VASTLY-EXPERIENCED Stephen Wild believes the depth of the Giants squad could hold the key to their success in Super League XV.
The 28-year-old marked his first appearance of the season by playing a leading role in last weekend’s excellent 26-20 top-flight triumph over champions Leeds Rhinos at the Galpharm Stadium.
Wild missed the start of 2010 after undergoing knee surgery at the end of last season and the original plan had been for the 28-year-old former Great Britain back-rower to return in this weekend’s clash at Harlequins.
That date was brought forward a week because of the injuries to full-back Brett Hodgson (ankle) and centre Paul Whatuira (hamstring).
Hodgson is back for tonight’s capital clash, while Whatuira is known to be recovering well after picking up his slight injury during the 52-0 win at Wakefield two weeks ago.
The New Zealand international could possibly have played this weekend, but such is the strength of the current squad that the coaching staff have decided against taking the risk, even though fellow centre Michael Lawrence is now sidelined for a month with an ankle injury.
And Wild believes this is a sign of the strength-in-depth of the Giants class of 2010.
“I’ve been back training with the first team for a number of weeks now, so I felt ready to play against Leeds and I’d like to think that showed in my performance,” said Wild.
“I wasn’t originally going to play in this game, even though my knee was okay. Because of the depth of our squad, there seemed no real need to bring me back at the earliest opportunity.
“But I think the fact I did come back last week showed how healthy things are in the squad.
“I had little major trouble settling straight back in, and that has to be down to the rehab work I’ve had, and the policy of not having to rush players back too quick.
“It’s the same for Danny Kirmond, Brad Drew and Simon Finnigan, who also spent the early part of the year in rehab.
“Danny’s also been back training with the first time for a few weeks now, and could already play at a push, while we’re hoping Drewy won’t be too far behind.
“I’m sure the coaching staff have had one eye on what we’ve got in front of us just a couple of weeks down the line.
“When we play Saints next Sunday that’ll be the start of a period when we’ll be playing four games in the space of 11 days, because of the Easter programme.
“That’s when the strength of our squad will be tested to the full, but with the players we’ve got waiting in the wings I think it could work decisively in our favour.”
Although primarily a loose forward, Wild made his comeback against Leeds playing in the centre, and he was more than happy about that.
“When you’ve got such a strong squad, you’re just happy to be getting a game, whatever the position,” he added.
“I’ve been impressed with the way Lee Gilmour, David Fa’alogo and Martin Aspinwall have been playing in the back row, so I was more than happy to be named in the centre.”