Huddersfield Giants boss Ian Watson says his side need to make a fast start if they want to have any chance of victory when they take on St Helens in the Betfred Super League (Match Odds – Huddersfield 7/2, Draw 25/1, St Helens 1/4).
The Giants have yet to win a game in the league this season, with Hull FC, Catalans Dragons and Hull KR all getting the better of Watson’s men.
Huddersfield have been guilty of making sloppy starts and that was the case against the Robins, with KR 18-0 up at one point, before the Giants fell to a 25-24 defeat.
Thursday’s opponents, league leaders St Helens, will pose an even more challenging test, with Kristian Woolf’s side unbeaten to date in 2021, as they aim to end the year as Grand Final winners for the third campaign in a row (Saints 2/1 to win the Grand Final).
Watson believes his troops can get a result on Thursday evening has warned his players about the quality he expects from the off.
He told the Yorkshire Post: “You can’t start poorly against a Saints team.
“You have to match them early doors. They come out firing straight away, and if they put you in a hole there, then you are in for a long day.
“It’s up to us to go match them physically and see where that takes us. We’ve just got to have that belief to start well. For me, it’s getting the right team out there early at the start of the game that’s going to carry that through.”
Watson has named an unchanged side following the agonising defeat to Hull KR, while St Helens will be without winger Tommy Makinson due to a foot injury.
Back-rower Sione Mata’utia is, however, back in the Saints squad after completing concussion protocols.
At 18:00, Wigan Warriors host Castleford Tigers at the DW Stadium as they try to put pressure on the league leaders (Match Odds – Wigan 1/2, Draw 20/1, Castleford 7/4).
A cracking game looks to be on the cards, with both Wigan and Castleford unbeaten so far this season. Only points difference keeps the Tigers behind Thursday’s opponents, but boss Daryl Powell has selection woes to contend with.
Gareth O’Brien misses out due to a knee injury and Jesse Sene-Lefao is suspended. Danny Richardson and Brad Martin replace the duo, while Wigan’s Sam Halsall is replaced in Adrian Lam’s squad by prop Liam Byrne.