HANDS up all those who expected Luke Robinson to be the early pacesetter in the Giants tryscoring stakes.
Not that many, then.
After all the talk of ‘Rocket’ Rod Jensen racing away in the club’s try charts following his haul of six tries in three pre-season games, Robinson has sneaked up on the blindside with four tries in the opening three Super League XIII fixtures.
But if that has taken some by surprise, many more will have been shocked to have seen Keith Mason get among the tryscorers in the 64-12 triumph over Castleford Tigers six days ago.
It was only the second Huddersfield try for the powerful prop in three seasons, with his first coming in a 19-6 defeat at Hull in May 2006.
On top of that, the 26-year-old showed great skill early in the Tigers clash to put fellow prop John Skandalis clear in the build-up to Robinson’s third try of the season.
So does this mean Mason is about to emerge as the new top ball-handling, tryscoring prop of Super League?
“I don’t really know about that, but I do work hard on my ball skills,” he revealed.
“That’s particularly been the case since Paul Anderson arrived here as a coach. He’s really encouraged me to work on that side of my game, which is something that’s never really happened before.
“Paul was obviously one of the best props in the game, so I was more than happy to take on board what he was saying.
“And I would like to think that try I helped set up for Luke has shown it’s paying off.
“That all came about because I could see some of the Castleford defenders coming out of the line, and I could also see Skando on my shoulder out of the corner of my eye.
“So I knew the pass was on, and it ended up working out perfectly.
“I was delighted about that, particularly as it set us on the way to such a fantastic win.
“But, from a personal point of view, I was probably more delighted with my try.
“Scoring tries hasn’t exactly been a strong point in my career, so it was great to get over the line last week. I know it was a little fortunate, but I’ll definitely take it!
“George (Gatis) obviously made it all possible.
“When I saw him going for the tryline, I was just wide of him and shouting for the ball, because I felt I was in the perfect place to score.
“But he went for it himself, and the Cas guy ripped it from his grasp just as he crossed the line. The ball popped up and I just put my hand on it. Simple as that.
“It was a great feeling, especially now I don’t need to worry about doing the naked run at the end of the season.
“I think Skando knows the pressure is on him now!”
But the man himself is ready to rise to the challenge.
The Australian prop scored two tries last season and, with the season just three weeks old, he knows there’s more than enough time to avoid the now traditional end-of-year forfeit for failing to cross the whitewash.
“Touch wood, I’ve managed to score every season of my career so far, so I’ve never had to do the run,” said Skandalis.
“We’ve still got 24 rounds to go, so fingers crossed.
“I can’t even believe Mason’s taking that try; he didn’t even do any work, he just fell on it!
“Ask me in 20 rounds and we’ll see if I’m worried then if I haven’t scored a try.
“But, to be honest, the most important thing last week wasn’t who grabbed the tries, it was obviously getting the win.
“After losing our opening two games, the response against Castleford couldn’t have been any better!”