DELIGHTED Giants chief Richard Thewlis believes it will be a proud day for his club when Eorl Crabtree steps into the Test arena for England against world champions New Zealand at the Galpharm Stadium tomorrow (6.00).
The 27-year-old Huddersfield prop has again been named on the bench for England’s ‘must-win’ Four Nations clash against the Kiwis after producing an outstanding display against Australia at Wigan six days ago.
It will be the first time for decades that a player on Huddersfield’s books has competed in a major international in the town when an England win would guarantee them a place in the Four Nations final at Elland Road a week later.
And managing director Thewlis is hoping the Giants fans turn out in force at their ‘home’ venue to get behind their man and celebrate such a major occasion in the club’s recent history.
“To see a real local hero lining up for his country in his hometown stadium is an absolute delight. It’s going to be a very proud day for our club,” said Thewlis.
“To be honest, I can’t recall any occasion where this has happened in the past in Huddersfield’s sporting history.
“EorlŠis already guaranteed a place in this town’s sportingŠ memories and I think he still has his best years and games to come.
“I sincerely hope tomorrow will be one of hisŠ greatest and that everyone connected with sport in this town comes along to cheer our man on.
“I heard the roar for Sam Tomkins last week at Wigan when his name was announced and it’s down to the people of this town to replicate that and make everyone know that Eorl holds a special place in our hearts and that we are all right behind him and his England teammates.
“He produced an excellent performance against the Australians last week, which we were all absolutely delighted about at the Giants, and we know he has the ability to make just as positive an impact against New Zealand this weekend.”
The strength of Crabtree’s performance against the Kangaroos made his selection against the Kiwis a mere formality.
But the former Huddersfield YMCA and Underbank junior was still highly delighted to have been given the nod by England coach and former Giants chief Tony Smith.
“I did think I had a solid game against Australia last week and offered the team something a little bit different,” said Crabtree.
“So I was hoping it would be enough for Tony to pick me again, although I was never going to take anything for granted.
“As a result, it was still a massive thrill when I was told I’d be playing in Huddersfield and I’m already really excited about tomorrow.
“Playing against Australia for the first time last weekend was an unbelievable experience, and I think this match against New Zealand at the stadium will run it pretty close.
“I’ve always wanted to play a Test at ‘home’ and that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
“Over the years I’ve played over 200 senior games, and half of those will have been at the Galpharm, so I’m obviously very comfortable about playing there.
“And I just hope playing in front of my home fans will help bring the very best out of me.”