GIANTS coach Jon Sharp is predicting a massive battle among his players for the right to earn a front-row starting spot in Super League X.
The recent signing of former Wakefield and Castleford prop Paul Jackson has increased the competition for pack places.
Jackson is expected to be one of four forwards vying to start in the front row, with Eorl Crabtree, Jim Gannon and Mick Slicker his rivals.
But with second-rower Ben Roarty also geared up to push up into the front row if required, Sharp admits the pressure will immediately be on his players to make a starting spot their own.
"Picking my starting props next season isn't going to be easy," said Sharp.
"The signing of Paul Jackson is highly significant because it has increased competition for places among the front rowers. And that's been reflected in the way they have all knuckled down to pre-season training.
"They are all well aware that they can't take a starting spot for granted and are working extra hard in the hope of giving themselves an advantage over their teammates.
"At the moment, it's proving too close to call, so there is everything to play for."
Crabtree and Slicker both missed the run-in to Super League IX, with an infected shin and broken thumb respectively, but are now fit.
"We all know Eorl is going well after he made such a positive impact with England in the European Nations Cup," added Sharp.
"Mick decided not to play for Ireland in the European Cup to make sure he fully recovers from his injury, and that's reflected in the way he has trained.
"That's also the case with Jim. He's returned to us after his break and has obviously been working very hard.
"Now we've got Paul as well, who has fitted in superbly and made his intentions clear."