As Super League 2020 kicks off, there's just time to take one last look at the decade just gone, and check out the Giants team of the last 10 years, as voted for by you! 38 players were shortlisted, ranging from the seasoned pros, who finished off their careers as the decade began, to the youngsters who impressed us, and who still have their best years ahead of them.
Here is your 2010 Giants Team of the Decade, as chosen by the fans!
With 75% of the vote, Brett Hodgson was your clear frontrunner for the #1 spot. Following his Man of Steel win in 2009, Brett went on to have another top season for the club in 2010, playing in 23 games, picking up 2 tries, 84 goals and 178 points in total. While this season would prove to be his last, he was instrumental in what turned out to be a very successful season for the club, leading us to our first Super League Semi Final of the decade.
Without a doubt the safest bet of the bunch, Jermaine McGillvary was the only person to receive a vote in 100% of entries. And what a decade it's been for our hometown hero! Starting out in 2010 with the number #27 shirt, he had to wait until round 16 for his first-team debut, and - to borrow a phrase from his time at Batley - it's been all uphill from there. After winning the Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year medal in 2011, he went on to make 244 appearances for the club in the 2010s, just one game shy of topping the appearance list. He really started to show the world his potential in 2015, finishing as Super League's top try-scorer and making his debut for England and Great Britain, remaining a key member of the international set-up to this day.
You can't do a team of the decade without Cudjillvary. Leroy Cudjoe started out the 2010s as a promising youngster, and ended it club captain. Despite a tough struggle with injuries over the past two years, he's one of five players to make over 200 appearances in the decade (234, to be exact), setting up countless tries and scoring 96 tries for himself. One in particular sticks out in the memory...
The highlight of Leroy's decade would almost certainly be lifting the League Leaders' Shield for the Giants. Right next to him in the centres that night was Joe Wardle, or "Jordle" as he (probably) likes to be called. After signing from the club formerly known as Bradford in 2011, Joe went on to play 158 times for the Giants. While he never really found his feet in the same way at Newcastle or Cas, he's always been at his best for us. These days he's more at home in the pack, and lets his little brother set up the wingers on his behalf. But he was huge for us in the centres back in the day, picking up a clean sweep as Players', Coaches' and Fans' Player of the Year back in 2014. But for all his tries, big hits, and all the good he did, there's one highlight we keep coming back to. Let's be honest, you already know what it is.
While it's clear you wanted Aaron Murphy in your team, it's hard to pick just one position for him. He held the #5 shirt for 5 years, but throughout that time he was played at full back on more than one occasion, and spent his later years as a back in the centres. Surprisingly, he was named in the back row for our 2018 Magic Weekend game, but didn't look out of place for one minute, picking up the opening try and being voted Man of the Match. Since then, he's put in big shifts in the back row, in the centres, and at loose forward, and received votes from you in all of those positions, but it was on the wing where he really made a name for himself, and where he picked up 80% of his votes!
Netting the second-most votes of any player in this poll (with only one person not picking him in their team), who else could it be. Danny Brough was behind the vast majority of what went right at the Giants in the 2010s, not least in 2013, when the club finished top of Super League. In that year, he pulled off a clean sweep of Player of the Year awards, he made the Super League Dream Team, and most impressively, lifted the Man of Steel trophy for his efforts. While he was one vote behind McGillvary in your choices, he was one appearance ahead, playing 245 times in the Claret of Gold, the most of any player in the 2010s
While Danny had the flair and drew a lot of the attention, anyone who paid attention to the Giants in the 2010s will tell you he was only half of the winning formula, and was always at his best when alongside Luke Robinson. Robbo signed for the Giants in 2008, and spent the decade alternating between halfback and hooker, making 168 appearances for the club. One of the toughest blokes you'll see play the game, he might well still be playing for the side, but he was sadly forced to retire through injury in 2016. Since then, he's joined the coaching staff, and after leading the Academy side to their first ever semi final, he now has the role of Woolford's deputy in the first team
There are very few names in world sport that are as synonymous with their clubs as Eorl Crabtree is to the Giants. At the start of the decade, he was already 9 years into his Huddersfield career, but still went on to make 200 appearances for the Claret and Gold in the 2010s alone, bringing his career total up to 423. His 400th game was one of the lesser-talked-about highlights of the decade for me. The Giants faced Castleford in the run up to the play-offs and walked away with a comfortable win, with our long-serving #8 getting our eighth try of the night. Since retiring in 2016, Eorl has been inducted to the club's hall of fame and has continued working within the Giants as a club ambassador, and has well and truly earned the title of Mr Huddersfield
Yet another member of our 2013 league winning side, Shaun Lunt was a major part of the spine that saw us become one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the early part of the decade. Fresh from his Challenge Cup Final try for the Giants in 2009, Shaun stuck with the us for the next 5 years (albeit with one season on loan at Leeds). His speed from dummy half gave us an unpredictability in attack, and with more votes than the other 5 nominees combined, there's no doubting he was our hooker of the decade
The votes were split almost 50/50 on whether you wanted Ukuma Ta'ai at prop or second row. But there's no question you wanted the Tongan powerhouse in your team, and it's not surprising. After three years with the New Zealand Warriors, Ukuma joined the Giants for our huge 2013 season and has been causing trouble for defences ever since. 46 tries and 186 games into his Huddersfield career and still going strong, he quickly established himself as a fan favourite, and arguably, one of the most underrated players of the decade.
