Huddersfield seek revival after finally going home
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 30 July 2011
Huddersfield hope that a return home today will revive their season.
It is 11 weeks since the Giants last played at the Galpharm Stadium and they have been in temporary residence at The Shay to allow work to take place on their pitch.
In that time Huddersfield have lost momentum in Super League and were last week knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Castleford. Coach Nathan Brown believes they must get back to basics. "We want to get back to doing what we do really well," he said. "I'm sure we can rebuild our game."
They will have to do that without the help of Joe Wardle and Keith Mason, who were added to the growing injury list this week and are expected to miss six games. That could mean a Super League debut for the 20-year-old loose forward Jacob Fairbank, the latest member of a famous rugby league family, who has been on loan at Halifax and played for them in the Northern Rail Cup final two weeks ago.
Andy Raleigh and Graeme Horne are also added to the squad against Hull KR, while David Hodgson will play against the club he has agreed to join next season, having signed a three-year deal with Rovers.
The Robins have their own rebuilding to do after being unceremoniously dumped out of the Cup with a 54-6 thrashing by St Helens. All that remains for them this season is to try to reach the play-offs and they are currently one place off the pace in ninth.
In today's other game, Harlequins go to Perpignan to try to break their 12-match losing streak. It is their first game since the announcement that two of their mainstays are leaving at the end of the season – Luke Gale to Bradford and their captain Rob Purdham back to his native Cumbria.
The Catalans, hoping to improve on their current fifth place between now and the end of the season, have their key man Scott Dureau fit and start as hot favourites.
Tomorrow's fixtures pit Crusaders, playing out time in Super League after withdrawing their application for a licence, against Wakefield, the club saved by that decision. Two Challenge Cup semi-finalists meet at Castleford, where St Helens are the visitors, and Warrington are at home to Bradford.
In the Championship, Barrow have lost six competition points and could lose another six, a punishment for salary cap breaches last season. The other deduction is suspended until the end of next season.
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