AUSTRALIAN centre Julian Bailey reckons news of head coach Tony Smith's forthcoming departure will add an extra dimension to the Giants' bid to make the Super league play-offs.
Fans were stunned by the revelation yesterday that Smith is to leave the McAlpine at the end of the season.
But Bailey confirmed the coach revealed his decision to the squad in the build-up the 30-14 home win over Hull on Sunday which revived hopes of finishing in the crucial top-six zone.
"It was a bit of a rough week what with losing down in London on the Tuesday, then hearing Tony's decision to go at the end of the season," said Bailey.
"But at least we came through to seal a solid win over Hull which could turn out be a really important one for us."
The centre, who has played in every game since signing for compatriot Smith from Newcastle Knights at the start of this season, added: "I'm sure I speak for the whole squad when I say we're disappointed at the news.
"Tony was one of the reasons I chose to come to Huddersfield, and he is a first-class coach who has certainly added a whole lot to my game.
"Many of the other players have said the same thing, and I think we've got a good thing going here at Huddersfield.
"We set ourselves a target a few weeks ago in terms of our remaining matches, and although we've had a blip with defeats at St Helens and London, the play-offs are still a genuine possibility.
"The news of Tony's decision has added to our desire to make the top six, because that would be a fantastic send off for him.
"And if we get into the play-offs, there's no reason we can't go even further, because we've already beaten several of the other sides likely to be involved."
Having turned down the offer of a two-year deal at the Giants, Smith is now being linked with prospective French Super League club Union Treiziste Catalan.
It is claimed Great Britain coach David Waite has recommended him as the right man to lead the Perpignan club, who are expected to compete in Super League from 2005 onwards.
He is also being touted as a possible successor to Stuart Raper at Wigan, who today announced the Australian is to leave the JJB Stadium immediately rather than at the end of the season.
Smith's former assistant Jon Sharp, currently the second in command to Ian Millward at St Helens, senior Giants player Steve McNamara and Oldham-based Irish rugby union defensive coach Mike Ford continue to be linked with the forthcoming vacancy at the McAlpine.
The club say they are making inroads in their bid to find a successor and Bailey, who has another season on his McAlpine contract, said the squad are confident club chairman Ken Davy and chief executive Ralph Rimmer will recruit a replacement of suitable standard.
"They did a really good job in appointing Tony in the first place, and I know there will be a whole lot of guys interested in coming here because something strong has been built," added the 24-year-old.
"Who takes over is not in the players' hands. All we can do is pledge to give 100%. That's what we've been doing and that's what we'll carry on doing."
Huddersfield's eight-game countdown to the end of the regular season starts with Sunday's derby trip to Bradford.
Bailey and Co will no doubt be hoping the Bulls show signs of fatigue following their trip to London tomorrow.
A win would put Bradford top of Super League at the expense of arch-rivals Leeds. The Giants are 10th, but just three points adrift of sixth-placed Warrington.
* Scott Parkin, who works as a fitness instructor at the Stadium Gym in Huddersfield, has signed for National II club Keighley.
The Kiwi forward previously played rugby union for Old Brodleians, the Hipperholme club who are Yorkshire I rivals of Huddersfield YMCA.