with the club and a bit of stability will give me the scope to work even harder to progress my career.
“My hopes are to continue and build on my nine appearances to date. I feel I’ve shown progression in those games and I think my last one against Hull was probably the best that I’ve played, so I need to sustain that level, look to better it and hold down a regular spot in the side over the next couple of years.”
He added: “Rick Stone has definitely been a big influence. He’s taken me under his wing and given me a few pointers with the little things to improve my game. It’s brought me on massively with a coach showing faith in me, and as a younger squad member, I think that’s the most important thing, for a coach to have confidence in you.”
“It is a big positive getting Tyler on board,” said Stone.
“He is a good young front rower and he has already played a few games at just 21.
“I think that he showed up really well in our recent game at Hull and he has plenty of potential.
“He’s showing every week how he’s understanding to be a professional.
“He’s been in the full-time squad for a number of years and at 21 he’s still a young man. He’s played some really good games for us and he’s gaining confidence and wanting more time. Nathan Mason and Daniel Smith are also fighting for those positions and it’s going to be really competitive.
“Physically, Tyler is progressing well and he knows now what it takes to be a first-team player. He’ll get there and be a regular at some stage, but patience is the key thing. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one back, but we need to put belief in Tyler that he is good enough.”
As Dickinson signs up former Kiwi international Rapira will join Championship club Toulouse as he leaves the Giants at the end his contract this season.
The 30-year-old prop is to sign for Championship outfit Toulouse, who are aiming to reach Super League in 2019 after narrowly missing out on the Qualifiers this season.
The former New Zealand Warriors forward is aiming to be part of that push and Stone said everyone at the Giants wished Rapira well in the next step of his career.
“Losing Sam is a bit disappointing, but we are always in a position where we have decisions to make,” explained Stone.
“We have got to do what we think will be best for the team in the long term.
“Sam has had a couple of good years, he hasn’t missed many games and he has been a real leader for the forwards.
“He has been particularly good to have around the place and he has been terrific in the way he has helped the youngsters.
“But there are tight situations when it comes to quotas and salary caps and we have got to make some decisions for the club and we wish him well.”
Former France international Jerome Guisset will bring his 12-year association with Catalans Dragons to an end when he leaves the club at the end of the season.
Guisset is one of the few remaining links with the Perpignan club’s entry into Super League, having joined them as a player from Wigan in time for their inaugural season in 2006. A second rower who also played for Canberra and Warrington as well as France, Guisset featured in the Dragons’ historic opening game, a 38-30 win over Wigan at Stade Aime Giral.
He then began his coaching career under Trent Robinson and also assisted former teammate Laurent Frayssinous and more recently boss Steve McNamara.
England forward James Graham has completed his switch of NRL clubs in a move that will see him end his career in Australia.
The former St Helens prop, who is 32 on Sunday, is moving from Canterbury Bulldogs to St George Illawarra on a three-year contract.