Ian Watson questions quality and effort of Huddersfield Giants squad after Warrington Wolves humiliation

Ian Watson delivered an action-packed post-match address following Huddersfield Giants' dire performance in defeat to Warrington Wolves. The Giants were thrashed 48-0, their eighth defeat in nine games, which only added further scrutiny to Watson's position at the club.

In an impassioned interview, Watson admitted this current period was the toughest in his coaching career before stating the Giants squad was neither working hard enough nor of the same level of quality compared to a number of their Super League rivals.

The Giants are now six points adrift of the play-offs, with sixth-placed Catalans currently having a game in hand. They finished ninth in the competition last year, but when asked if he felt he could get the best out of the squad, Watson responded: "I just think collectively, everyone has to decide that they want to do something.

"I think sometimes we think our squad is better than what it is. We had a great squad in 2022, but it got pulled apart, we had to start again. In 2023, we lost more players, we had to start again this year. We're probably starting with younger players, but nobody wants to wait and see things mature in five or six years; they want to win now. And I'm the same; I want to win now, but it's tough. Unless you're signing players at the levels these, Wigan and St Helens have got, it's tough."

Watson added: "I think this club is different. From the outside, I'll be honest, I thought it was different, I thought I was coming to a top-four setup. Look at our squads, put them on paper next to St Helens, put them next to Wigan, next to Catalans or next to Leeds. Look at the levels of player, or the internationals, the champions in that squad. Look at Leigh and I know they're in a tough position, but they're probably not getting the barrage we're getting. But Ricky Leutele, NRL Grand Final, Challenge Cup winner now, Zak Hardaker, John Asiata, Lachlan Lam, Moylan—they're unbelievable levels of players, and that makes a massive difference in a competition like this.

"What you've got to know and understand is that you might not have the best players, but you've got to work harder than everybody else to get what you want to do, and at this moment in time, I don't think we're working hard enough."

Watson said any decisions over his future at the club would be made by other people at the club, but he admitted the current situation was killing him.

"If that comes to it, I can't control any of that; that's for other people to kind of decide on the back end of that. But the way I've generally handled things, some things, like some of the younger players coming in, are small wins for me. As a coach, it's really mad how you look at it. We're in the position we are, one out of eight, yet Aidan McGowen is making his debut and Jack Billington is potentially getting out there. They're little wins, to see how they've developed with the coaching you've given them.

"You look at some of the other young players like Sam Halsall and Elliot Wallis, they've made errors. Young players are going to make errors. Sam Hewitt and Harry Rushton—are they going to get better? Yes, but they're not currently at George Williams' level. They're going to make errors, but what they have to have is the resilience to work for each other. There are some good guys in there who are going to be good players.

"Does that mean I'm going to get fired on the back end of it? We'll see that it's for someone else to make a call on that. I love what I do, I'm passionate about winning, and I want to win. This kills you, when you're in this kind of position, if you're being real honest. Is it stressful? It kills you, absolutely smashes your brain."

He went on to add: "The way I've felt over the last ten weeks, yeah. It's the toughest period. The thing I'd say about Salford, and again, I'm coming back to players, I'm not being derogatory, there were some champion guys there, just in the way they carried themselves, the way they were. But they understood what the club was about, they understood what we were about and they all bought into that."

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