HUDDERSFIELD Giants’ recruitment plans for next season haven’t been affected – despite the recent coaching uncertainty.
Nathan Brown announced in May he would be quitting Huddersfield at the end of the season and wouldn’t be seeing out the final year of his three-year contract.
But the Australian last weekend performed a U-turn and announced he would be remaining in charge at the Galpharm in 2011 after all.
That decision obviously ended a period of uncertainty at the Giants over who would be taking over, with current No2 Paul Anderson immediately installed as the favourite.
But Brown has revealed it’s been business as usual behind the scenes in terms of the planning for next season, with Australians Luke O’Donnell and Luke Patten having been strongly linked with moves to West Yorkshire.
Former Australian Test back-rower O’Donnell would appear the favourite to take the Giants’ one available quota spot, although the fact full-back Patten has this week snubbed an offer to join Salford amid reports he is now willing to come to Huddersfield because Brown is staying may have clouded the issue.
But the Galpharm chief is happy to report his change in circumstances has altered nothing.
“Even when I thought I’d be leaving I was still helping Baloo (Anderson) and (managing director) Richard Thewlis with the plans for next season,” said Brown.
“I was still using my contacts back in Australia to see who might be available to take up the one quota spot we’ve still got available.
“So I was carrying on giving the club advice as to which players would be good for the Giants. The only difference at the time was that, with the prospect of me leaving, I wouldn’t have the final say on who would be coming.
“That’s obviously changed now, but the planning hasn’t.”
As well as the speculation over potential new arrivals, there’s also continuing speculation as to which players may be leaving.
It has, of course, already been confirmed that captain Brett Hodgson will be joining Warrington next season, while back-rower Stephen Wild continues to be linked with a possible switch to Salford.
The Giants, meanwhile, are celebrating a winning start to the historic Under 16s Scholarship tour to Australia.
The English opened with a highly impressive 46-6 victory over a District Coast Select side.
Stars of the show were Nathan Mason, Josh Johnson and Elliott Gorman, who proved far too hot for the outclassed Australians to handle.
Mason, Matty Brook and Aaron Webb finished with two tries each, while there was one apiece for Gorman and Jonathan Foulds, with Liam Coe landing seven goals from eight attempts.
That victory will be put the tourists in excellent heart for what are expected to be tougher tests ahead against junior sides from top Australian NRL sides Balmain Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles.
Back in England, two of the Giants’ ‘junior’ sides are in action this weekend.
The Under 20s are the first to take to the field tonight when they face Leeds Rhinos at Headingley in the Valvoline Cup.
The fixture is a curtain-raiser to the Super League clash and gets under way at 5.45.
The Giants will be looking for an eighth victory of the campaign against a Leeds side who are struggling at third from bottom in the table.
And the club’s Academy side are in action at Hull tomorrow (12.30).