Larne Patrick will start the 2016 Super League season as if he’s never been away from the Giants.
The 27-year-old forward is back at Huddersfield after his season-long loan at Wigan Warriors, signing off for the Cherry and Whites with a Super League Grand Final appearance at Old Trafford last October.
Patrick may have been part of a Wigan side that suffered a heart-breaking 22-20 defeat to Leeds Rhinos at the Theatre of Dreams.
But the Wales international admits that’s not dented his enthusiasm in the least, particularly now he’s back at the club where he spent five years before his 12-month sabbatical at the DW Stadium.
He has now slotted seamlessly back into Giants life with two very strong showings in the pre-season triumphs over Hull KR and Catalans Dragons.
“I loved my time at Wigan, it was a great experience,” said Patrick, who is expected to be at loose-forward for the Giants’ Super League XXI opener at St Helens next Friday night.
“But that time away also made me realise how much I love it at the Giants, and how much I love being around the place and this group of people.
“In a sense, I’ve come back and felt as if I’ve hardly been away. It’s virtually the same staff that were here when I left for Wigan and every one of them gave me a really warm welcome.
“I suppose one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is the way the younger boys at the club have developed in the 12 months I was away. It’s amazing how much they’ve improved, as we all saw in the trial games.
“They all played really well and showed how bright the future is for the Giants.
“I was encouraged by that, as well as the way everyone else played in the trials, to be honest.
“Because of my time away, I definitely needed those two games, and I was pretty happy with the way it went.
“We’re the first to admit the performances were far from perfect, but there were a lot of positives we could take from both games.
“I think it showed we’re in pretty good shape.
“Obviously, the real test will come at Saints next Friday night. We’re all looking forward to it.”
The Giants Legends annual meeting will be held at Marsh Liberal Club on Monday, February 8 (8pm).