Former Huddersfield Giants star Eorl Crabtree has given his thoughts following a disappointing season for the club but insists there are good times around the corner.
Crabtree, who played his whole 16-year career at the Giants, is now the club’s off field ambassador.
He believes the 2021 campaign was a disappointing one for the club but hopes the 2022 season will be more successful.
After playing 24 Super League fixtures they finished fourth from bottom in the league on 18 points. At the start of the season they had ambitions to challenge for the title but as the campaign went on those hopes disintegrated.
On the campaign Crabtree said: “The season was disappointing as we didn’t achieve anywhere near what we wanted to. Within that we did have terrible injury problems and complex Covid-19 cases to deal with but we don’t want to use any of that as an excuse but it did play into the club’s form.
“We also unfortunately didn’t have our star men playing for much of the season. Aidan Sezer was a huge miss, he was going to be the guy to help turn this club around however that didn’t happen. Lee Gaskell, Adam O’Brien and Ashton Golding were also injured and they were huge misses throughout the season.”
Despite the poor campaign Crabtree was pleased to see the end of season form where the Giants won three out of their last four games.
He said: “We ended the season positively and I think whilst Ian Watson always wants more I do think he was happy with how it ended. We’ll hope to take that form into next season.”
Watson arrived at the Giants ahead of last season and Crabtree believes this winter can be a real reset period for the former Salford boss.
“Ian has now fully worked out everything about the club. He has had to firefight this season and work out everyone’s character whilst barely being able to put a full squad out every week.
“He’s a very good coach who is disciplined and knows what he wants to achieve and knows how to get there. It’s not gone for him this season but I think this winter you will see a total shift in things. We are with Ian for the long term and some things take longer to fix.”
One of the big positives this season was a number of young players coming into the squad to replace the players that were either out with Covid-19 or injured. Will Pryce was a particular star player last year and Crabtree was impressed with the 19-year-old.
He said: “Will is a player who has really impressed me this year and has been one of the shining lights. Yes sometimes he’s made errors but not because of the lack of effort.
“To say he is just 19 he has really grown into being a man this year and someone the team can rely on. That will make him stronger going forward in his career and also for next season.
“With Ian having to rely on youngsters like Will we have built up a core now which has tasted Super League level fixtures. They haven’t just played bits, they have played big parts during this season which will stand them in good stead going forward.”
Crabtree is looking forward to what the Giants may achieve next year and is hopeful silverware will be around the corner.
“We said at the start of this season we wanted to achieve something and win something. Ian and everyone at the club will have the same exact goals going into next year ànd that is to try and win some silverware.”