platform to work from for Super League XXII.
“The work that Seb and Ukuma did was very important,” said Stone.
“They both carried the footy really well and they set things up for us from the first and second plays of most of our sets.
“By doing that they gave everyone else a little more space to do their work in.
“The pair of them were great and I played them both for an extended time at Widnes.
“They both were out there longer than they usually might be, but they were on such a roll that I just wanted them to stay out there and give it a go.”
Stone will be looking for more of the same from 30-year-old Tongan international Ta’ai and 26-year-old New Zealander Ikahihifo as the Giants take on Salford Red Devils at home on Thursday night (8pm).
And Stone was particularly pleased with the progress made by former New Zealand Warriors player Ikahihifo.
“Seb has really been working hard in the build-up to the season,” explained Stone.
“He was our best player against Bradford Bulls and did pretty well at Warrington in the pre-season games, and he was probably our best player again on Friday night against Widnes.”
Stone was also happy that his newcomers had settled quickly into the side.
“I thought the new guys did well and there were pretty good
performances from all of them,” added Stone. “We had Alex Mellor, Paul Clough, Lee Gaskell and Dale Ferguson who all contributed well.
“They all had little cameos that made a difference at certain times in the game.
“But with those players we have gained quite a bit of experience and they bring a lot of knowledge to the team.”
Opponents Salford were beaten 26-16 at reigning champions Wigan Warriors, but Stone was not reading too much into that result.
“I had a look at the game and Wigan were clinical, and the half-time score perhaps didn’t reflect the real difference between the two teams,” observed Stone.
“Wigan’s execution was excellent and they took the chances that came their way.
“Salford were perhaps a little rusty , but they came back and Wigan and they are a dangerous side.
“And, like all the other teams beaten in round one, they will be desperate to get that first win of the season on the board.”
Stone is looking for the Giants to continue their winning ways and also give the home fans something to shout about in the first of a run of three home Super League games – with Wakefield Trinity and Hull FC to come in quick
“While you can’t win the
competition in the first six games, you can put yourself in a good position,” ” added Stone.
“Making a good start to the
season is really important in terms of having some momentum and continuity for the rest of the
“And let’s hope we can put on a good performance in front of our own fans.
“It is a short turnaround, and we have a few bumps and bruises, but we are looking forward to getting back to playing in front of our fans.”