After predicting Huddersfield Giants’ struggles in 2016, Danny Brough is happy to deliver a more optimistic assessment of their prospects for this year.

The veteran half-back warned the Giants may not make the top eight after going into last season short of players, especially when Brett Ferres left for Leeds Rhinos, and his fears were realised as they finished bottom of the table at the end of the regular season.
Danny Brough
Under new coach Rick Stone, Huddersfield salvaged their Betfred Super League status in the Super 8s Qualifiers, with Brough’s drop goal in the nail-biting win at Hull KR proving decisive, and the Scotland skipper believes the team are better placed to challenge for the top eight in 2017.

“We’ve got a squad of 30 this year,” Brough said at the club’s pre-season media day. “Everybody has done the same amount of work so we’re all up to speed and hopefully ready to play.

“We got the job done at the end of last season, so we’re looking forward to a fresh start.

“There’s a lot of fresh faces and basically a new coach. We’re really looking forward to getting started. Hopefully things can gel and we don’t find ourselves in the same situation.

“I’m confident we can make the top eight and that’s pretty much the minimum this year. The boys are doing the hard yards and getting their fitness levels up.

“The start is pretty important, we have to probably win four of our first six games to stand us in good stead.”

Brough says the team’s relegation scare will provide them with extra motivation this year and believes an improvement in their fitness levels under Stone will also help as they prepare for their opening game at Widnes Vikings on February 10.

“Obviously Rick kept us up and he’s put his stamp on us this year by getting us a lot fitter than we were last year,” Brough added. “Now we’re just getting our skills ticked off and hopefully we can put it all together and really compete this year.

“Last year hurt a hell of a lot, I’ll be honest. The pressure we put on ourselves at the back end, it’s not just yourself that feel it, it’s your friends and family because you don’t know what’s going to happen and where you’re going to be.

“It was different to what we’ve been used to and it’s something we don’t want to experience again.”

The 34-year-old Brough had just four weeks off after helping Scotland to their famous draw with New Zealand in the Four Nations Series in November and will be in for another long stint in 2017 as he prepares to lead his country into the World Cup, but he is not complaining.