Huddersfield Giants head coach Ian Watson was left disappointed and frustrated when the RFL slapped the club with a £30,000 fine following the postponement of the fixture against Castleford Tigers back in July.
The Giants have struggled all season with injuries and players having to isolate because of Covid-19 symptoms. Despite this Watson has built up an excellent core of young players in his team.
The Giants were fined £30,000 with £15,000 of it being suspended for two years.
Watson, speaking at a virtual meeting of Huddersfield Giants Supporters’ Association, said of his disappointment in the RFL and subsequent fine: “I’ll be honest I don’t think it was fair us getting a huge fine for not playing the fixture. We were really honest with the RFL and us getting that fine left me hugely frustrated.
“If you asked all those young lads if they wanted to play they’d put their hand up to play. However as a head coach you need to protect them, you have a duty of care.
“By putting an academy kid in who wasn’t ready to play I don’t think that’s fair. Then that decision is on me and if he gets hurt that’s my fault. I want Huddersfield to be a good club, not one which puts players at risk.
“Some of these kids haven’t played for two years. Now we are being asked to put them in against full-time players, I don’t think that’s right.”
Despite his frustrations, Watson is looking forward to creating a young, hungry squad at the Giants for years to come.
He said: “Huddersfield have a really good group of players and I am looking forward to building something with them. Andy Kelly, who heads up the academy, has done a brilliant job in putting the right characteristics into these young players. Unfortunately I think in the past there hasn’t been joined up thinking between the academy and first team.
“One of the reasons I joined Huddersfield is because I feel I can build something here. We have 10 youth players playing games, that’s the most in the league. Wigan have four players under the age of 22 and they are struggling.
“The reason our players are thriving is because we are taking what the players have learnt under Andy and are enhancing it.”
Watson overall is happy with how things are progressing at the club and thinks they’ll have a better year next year. Currently sat 9th in the table, the Giants boss has not been helped with the amount of injuries he’s had to deal with.
He said: “Our season has just got going in the last few weeks. We’ve had a lot of injuries and we haven’t been able to do what we wanted. We have learnt a lot about ourselves this season and I believe we’ll be more successful next season.
This weekend the Giants play Wakefield in the Super League’s Magic Weekend on Sunday September 5 1pm kick off.