GIANTS coach Nathan Brown admits he’ll be disappointed not to see any of his players in action for England Knights against France at Leigh Sports Village today (3.00).
But the Galpharm Stadium chief knows it’s for the best.
Dale Ferguson (shoulder), Michael Lawrence (wrist), Jermaine McGilvary (ankle) and Larne Patrick (shoulder) were all forced to withdraw from the squad at the end of the season, while Shaun Lunt has missed out as he continues to recover from groin surgery.
Brown knows the experience of going into the Knights camp – where Giants No2 Paul Anderson is assistant coach to Keiron Purtill – would have done his players a power of good.
But for their long-term development, Brown knows the break is by far the better option.
“I feel sorry they’ve all had to pull out,” said Brown.
“As you can imagine, they were all desperate to play for their country.
“However, the No1 thing is the players’ health and they’re all busted, it really is as simple as that.
“What they all need now more than anything else is to get themselves fit, have a good pre-season and advance their game.
“They are all younger players who have a lot of improvement in them, and the best way of helping them improve is to have full pre-seasons, not ones interrupted through injury.
“If they’d gone into the Knights squad, they’d have missed a vital part of their training with us and their development would have suffered, so the decision for them to withdraw was a pretty easy one in the end.
“They’ve all got age on their side, so we know their time will come.”
With so many players having pulled out of the Knights’ squad, there was speculation Giants rising star Joe Wardle could have been called up.
The 19-year-old centre, who last season played for Scotland in the Four Nations qualifiers, has proved an instant hit following his move from Bradford Bulls.
In his debut Giants season Wardle scored six tries from 15 senior appearances.
But having been suffering towards the end of the campaign with a hamstring problem, Brown believes he’s another youngster who’d benefit from taking a well-earned rest.
“Joe hardly played in the last couple of months because of injury, and we want to make sure he’s 100% right for next season,” added Brown.