Supporters' Association

Examiner Reports: March 2016

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Contents

2nd
9th
16th
23rd
30th

2nd

What connects Luke Robinson, his testimonial Gala Dinner, and Wigan?

Sean O'Loughlin's elbow!

On Saturday 30th April, Luke's testimonial year kicks off with a Gala Dinner at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top.

£40 will let you celebrate one of our favourite's career whilst for a mere £10 more you will be able to spend time with him and other Giants players in a private bar.

The celebration is open to everyone – so long as you are wearing a lounge suit!

Tickets can be bought from Brian Blacker [07989 384 090 or brian_blacker69@hotmail.co.uk] at the Giants.

Sean O'Loughlin's elbow?

Do you remember one of the many occasions when Luke was knocked out? In particular the one when it was Sean O'Loughlin's elbow?

Well, Sean is Luke's guest speaker at the event!

Who's bringing the boxing gloves?

There are lots of events being organised for – and by – Luke. If you have any ideas or can help in any way, let Brian know.

Perhaps I'm jumping the gun a little, but we are in the final stages of organising this year's raffle.

I can't give anything away at this stage, but there will be some magnificent prizes. But we want more!

You'll see why when details are announced, but we really do want MORE!

Small, big, anything you can arrange. Let Dave Calverley [da.calverley@PhotoLens.co.uk or 07887 878 425] have details of what you have.

A plea to the disgruntled supporters.

Be patient, players aren't losing on purpose.

Any team with half its first team squad missing is always going to struggle against a full strength side. Especially when the key playmakers are missing.

Remember, we went into the season with 4 half backs. We currently do not have one fit.

We have forwards playing who will not be anywhere near their best for another four or five seasons. On the whole they are coping admirably.

Where do we go from here?

Well, we get injured players back playing and see what happens then.

If, as a result of this we have a mediocre season then so be it. But remember, the experience these youngsters are getting will reap huge rewards in the seasons to come.

Just be patient and get behind the team.

9th

The Giants losing 4 successive games is very hard to take especially after a successful 2015. It appears that an unusual number of injuries afflicting the senior players is the reason of our failure to win our opening games. There is no cause to get down hearted or start to think the team is going to finish outside the top 8. We are very far from the business end of the season and a lot will and can happen before the Grand Final in October. So let's start looking at the "positives" so far.

The HGSA exists to support the Huddersfield Giants RLFC and that is what we are going to do now. It is clear that the club has unearthed some sparkling talent which is now coming to the fore. We must all get behind these new young players and encourage them all we can. They are doing a fine job in making the difficult transition from Championship to Super League rugby. We can only admire their skill levels and commitment. The Widnes game showed that they do need to improve their collective discipline. The giving away of so many penalties did not help the cause and certainly interrupted the team's rhythm. Nevertheless the talent and the quality is there in abundance and we can have no doubts as to the future of the club. The Widnes game is one we could have won. Sadly the team gave away a couple of soft tries (one while we had a player sin-binned) but it is 12 points. Knock that off the Widnes score and that reduces them to 24 against our 18. It could have gone the Giants way.

The other factor which did not help us in this case was the referee. This column has been supportive of referees in the past and will continue to be so but it is not a one-way traffic. The referees should apply the rules as consistently as humanly possible. During the first half the referee awarded Widnes 6 consecutive penalties and then appeared visibly to lose his temper with the Giants and issued a team warning. Subsequently a Giant erred and was sin-binned. During the second half Widnes gave away 6 consecutive penalties but there was no team warning and no Widnes player left the field. It was the same with Leeds Rhinos. They gave away 5 consecutive penalties in the first half including one for dissent. Again there was no team warning. No wonder fans get upset, no wonder referees get booed off the pitch and no wonder they get criticised.

Talking of the Leeds Rhinos, it is difficult to understand how the Giants lost that match. For 75% of the game the Giants were on top. Make no mistake our young talent was better than their young talent. Our team lost the match in the last 15minutes due to a try which would not have been awarded if the SKY cameras had not been present. If there is one thing the Giants have to learn it is that a match lasts for 80 minutes and you need to be persistent to the very end. As the man (baseball legend Yogi Berra) says "it ain't over 'til it's over"!

In the meantime, although we lost the services of the talented Dan Smith last Friday, our other senior players, recovered from their injuries, will be returning. Giants' fans we will not be propping up the Super League table for much longer so now is the time to attend the games, support the boys and really get behind our team.

16th

First of all an apology.

Almost every home match, Alick Mulhall makes the journey from Ipswich to Huddersfield and then back again. This is a round trip of 440 miles.

On a good day Alick can do this journey in a total of 8 hours driving. On a bad day traffic-wise, well, your guess is as good as mine.

Alick also an occasional author of this column, recently referred to as 'the Norwich Branch of HGSA'.

He is nothing of the sort.

He is the IPSWICH Branch of HGSA!

So, sincere apologies to Alick for misplacing him.

Another fan who travels long distances to games is Mick Murphy. He pops down from Durham.

Sky's insistence on night matches means that these guys, and there are others, often miss such games.

Similarly, a lot of people who have to get up early miss the Thursday night occasions.

Without re-opening the debate of whether we should play on Sundays or Fridays, most people agree that the atmosphere at night matches surpasses that on a Sunday.

After a recent meeting of Super League clubs, one of our recent speakers, Blake Solly, announced that transport for away fans to televised Thursday matches will be provided for free.

Blake is the General Manager of Super League and, as he told us the other month, he is as concerned about low attendances as the rest of us.

