NEW Giants head conditioner Mark Andrews is confident the Giants will start the new Super League season fitter than ever before.
Huddersfield open their 2009 campaign with a tough trip to Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
Whether Huddersfield open their season with a victory is impossible to predict.
But thanks to the efforts of Andrews – who is widely known as Bumper – it would be a massive shock if the Giants didn’t last the pace against their French hosts in Perpignan.
In the matches against Castleford and Wigan, new head coach Nathan Brown’s men appeared leaner, faster and stronger, and Australian Andrews believes that will stand his players in good stead.
“From day one, it was obvious the core fitness of the players was good,” said the 30-year-old former Wests Tigers reserve grade hooker.
“In the likes of Crabtree, Griffin, Jackson, Mason and Raleigh we’ve definitely the players with the size and strength. They’re all very powerful men.
“But what I had to change a little were the philosophies on the conditioning front.
“What we’ve done is made their training more sports-specific. I wanted to make every player in this squad a better and fitter footballer.
“That involved a lot of hard work from everyone and, fortunately, I couldn’t have asked for a better response. In fact, I would have to say I’ve never worked with a group of players whose attitude and willingness to put in the effort has been better.
“Generally, you find about 90% are prepared to put in the work, but at the Giants that figure is 100%. It’s fantastic!
“Every day everyone turns up, does everything required of them and appears to love doing it.
“I’m already confident in Nathan as a coach – if not I wouldn’t be here – and I’m now 100% confident in the boys and their attitude.
“I’m also now completely confident we’ll have a successful year. But the acid test obviously comes at Catalans this weekend.”
Wigan full-back Richard Mathers has been handed a two-match ban after being found guilty of tripping an opponent. The former Leeds player was sin-binned for the offence on winger Dave Halley during the Warriors’ shock 12-6 home defeat by Wakefield on Sunday and was cited by the Rugby Football League’s match review panel.
The RFL’s disciplinary committee fined him £300 and suspended him for Wigan’s next two matches, against Hull on Friday and Castleford a week later.