Jack Hughes is confident he can make his presence felt straight from the start when he makes his Huddersfield Giants debut in Sunday’s pre-season clash at Bradford Bulls.
The on-loan Wigan back-row forward has made a big impression in training following his arrival in Huddersfield last November.
And having signed up for the Giants for the season, the explosive 23-year-old former England Knights pack star intends to waste little time stamping his authority in the claret and gold – starting with this weekend’s derby duel at Odsal (3.00).
“After a tough pre-season, you can’t wait to get out there and have a dig,” said Hughes.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first couple of months here, and the boys made me welcome from day one.
“I came here looking for a fresh start at a fresh club, and that’s exactly what I’ve got. As a result, this is the most enjoyable pre-season I’ve had for a couple of years.
“Travelling over from Wigan on my own every day can be a bit of a bind, but that’s the only thing I’ve struggled to get used to.
“Everything else has been great from the start and, with the way things are going, the car journey’s a small price to pay.
“And I hope that after Sunday I’ll be feeling even better about the start of the season.”
Hughes is well aware of the importance of making a strong start to his Huddersfield career.
Although he’s been handed the No12 starting shirt, he knows a regular back-row berth can’t be taken for granted.
“The competition for places in the squad was one of the first things that struck me,” added Hughes.
“But that’s what I like, because that’s the best way of keeping you on your toes.
“I know I have to play well this weekend to make sure I’m in a strong position to be picked for the first game of the season at home to Hull, that’s the priority for everyone.
“I think everyone’s trained hard from start to finish, and everyone knows the importance of taking that into Sunday’s game.
“It’s an important challenge for all those who play and, personally, I just can’t wait to get out there and show what I can do.
“To be honest, the only concern all of us have is what the weather’s going to be like and how much of an effect it’s going to have on the way we play.
“After the pre-season we’ve had we know we’re in good shape. We just hope the conditions will help us get some quality gametime under our belts, because that’s what these trials are all about.”