Whilst we all moan about Sky's attitude to our sport, unfortunately they provide half the income of Super League clubs.

Another moan we, the fans, have is the gap in the standard of SL and the NRL, as shown recently by the World Club Challenge.

The bottom line is that we have to somehow find more money to both attract quality youngsters and also to keep established stars.

The NRL has huge sums of money to ply their trade.

If we were on a par with the NRL, sportsmen such as Ryan Giggs might have continued to play Rugby League instead of soccer.

I've written before about the Oxford v Cambridge Varsity matches [RL version] and how it has been played now for 40 years. There are many ex-students in high-powered positions of responsibility in both 'The City' and throughout the country.

There is a group of business leaders in London doing their best for our sport, but mention Red Hall to them and they just laugh.

When will the powers-that-be utilise this huge, largely untapped, resource?

[By the way, it was pleasing to see Oxford maintain their winning streak this year. Yet sad that Cambridge at in such a state of RL disarray.]

23rd

So, what's currently happening on the heritage front?

As you will probably be aware, the Huddersfield Rugby League Heritage Project as funded by the Lottery, came to an end some time ago.

However, the core of the team have stayed together and are continuing to ensure that the club's heritage is not forgotten and is available for future generations.

We meet at the University's Heritage Quay where there is a huge collection of Rugby League memorabilia.

The following are being worked on at the moment:

Cataloguing the Dave Gronow Collection incorporating items collected by Nancy Beaumont .

Dave amassed hundreds of photographs and articles relating to both our club and Rugby League in general.

We are initially organising the collection of photos and trying to put names to the featured players.

Then there is the task of assigning a heritage number to every player who has turned out for the club since the birth of Rugby League. This is 75% complete, but what has been done so far needs checking for errors.

For example, poor handwriting in the registration documents; was there both a Bowden and a Bawdon who played? Or are they simple spelling mistakes?

Does anyone fancy researching players from 1864 through to 1895???

People are still coming to us with items which are of interest. This presents us with a storage challenge!

Some of them can be stored in the Heritage Quay's archival rooms, but other, Huddersfield specific items, need to be kept somewhere else.

There is still a huge amount of documents and photographs to be processed before they can be uploaded onto the website. The former does not require any specialised knowledge but is time consuming, the latter is more specialised but is fairly quick to do.

We are researching players who died in the World Wars with a view to a commemorative plaque at the stadium.

The club has asked to do some research into which first team players came through the Giants' academy.

We are not only concerned with what has happened in the past.

What is being produced toady, photographs, articles, programmes, flyers, etc, is tomorrow's heritage.

Consequently we are liaising with the club to save these since the start of Super League. And to ensure that future material is also kept.

All this is being achieved by a team of eight people with tremendous support from Dave Smith at the Heritage Quay.

So, if you can help in any way, please get in touch with Dave Calverley [07887 878 425 or da.calverley@PhotoLens.co.uk].

Finally a plug for an event at the Heritage Quay.

On Saturday 9th April, there will be the 2nd Rugby League Heritage Forum.

Starting at 10:00 am and running through to 4:00 pm.

This FREE event is for anyone interested in researching or sharing the history of Rugby League.

For more details visit http://heritagequay.org/events/2nd-rugby-league-heritage-forum/.

30th

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.

[With the appropriate acknowledgement of copyright!]

Here is a section from 'Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants' about the 2007 season:

The season got off to a terrible start. Seven consecutive Super League losses cast the Giants adrift at the bottom of the table. The familiar jeers from opposition fans returned and bookmakers quickly installed the Giants as relegation contenders. Many fans began to question coach Jon Sharp's ability, especially following that morale-sapping seventh defeat against fellow-strugglers Salford.

Sharp remained steadfast, pointing out that, although Huddersfield were bottom of the League, their matches had been close and they had, paradoxically, the second best defence in the league. On 1 April the Giants finally recorded their first win of the season, an emphatic 74-4 victory over National League 2 side York in the Challenge Cup. At the time, it seemed scant consolation for the club's poor start.
The next Super League match five days later saw the Good Friday visit of rivals Wakefield. In contrast to the Giants, Wakefield had enjoyed a great start to the season, riding high in the league despite pre-season predictions of a relegation battle. Pre-match, the Giants' players and supporters endured derision and mockery from Wakefield's large, boisterous and vocal travelling support. Their laughter turned to stunned silence however, as the Giants scored in the opening minutes of the match, and continued to score seemingly at will, eventually running out emphatic 56-12 winners.

This first league victory in eight attempts was backed up just days later on Easter Monday with an away win at Warrington. Another win the following Sunday against perennial title contenders Wigan lifted the club off the foot of the table. Unbelievably, this Giants' run extended to nine consecutive victories, including a comprehensive and elusive first Super League victory over Bradford Bulls in front of the Sky television cameras. Huddersfield had now beaten every other Super League club. Making a mockery of his early season criticism, Jon Sharp won the Super League Coach of the Month awards for April and May.

The Giants' winning run came to an unexpected end with a shock 14-12 away defeat by Salford, but in comfortably their best Super League season to date, the club went on to finish 5th, qualifying for the play-offs for the first time.

Next Tuesday we shall have the pleasure of Michael Lawrence and Jermaine McGillvary at our meeting. 7:30 for a 7:45 start at Turnbridge WMC.

Saturday 9th April, 2nd Rugby League Heritage Forum at the University's Heritage Quay: http://heritagequay.org/events/2nd-rugby-league-heritage-forum/.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Huddersfield Examiner
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