12th October 2018


Andy Kelly discusses retention for the Giants Academy

Foster Care

Huddersfield Giants’ Head of Youth Andy Kelly spoke to about how the academy squad is shaping up ahead of the 2019 campaign.

With the 2018 season ending in success with a top four finish, Kelly discussed the players that will be moving up to the third year of the senior academy and the players that will be departing the Club before pre-season training starts for the new year:

“We’ve recently retained Alfie Copley, Lucas Hallas, Jack Flynn and Ross Whitmore who will go onto their third year. There are a couple of players that will leave us but I’d like to thank them for the time they’ve invested and I hope they go on to good things. I know Tom Hugill has got a job at Arnold Clark which is fantastic for him and Connor Murphy is going to Leeds Beckett University so again the system supports progression and if it isn’t going onto the third year of academy or senior team then it’s about the contingencies coming into play. It’s really exciting for those players and we wish them well. The other signing that we’ve made is Ronan Michael. He’s an Ireland U19 who’s invested in himself, he’s come over here and been very fortunate with Nathaniel Wood and Charlotte Goodwin housing him and making it possible for him to show us what he might have. Just based on some promise and performances we’re able to sign our first overseas academy player.

“It’s hard as a Head of Youth and a Coach when you look at succession and what the first-team need and are going to take. We say at the very beginning and are quite explicit in saying that given you may get to the end of that five-year period there’s not always going to be a chance to go forward with us.

“We’ve built a nice platform and we’ve just got to keep building on it now. It’s simple, the players who have learned about the rigours, intensity and robustness of a season when you finish in the top four should be wiser for it and hopefully we’ve got another platform to compete around that area next season. Unfortunately, the cyclic nature of academy rugby means that might not be the case but we’ll see.

“We’ve had our scholarship induction for the new under 15s who are coming in to join the current year 11s (Under 16s), the retention of second year academy players into third year and the intention or release of players from the third year where their journeys have been five years long. A special mention must go to Jack Richardson, Jamie Greenwood and Tyllar Mellor who will all be looking to join other Clubs and we wish them well. We’re so grateful for their investment over the past five years with the academy and scholarship. They’re players who if we had a broader spectrum for them to continue their development in they’d probably be continuing with the Club but I’ve already been contacted by other Clubs regarding their capabilities and services. I’m really pleased that people are interested in them, that’s another measure of our academy, we set out to have an academy where if we don’t keep players because succession doesn’t allow then we’d like those players to go on and play in the Super League or Championship. We will always be grateful to every player that comes into the system.”




Heikki Kovalainen




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