Huddersfield Giants could have unexpectedly been handed room to make their 2016 challenge stronger.
The transfer of England international Brett Ferres to rivals Leeds Rhinos looks like a blow, but it really does give the Giants a chance to move on – opportunity knocks!
The Giants have made few comments about the 29-year-old forward’s fall from favour – in fact since November they have only confirmed his suspension for “conduct away from the field”, announced his subsequent transfer-listing and finally stated that the player was on his way for an undisclosed fee.
It probably was not a gap the Giants wanted to try and fill, but it was a situation not of their own making – yet one head coach Paul Anderson will now address.
The positive upshot is that it initially hands some of the club’s younger stars a chance to claim a Super League place.
However, while neither Giants or Rhinos look set to reveal the fee Ferres commanded, it will give Giants a kitty for the transfer market and a place that can be filled under the salary cap.
Just where Huddersfield would want to strengthen is another matter, but should Joe Wardle be seen more as a second row this term, the backs may be where more competition – and cover – may be needed.
Meanwhile, Ferres made no mention of the Giants as he looked ahead to his new challenge at champions Leeds.
“That’s in the past now, it’s gone hasn’t it?” Ferres said of his enforced departure from the Giants when he fronted a press conference at Headingley.
Ferres, who was named in the 2013 Super League Dream Team after playing a key role in Huddersfield’s League Leaders’ Shield success, said: “I would like to thank Gary Hetherington and Brian McDermott for making this move possible.
“The Rhinos are a fantastic organisation and I am looking forward to being part of the squad next season.
“The last year has seen plenty of ups and downs for me, however this move gives me an opportunity to look forward to the future with confidence and be part of something special here at the Rhinos.”
Leeds coach Brian McDermott added: “We are pleased to have Brett on board. Our other three England internationals also return this week so he has not missed any of our pre-season preparations in comparison to those players.”