Look, there's no getting away from it, things didn't end well between the Giants and Brett Ferres. Some unsavoury off-field drama saw them part ways right before the season began, leaving the Giants unprepared for an exceptionally difficult season, and Brett at a new club where he never really found his feet. But looking at his on-field record, he was an exceptional servant to the Claret and Gold. Yet another key member of our 2013 squad, some of the attacking moves that came from a Brough -> Ferres -> Wardle -> Murphy combo were virtually unplayable.
These days, you often hear fans talk about a lack of aggression in our side. They'll say we need someone who can get in the opposition's faces, and get under their skin. To this day, more often than not, this thought is finished with the words: "Someone like Luke O'Donnell". One of only two players in this 13-man squad to depart before our 2013 season, Luke certainly wasn't afraid to get stuck in to the opposition, and despite only making 27 Super League appareances, he developed a reputation as one of the toughest forwards in the game, and even featured for the Exiles in the 2011 Origin match
Rounding out our starting 13 is Ryan Hinchcliffe. While his first season for us at hooker wasn't anything spectacular, his move back to his preferred loose forward spot was a revelation, as he proved to be one of the most consistent and dependable players in the side. While he was underappreciated outside of the John Smiths over these two years (it's absolutely criminal he didn't make the Dream Team!), Ryan featured in 61 games of a possible 63, he was one of only two players (alongside Danny Houghton) to make over 1000 tackles both years running and retired in 2018, taking the Supporters' Player of the Year award back to Melbourne with him
While we only let you choose your starting 13, here's four honourable mentions who were unlucky to narrowly miss out on a place.
With McGillvary the only player to receive votes in 100% of entries, and with everything Aaron Murphy has done for the club, it's remarkable how close David Hodgson came to making your starting 13, in fact he was one of only two players on the bench to receive more votes than some players in the starting squad. No relation to Brett, David began the decade with the #5 shirt after two top years with the club. He missed just two games in 2010, and played 21 times for the club the following year, scoring 30 tries across this two-year period, before signing with his boyhood club, Hull KR.
Only one other player on the bench managed to get more votes than a player from our 13-man squad, and I'm sure many of you will be amazed he's been left as an interchange. David Faiumu was the very definition of a fan's favourite. Famous for his quick feet and lethal sidestep, Fuey was an exhilirating player to watch, and even picked up the 2010 Players' Player of the year award. He missed out on our starting 13 by just a few votes, with his selections split almost 50/50 between hooker and loose forward.
If Fuey was the king of the sidestep, Sebastine Ikahihifo was the king of the offload and the tackle bust. At his best, he was a nightmare for defences, and while he rarely played big minutes, even in short bursts he had the ability to turn a game on its head. 2017 saw him at his absolute best, picking up a clean sweep at the Giants fan awards and even making the Super League Dream Team
And finally, rounding out the bench is our fifth and final member of the 200 club. In his 237 appearances in the 2010s, perhaps nobody has covered more ground than our very own Michael Lawrence. It's crazy to think he started out the season as a winger, having also played at centre, second row, prop and loose forward, and not once looking out of place. One of the most reliable pairs of hands in the game and a monster in defence, Bruno even captained the side in Leroy's absence for the majority of the 2019 season. Not a bad way to end a decade.