New regime adds weight to extra Giants' optimism
GIANTS coach Jon Sharp is confident bigger will be better for his side in Super League XII.
His first-team squad will jet off to Portugal for a week of pre-season training on Thursday and are weighing in heavier than ever before.
Sharp revealed at the club's annual sponsors' lunch - supported by Five Star Packaging - that the Giants had never boasted a heavier squad.
In previous years, the policy had been to mould a squad that was athletic and mobile - a fact reflected in the way his squad finished games so strongly.
But this pre-season, the aim has been to bulk-up to match the bigger top-flight sides in the competition pound-for-pound.
"Nobody could question the fitness of this squad," said Sharp.
"But it was apparent that we lacked the size and physical presence of the top sides in Super League.
"Last year, we had four players who weighed in at 110kg or more, while in comparison Bradford Bulls had 17 and St Helens had nine!
"And, overall, that made us one of the lightest sides in the competition.
"It was something we were keen to rectify, and much of this pre-season has been devoted to making that happen.
"As everyone knows, our players all had individual programmes to follow before they returned to pre-season training.
"During that time, many of the squad bulked up and have continued to do so in the training sessions under (coaches) Ben Cooper and Paul Anderson.
"For instance, our new prop Darrell Griffin now weighs in at over 18½ stones and has just 15% body fat, while fellow prop Paul Jackson and Kevin Brown have just put on around a stone-and-a-half.
"Hopefully, that physical presence will be reflected when the new season gets under way.
"And, right now, everyone is feeling extremely optimistic. There's a real family spirit within the squad and everything is going as well as we could have hoped."
Skills work will be the order of the day when the Giants jet off to the Algarve on Thursday.
The wet English conditions have made it hard for Huddersfield to put in some quality skills work.
But that should all change in Portugal.
"The weather out there has been good - and dry," reported Sharp.
"If it stays like that, we should be able to put in some quality work."