27th June 2018


Andy Kelly previews Thursday’s U19s Academy match against Bradford Bulls

Foster Care

Huddersfield Giants Head of Youth, Andy Kelly, spoke to about Thursday’s U19s Academy match against Bradford Bulls, kick off 7pm at Lockwood Park.

Last time out the Giants academy side defeated the City of Hull Academy 30-20 at Lockwood Park in an entertaining encounter, and Kelly reflected on the match:

“We talked about the top four scenario before the game and how good a side the City of Hull Academy are. I thought the boys were comprehensively good, there were some testing moments in the game and they showed that they’ve learned through the season, they showed tenacity, resolve and once they were on top demonstrated that they can sustain it.

“There’s been a couple of occasions this year when we’ve squandered good positions, if I go back to the Leeds game at 32-6 up with 15 minutes left on the clock, we contrived to snatch defeat out of the jaws on victory in that game. They showed that they’ve learned, the final few minutes when it could have been a bit more nervy because if Hull had scored again they would have been right in the game, we went forwards, had a great defensive set and scored through Sam Hewitt off the back of it.

“It was a great day to come out and watch an academy side. There was no first-team rugby league going on. The setting at Lockwood Park has been fantastic for the team, it’s a place we enjoy playing at, and Huddersfield Rugby Union have been nothing short of brilliant hosts for us. To have the supporters there as well, they now know their way there and if they can get past Trevor when he’s taking the admission fee they are in store for what I feel is good value entertainment. The supporters delivered, and the team delivered so why wouldn’t you come back on Thursday night to watch us again, you’ve seen the future of the Club, some of the players are already featuring for the first-team and just having a crowd there encourages the others to want to do the same.”

The next opposition at Lockwood Park are Bradford Bulls and Kelly is ready for another tough test:

“Bradford are always a big test. It’s a local derby, players know each other, there’s some feistiness in those games so you’ve got to be ready. Bradford will test you right across the pitch and if you’ve got a weak link then they’ll eek away at it and make it bigger.

“I think this period of games now is a mark of whether you are a good side or not because you’ve got to play against teams who want to compete for the full 80 minutes against you. It’s easy to go into a top four game and come out of it with a pat on the back but also be very nearly and not quite where you need to be. These games test you, they’re about your mental resolve and your willingness to do all those work processes you put into your efforts against a top four side into a game against your equals. By that I mean the teams that aren’t in the top four and we’re not, that’s the reality. We’re going to play Newcastle, we’re going to go to London, we’ve got to face Bradford and Wakefield home and away and we need to have a mentality that suits the eighty-minute processes of our game. In that respect I think we’ll get some good results, if we fall short of that and those standards which we set against those top four sides then I think we’ll be in trouble.”

Having seen the temperature soar recently, Kelly spoke about the recent heat and the work done in the background to ensure the wellness of the squad:

“The players are training in these conditions and they’ve worked hard with Adam Megretton and under the recovery supervision of Will Carlos. Luke Robinson never fails to come up with the right technical content for the team and has been excellent this year. We’ve also got to look at the backdrop, the people who get the players back, the physio and strength and conditioning to get through this tough test, Adam Megretton and Will Carlos have been exceptional. They’re a big part of this closing stage of the year where we have game after game after game.

“There’s still a couple of injuries, but you’d expect that, you talk to most Head of Youth’s and they talk about how thin the squad can get. We’ve had an addition this week with Ethan Salm, who’s come back to us to see out the season with us having left earlier in the year. That’s a really good senior addition for us. Ethan knows what the Academy Championship is about, and I think he’ll be able to contribute a lot towards in the back end of the season.”

“I think Luke Robinson has improved their mentality and we’ve come a long way in how he’s coached the players. He’s worked on the very fundamentals of the game, fitness being one of them, the core skills that are required in the game to take out some of the errors and he works tirelessly with the first-team and academy. His input has been invaluable. At times they are inconsistent but not as critically as they were last year, like I said for the game last weekend, maybe last year we might have come undone in that game but this year we showed that robustness and tenacity to see the game out.”

Numerous players from the Academy squad have come through their college exam period with positive results and Kelly gave an insight into the importance placed into the educational side of the academy:

“In the last four and a half years that I’ve been at the Club, Steve Hardisty has been a fantastic ally for me. When we talk about a holistic approach to players, we’re talking about behaviours, education, their mental robustness and we’re having to look at the player to develop them into a mature adult. If we can get them to that point, our core business is rugby league, but all those qualities fit a modern rugby league player. You look at Matty English, who recently got a new first-team contract, he’s doing a degree at Leeds Beckett University, as is Darnell McIntosh at the University of Huddersfield and a number of other players are too. It’s that contingency, that intelligence, that we need, it backs up everything that we do and to have players that bite into that and come out of their academic period of the first two years of college with results that are actually over and above their predicted grades is fantastic. It’s because they understand the Academy now and it’s important, Steve plays a big part in that.”


The address for Lockwood Park is:

Lockwood Park

Brewery Drive



Admission prices are:

£3 - Adult Giants Season Ticket Holder

£3.50 - Adult

£2 - Concession Giants Season Ticket Holder

£2.50 - Concessions

U16 - Free of charge





Heikki Kovalainen




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