The 2016 campaign was an unmitigated disaster for the Huddersfield Giants, as they finished bottom of the table. However, they maintained their Super League status, after a third-place finish in the qualifiers.
Certainly, head coach Rick Stone will have his work cut out, returning the Giants to contender status in 2017. In that respect, Stone and the team have received a significant boost, as they prepare for the new season.
The Giants confirmed on Monday, that Dale Ferguson has joined them on a two-year deal. While his signing was agreed a while back, the club was pleasantly surprised by his decision to arrive ahead of schedule.
Ferguson was expected to take a well-earned extended break, after taking part in the Four Nations. However, he decided to join his teammates early, in order to prepare for the 2017 campaign.
The Scottish international previously played for the Giants between 2011-2013. As you’d expect, he can’t wait to once again ply his trade in Huddersfield.
Speaking to the media, Ferguson said: “It was tough to leave, but at the time it was the right time. (However), as soon as the opportunity arose to come back I jumped at the chance.
“Everyone wants to play Super League top level and I’ve spoken to Rick and I like what he is about and what he wants from the club. That’s why I’m on board and I want the club to move in the right direction.”
The 28-year old’s transition should be relatively smooth, given his experience. However, he will be helped by his familiarity with a couple of his new teammates, Ryan Brierley and Danny Brough.
Ferguson said: “I’ve been with both Ryan and Danny at Scotland for the Four Nations and they are world class half-backs. They’ve proven it against the world’s best, so to play with them at club level is great and I’m looking forward to getting into pre-season now and joining up with the rest of the squad.”
Coach Stone was already impressed with the Pontefract, Yorkshire native. However, even he was slightly taken aback by Ferguson’s decision to join the Giants early.
Stone said: “Dale has come back early even though we offered him some time off following the internationals and that shows the type of attitude he has got. That is the level of work ethic and commitment we’re looking to have in this squad and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him in training.”
Overall, it will take more than the addition of Ferguson to turn around the fortunes of the Giants. However, there is no denying they will benefit immensely from his skill, toughness and work ethic.
Photo credit: www.giantsrl.com
What kind of impact do you expect Ferguson to have on the Giants? How much of an influence will he have on their attempts to return to contention?