New season countdown: Josh Jones ready for Giant challenge
After seeing his move to Hull FC wrecked by coronavirus, Great Britain star Josh Jones is looking forward to a new start with an old face at Huddersfield Giants.
The back-row played all seven games for Hull before lockdown hit last March – but only featured once more thereafter.
When rugby league restarted in August, Jones faced Salford Red Devils – the club he’d moved from – but was then one of nine FC players struck down by the virus.
Although the majority recovered largely symptom-free, the 27-year-old struggled badly with breathing difficulties and was unable to resume.
Jones still had a year left on his deal at KCOM Stadium but once Ian Watson, his former head coach at Salford, moved to Huddersfield, he made the hard-running forward one of his first targets.
Fully-recovered Jones is in situ at John Smith’s Stadium, has secured the No13 role and is looking to make up for lost time.
“I do feel completely fine now,” he said.
“Back then, I was really struggling with shortness of breath and long-term effects of Covid.
“It struck me pretty hard. I was lying on the couch, still couldn’t catch my breath and was really fatiguing.
“It was really strange and my smell and taste was gone for a long time, too.
“But the main thing was the lungs. I was struggling to get oxygen there and that meant I couldn’t get back as quickly as I’d have liked.
“I was glad to get myself right, though, as I would have hated to come back and break down because of a lung-related issue.
“I’m glad it’s out of the way now; I can’t wait to crack on with my career and I just want to kick on with Huddersfield this season.
“It’s a great club and, luckily enough, we’ve FC in round one so I can’t wait to see some old faces.”
Jones won a Grand Final with St Helens in 2014 and, after a brief spell in rugby union with Exeter Chiefs, was signed by Watson at Salford two years later.
He helped them make their surprise run to the 2019 Grand Final and believes the coach can now inspire Giants to success.
“The one thing with Watto that I’ve learned over the years is that he just wants to win,” said Jones, who is joined by high-calibre recruits such as Ricky Leutele, Joe Greenwood and Jack Cogger in Giants’ reshaped squad.
“With Huddersfield being such a well-run club, it’s a match made in heaven him coming here.
“Fans can expect us to play some real good attacking rugby.
“He’s quite structured in how he plays, which some of the lads are still getting to grips with, but it’s a great style.
“The last two seasons for Salford, in getting to the Grand Final and then in 2020 reaching Wembley, it’s obviously shown it’s worked.
“Huddersfield fans can be excited by what they can expect to see this year.”