Huddersfield Giants interim head coach Chris Thorman has hailed the impact Jermaine McGillvary can make in games as he returns to the squad to face Wakefield Trinity in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
The 29-year-old World Cup star hasn’t played since March, when he suffered an injury against Wigan Warriors.
But he is back in the squad alongside playmaker Danny Brough for the cup clash at John Smith’s stadium tonight.
Thorman said: “I think everyone is aware of what Jermaine brings to us offensively. He’s one of the best carriers in the game and it’s a really significant role that he has to play in our game plan. The aura that he brings around him that gives confidence to others is significant too. All in all, it’s great to have him back. I don’t want to heap the pressure on him too much, I just want him to be relaxed and do what he normally does. I think he’ll openly admit that he wasn’t himself when he came back from the World Cup, there was a slight hangover there, but he’s applied himself in his rehab and he’s been very thorough and professional. We’re all very excited to see Jermaine back.”
Thorman is also boosted by the return of Brough following a three match ban.
“He’s another significant contributor to what this group has achieved over quite a long time now. He is still the dominant half-back in this team and we still rely heavily on him. I think Oliver Russell did a great job last week, but the fact that it’s a Challenge Cup game we probably do need a few more experienced heads because we do see this as a competition where we aspire to do as well as we can and go as far as possible.
That’s no disrespect to Oliver Russell, I think he’s the Danny Brough of the future for this Club. I thought he was brilliant against Widnes and that was one of the best teenage debut’s I’ve seen for a half-back for a long time.
“Everyone knows what Broughy brings, he’s very passionate, he’s a great competitor with an outstanding kicking game and he’s really bought into what we’ve tried to do over the last couple of months. I’m excited to see how he’ll combine with the other people that will play in the halves and the outside-backs. He’s chomping at the bit, he’s trained really well over the past couple of weeks and is probably as fit as he’s been all year.”
Ahead of the game Thorman added: “Wakefield a team that throw a lot at you attacking-wise. They’re a team that have to be respected, you have to be honest defensively because they throw a lot of shape at you. Liam Finn’s kicking game is just about as good as anyone else’s in the competition, they also have a big pack that like to attack and offload, they’re big too. You go through David Fifita, Pauli Pauli, Keegan Hirst and Anthony England, we probably aren’t as big as them, that means it’s just as important for us to defend together and we’ve been focusing on that, defending together, not on your own. It’ll be a good test for us to see where we’re at.”
Newly appointed head coach Simon Woolford will not be at the game but is expected to join the club next week.
Thorman added: “I’m hoping to see him on Monday. I’ve been in constant communication over Skype and email with him, hopefully he’ll be at training on Monday. I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in charge at the Magic Weekend, but stranger things have happened.
“We’ve talked about game plans, reviewed training and the games. The good thing about modern technology is that he has access to everything that I have access to. He can download games, I send him all the training that I film through our drone, it’s not as good as having him sat next to me in the office, but it’s a good start. It will be good to have him sat next to me because there’s only so much that you can say over Skype and over email.”