STUART FIELDEN can’t wait to make his Huddersfield Giants debut!
The former Great Britain prop is set to start alongside Eorl Crabtree in a beefed-up front row in tomorrow’s Super League XVIII pre-season clash against Widnes Vikings at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Both men missed last Friday’s 26-0 defeat against a strong St Helens side at Langtree Park, with Fielden held back specifically for this weekend and Crabtree given an extra week to recover from post-season shoulder and elbow surgery.
Winger Jermaine McGillvary (ankle) and back-row forward Jacob Fairbank (shoulder reconstruction) well also play for the first time following major operations, while second-rower Brett Ferres returns after serving a one-match suspension picked up for a dangerous tackles in last season’s play-off defeat at Hull FC.
All five are eager to get back on a competitive field.
But a first appearance in the claret and gold for the vastly-experienced Fielden following his arrival from Wigan Warriors will be the major focus of attention.
And he’s determined to make the most positive of opening impressions.
“I’ve been counting down to this day for quite a while, and it’s great it’s almost here!” said the 33-year-old, who earned legendary status at Bradford Bulls, where he won every club honour in the game.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this pre-season, particularly as I’m working with such a great set of lads in a great atmosphere.
“It’s fair to say the training has been pretty intense. In fact, more intense than I expected.
“But I’m sure we’ll reap the rewards of this once the season gets under way.
“There’s no reason why that shouldn’t be reflected in our performance tomorrow, and I’m sure things will only get better after that.
“There really is a fantastic feel throughout the club, and I know I’m not the only one excited about this weekend.
“It should be a game to savour, and should prove we’re heading in the right direction.”