In the first of a three-part series ahead of our 2024 Super League opener in Leigh, in which we also cover the forwards and the spine, in this piece we're looking at the Giants' outside backs: seeing where we fell short in 2023 and where we can hope to see improvement in 2024

2023 - Big Shoes To fill

There were undoubtedly some significant changes to our back line coming into the 2023 season.
In 2022, we were fortunate enough to have a reasonable amount of consistency, at least for the first part of the year. Right up until McGillvary's season-ending injury at the hands of Morgan Knowles, our outside backs were pretty settled - Jerry and Leroy on the right, Innes and Leutele on the left. There had been a few absences here and there, but in those opening 23 games, those four players had made at least 18 appearances each, almost entirely in their preferred positions. As well as making consistent appearances, these four found themselves in outstanding form. Innes had his best season to date, McGillvary and Cudjoe looked back to their best, and Letuele was arguably the best outside back in the league. Such was the form of Leroy and Leutele that Jake Wardle - who went on to have a fantastic 2023 at Wigan - couldn't force his way into the side.
Looking at those names in 2023 and it's a different story. On the wing Innes Senior fell out of favour, and McGillvary spent large parts of the season injured. Worse yet, none of our centres from the previous year would return to the role. Leutele and Wardle left, King's loan period ended, and Leroy spent most of the season playing in the pack (with the occasional game on the wing).
With such major changes, there was a lot of pressure on our four new outside backs to match the high standards set in 2022, but the results were...a mixed bag. There were positives: Naiqama rolled back the years and Halsall was sensational for such a young player, with the two combining for 25 tries in their debut seasons. But sadly it was a different story for Esan Marsters and Jake Bibby. While Marsters was occasionally impressive with the ball in hand (leading the way for metres and offloads), defensive lapses were all too common for both players, with neither one able to live up to the high standards set by their predecessors.
So what can we expect this year?


  • Jermaine McGillvary (Wakefield)
  • Innes Senior (Castleford)


  • Adam Swift (Hull FC)
  • Elliot Wallis (Castleford)
  • Connor Carr (promoted from Academy side)

2024 - Picking Up The Pace

In his ten years wearing the #2 shirt, McGillvary set the bar very high. While injuries disrupted him in recent years, Jerry became a fan favourite for his work ethic, his bulldozing carries and his impressive tryscoring record. The pressure is on, but there's reason for optimism when we look at his replacement. Adam Swift is a proven tryscorer with big game experience - having won a Super League title at St Helens - and has a great balance of power and speed when he carries the ball. If we're going to have a good season, expect him to climb the try tally.
Assuming a fully-fit squad, you'd expect Swift, Halsall and Naiqama to be three of our starting outside backs, with the fourth spot very much up for grabs. With Halsall having spent almost all of 2023 on the wing, you'd be forgiven for expecting a two-horse race between Marsters and Bibby to take the vacant centre spot, but with reports that Halsall has been training at centre, that may not be the case....enter: Elliot Wallis.
Elliot is a relatively inexperienced youngster, and I imagine I was not alone in assuming he'd be "one for the future" when he signed from Castleford. But after an impressive preseason which saw him score in all three games, he's made a very strong case for his inclusion.
That said, it's important to remember that while Bibby and Marsters didn't have ideal debut seasons, they are by no means bad players. Marsters really did have some solid moments in 2023, both at Huddersfield and for the Cook Islands in the Pacific Championship; and Bibby has won both the League Leaders Shield and the Challenge Cup (against us, annoyingly), and came agonisingly close to winning the Grand Final in 2020, scoring Wigan's only try, before the famous after-the-hooter winner from Jack Welsby. Competition for places is always a good thing, and it's now up to the individuals to prove their worth.