TALKING SPORT: Giants prove doubters wrong

Huddersfield Giants' Assistant Coach Kieron Purtill, Chairman Ken Davy and Coach Paul Anderson with the League Leaders Shield.
Huddersfield Giants' Assistant Coach Kieron Purtill, Chairman Ken Davy and Coach Paul Anderson with the League Leaders Shield.

When Huddersfield thumped Saints 40-4 at Langtree Park on the opening weekend of Super League, many pundits wrote it off as a flash in the pan.

After all, the Giants had flattered to deceive in the previous couple of seasons, starting like a house on fire and then burning out when the business end of the campaign approached.

But not in 2013 - the year one of the less glamorous clubs of the 13-a-side code lifted the often maligned League Leaders’ Shield - and deservedly so after Sunday’s 40-0 crushing of Wakefield at the John Smith’s Stadium in front of nearly 9,000 ecstatic fans.

Huddersfield’s consistency speaks for itself - 21 wins from 26 game with just one fixture remaining.

It is something the club could hardly have dreamt possible at the beginning of the millennium when survival rather than picking up trophies was their number one priority.

They kept their heads above water thanks, in no small measure, to the efforts of owner and chairman Ken Davy and to some extent by the recruitment of coaching staff who had learned their trade at St Helens.

Jon Sharp (2004-2008) had previously worked under Ian Millward at Knowsley Road and Kieron Purtill was Royce Simmons’ number two at Saints until he moved to the Giants where he is currently boss Paul Anderson’s second-in-command.

The links don’t stop there with Anderson spending the twilight of his playing career at St Helens where he won league and cup honours and current Langtree Park boss, Nathan Brown, having crossed the Pennines from Huddersfield ahead of Super League XVIII.

Sportsmen and broadcasters worldwide last week paid tribute to Welsh Rugby Union legend Cliff Morgan who passed away at the age of 83.

Locally, no one knew him better than TV commentator Ray French - who worked along side Cliff when the revered Welsh international and British Lions fly-half was head of outside broadcasting at the BBC.

“A perfect gentleman who always went out of his way to talk to you whatever the occasion,” said Ray who revealed to me how close the Welsh wizard came to signing for Saints in the early 1950s.

Apparently, he was due to discuss a move to St Helens but when his train arrived at Crewe he got cold feet and went back home.

The rest is history.

I am told a meeting was due to take place last night (Tuesday) between repesentatives of the Liverpool Competition management committee, St Helens Town CC, the Lancashire Cricket Board and St Helens Borough Council.

It centres around drainage problems at Town’s “ancestral” Ruskin Drive home, which forced the club to move into the neighbouring Windleshaw Road set up a couple of years ago.

Ideally, they would like to return to their former ground sooner rather than later and hopefully last night’s meeting was able to throw further light on the matter.