Giants leap forwards

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The Independent Online

Huddersfield have not got everything they wanted this week, but they are getting more out of the Super League season as a whole than they dared to dream possible.

The Giants were one of those against the admission of the French club, Perpignan, into the competition for 2006 and also started off in favour of a lowering of the salary cap from £1.8 million to £1.5m. "The board just felt that the French business plan was flawed," said the Huddersfield chief executive, Ralph Rimmer. "But now they are in, we hope to be proved wrong."

The Giants' victories this season have come on the field, with seven wins in 10 games putting them snugly into fifth place in a top six who are starting to put a little daylight between themselves and the rest.

Much of the credit for that goes to Jon Sharp, the former assistant coach at the McAlpine Stadium, who left when the club were relegated at the end of the 2001 season. "When he left us, I told him I would go straight back to him and offer him the job if Tony Smith ever left," said Rimmer. "I never had the slightest doubt about his ability, but I'm delighted that it has come through as quickly as it has."

On top of their outstanding form, Huddersfield are able to bring a new player into their squad for today's home match with Wakefield. James Evans is a centre from the Canberra Raiders who, conveniently, has a British passport and will play today if he is not too jaded after his long journey.

"I've spoken to the Canberra coach, Matthew Elliott, about him and he recommends him strongly. It's just that he has so many good, young players coming through that, if you're not the best player in the side, you're expendable," Rimmer said.

The Giants' chief exec is a believer in mid-season transfer activity - something that the game might have thought it had seen the last of.

"If you leave yourself with some leeway, you can virtually guarantee that the right player will come available for you to freshen up your squad. We did it last season with Ben Roarty and I'm a big believer in it."