ROBBIE PAUL today left the Giants to join Salford City Reds and admitted: “I’ve had the time of my life!”
The 31-year-old New Zealand ace was this lunchtime unveiled as the man to spearhead Salford’s bid to get back into Super League at the first attempt.
But while he is looking forward to the new challenge, he admits leaving the Giants was a massive wrench.
“I would have loved to have stayed at the Giants as a player,” he admitted.
“But Jon (Sharp) and the club wanted to move in a different direction, with more emphasis towards youth.
“I fully appreciate that, and I can also see that there’s a great squad in place for next year.
“It’s of the highest quality, with a great balance of youth and experience.
“I see no reason at all why the Giants won’t continue to go from strength to strength.
“To be honest, they were very keen to offer me something on the development front, and at one stage it was a 99% certainty I was going to take the job.
“But when the season came to an end, it suddenly became clear to me that I wasn’t ready to hang up my boots just yet.
“I still feel I’ve got at least two more years left in me as a player. My body wasn’t telling me to stop just yet.
“That’s when some of the other options open to me became more attractive, and so that’s why I’m leaving.
“But I’ve no regrets whatsoever about spending the past two seasons here. It was the best thing I could have done at this stage of my career.
“It gave me a new lease of life as a player, and I can’t thank the club enough for that.
“It’s been a fantastic experience.”
And there’s no question Paul has been good for the Giants.
In the two years he has been at the Galpharm, he helped Huddersfield reach the Challenge Cup final for the first time in 44 years and has this season been part of the first Giants’ side to reach the Super League play-offs.
As a result, Paul is pleased with his contribution to the cause.
“When I first joined the club, they wanted me to help lay a solid foundation for the future,” he added.
“As far as I’m concerned, that has come to pass.
“I believe the club is now much stronger, both on and off the field, and I would like to think I played some small part in making that happen.
“Everything is in place on all fronts for this club to become a Super League giant.
“I know I’m leaving the club in a far stronger and healthier position than when I arrived, and I’m going to look back at my time here with a tremendous amount of affection.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the fans for the way they have been with me throughout these two wonderful years.
“I’ve made some great friends here and they will remain friends forever.
“But I think I should warn them that they haven’t completely seen the back of me quite yet!
“I’ve started a part-time marketing course at the University of Huddersfield, which means I’ll probably still be hanging around town.
“And that suits me just fine, because I really have enjoyed every single minute of my time here.”