3 DAYS UNTIL SUPER LEAGUE! Wearing the number 3 shirt this year is a local lad, England international, and captain of the Giants, Leroy Cudjoe! In his 18 games last year, Leroy was huge for us in both attack and defence, getting 6 tries, setting up 8 more, averaging just under 100m and 23 tackles per game. While he's unfortunately set to miss the early games in his testimonial year as he recovers from knee surgery, we can't wait to see him back on the field in our Super League 2018 campaign.
We caught up with Leroy and asked him a few questions about his thoughts on 2017, his ambitions for 2018 and his return from injury
Hi Leroy. The team's 3 months into preseason now, how have things been going? Preseason has been going really well, a few of the boys came in early and got some quality work done before the senior boys returned. Everyone's been training really well and the strength & conditioning team are very pleased with the lads. When the world cup players got back we really started focusing on combinations a lot, with more team stuff before going into the season.
Last year was an inconsistent one for the Giants, what are the club hoping to achieve in 2018? Inconsistent is certainly one word to describe how we performed last year, which is disappointing. We were very poor early on in the year, and towards the back end when we were low on experienced bodies we had a lot of youngsters playing, which I believe has done them the world of good in the long term. That middle part of our season where we went on a good run was very pleasing, those performances are the ones we're needing to be doing all year round, regardless off who is playing for us. For me, us becoming consistent is a must.
It's fair to say 2017 was a mixed bag for you. You were awarded the captaincy, were involved in 14 tries, but missed a lot of games to injury. How's the recovery coming along, and what are your goals for 2018? Being awarded the captaincy was a massive honour and I was buzzing to lead the boys, but it was hard doing this while struggling with a knee injury pretty much all season. It did get better at certain stages of the year but was always there to some degree. But as a team we got into the top 8 and weren't far off the top 4 so that was pleasing. I had a major knee operation after the Castleford game which was devastating but that's rugby. A few months on and I'm going really well, the surgeon is very happy with it so far which is pleasing. My goals for next year are just to get back fit and stay injury-free to give me the best chance of getting back to my best and performing well every week.
The conditioning team was going through a few changes this time last year, and the club found themselves dealing with injuries throughout 2017. Do you think having a more settled backroom team will help the club going forward? Last year we had our conditioner leave towards the end of preseason which isn't ideal, but Kane Daniels has been a part of the club a while now. He's a quality trainer and that showed with the way things smoothly transferred over with no issues. Injuries is one thing the medical team and S&C team will be looking at reducing and they have put a few things in place, but injuries are part and parcel of the the game and that's why you need good squads - which I believe we have.
If you had to sum up your expectations for our 2018 season in 3 words, what would you say? To become better - we must become better in everything we do as a team and individuals if we want to improve and become a consistent team playing the big games. And from looking at the way preseason has been, I believe we are doing that.
As well as our five, we took questions from you, the Giants fans, on Twitter and Facebook, and passed them onto Leroy. Check it out here: Five (fan) questions with Leroy Cudjoe