JOHN Skandalis has admitted he could have played his final game for the Giants.
But the vastly-experienced Australian prop is backing his teammates to put a smile back on his face by the end of the Super League season.
The 32-year-old underwent knee surgery at the start of the week, with medical staff warning him it could be up to three months – and the end of the season – before he is fit to return to competitive action.
And with Skandalis out of contract at the end of the year, he admits it looks as if his time at the Giants may have come to an end.
"I’ve probably played my last game here," he said. "I think the time may have come to move on and let the club start to plan for me not being around any more.
"That’s not an easy thing to say, because I’ve loved it at the club, but I think the injury has forced the issue. I had to undergo surgery on my knee to sort out a macro-fracture and I’m going to be on crutches for the next three weeks, and I’ve been told it could be up to 12 weeks before I can start running again, so it’s obviously not looking good.
"But, whatever happens, I fully intend to stick around for the rest of the season and try and help the club in any way I can, even if it’s just handing out the kit at training!
"And I’ll definitely be right behind the boys for the remainder of the season, starting this weekend against Bradford.
"Obviously, with Eorl Crabtree (finger fracture) and me being out on Sunday, we’re a couple of props light, and that’ll make it tough against a side like the Bulls.
"So, the rest of the boys need to stand up, not just for this weekend but for the rest of the season, which I’m sure they will.
"We’ve still got a tough pack and I know they have the ability to make sure we finish the season strongly, which would cheer me up no end."
Skandalis will take his place in the stands on Sunday as part of what should be a record Giants home Super League crowd against Bradford Bulls.
The previous best against their West Yorkshire rivals was set in Huddersfield’s first Super League game in 1998 when 12,417 watched the Giants suffer a 38-6 defeat. But with this weekend’s attendance set to be boosted by up to 7,500 who will be at the Galpharm as part of the Kirklees Youth Games, that previous best figure could come under serious threat.
"The Giants are proud to have the Games as part of a bumper pre-match entertainment package ahead of the hugely-anticipated West Yorkshire derby against the Bulls," said Giants Marketing Manager James Brammer.
"We are hosting a variety of activities with the aim of getting Kirklees fit for the 2012 Olympics. Activities include dance, gymnastics and cheerleading, culminating with the haka just before kick-off.
"With the extra numbers in the stadium we are looking forward to adding to what is always a truly tremendous atmosphere against the Bulls and are looking for an attendance well over five figures."
"As a result, we would urge supporters to arrive early to avoid congestion and enjoy the proceedings, which begin at 1.00 (turnstiles open at noon)."