PAUL ANDERSON will send a 24-man squad to St Helens for tomorrow’s opening pre-season clash at Super League rivals St Helens (8.00).
Although six senior players are being held back for the second and final trial test at home to Widnes Vikings on Sunday, January 20, the Giants chief has named a strong-looking starting line-up.
Those include first-choice half-backs Danny Brough and Luke Robinson, Scott Grix at full-back, Leroy Cudjoe in the centres, and the likes of David Faiumu, Larne Patrick, Jason Chan and Michael Lawrence in the pack.
There’s also a run at prop for Wales captain Craig Kopczak, who will make his Giants debut following his move from Bradford Bulls.
Fellow new signings, winger Ben Blackmore (Castleford) and prop Anthony Mullally (Widnes), make their Huddersfield bows from the bench.
Promoted Super League youngsters Peter Aspinall and Nathan Mason also take their place in the first team for the first time, while Under 18s rising stars Jack Miller and Kruise Leeming have been handed surprise calls.
Scrum half Miller – the son of Doncaster head coach Tony – and hooker Leeming have been spending time training with the full-time squad and have clearly caught the eye of Giants chief Anderson.
The talented teenage duo are expected to have limited gametime, but Anderson is stressing he hopes to give all 24 players as much action as possible so they can prove they deserve to be included in a trimmed-down squad to face Widnes before the Giants turn their attentions to their opening Super League XVIII fixture at St Helens on Saturday, February 2.
“This is always an exciting time of the year for players,” said Anderson.
“After being flogged over the past few months, the pre-season games can’t come quickly enough for them.
“And they’re obviously a vital part of our build-up.”
The senior men missing after undergoing post-season surgery are Eorl Crabtree (shoulder and elbow), Jacob Fairbank (shoulder), Jermaine McGillvary (ankle) and Luke O’Donnell (shoulder), while Brett Ferres is serving the one-match ban picked up for a dangerous tackle in the play-off defeat at Hull FC and Stuart Fielden is being ‘saved’ for the Widnes game.
New big overseas signing from New Zealand Warriors, Ukuma Ta’ai, is also missing, although club officials still remain firmly confident his work visa will be granted in the very near future.
Huddersfield Giants: Grix; Dawson, Cudjoe, Murphy, George; Robinson, Brough; Kopczak, Faiumu, Patrick, Chan, Cording, Lawrence: Subs: Connor, Wardle, Blackmore, Aspinall, Mullally, Lunt, Mason, Johnson, Ferguson, Miller, Leeming.