Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

■■Leeds for­ward Ste­vie Ward says play­ing in to­mor­row’s World Club Chal­lenge will help make up for the dis­ap­point­ment of miss­ing the World Cup.

The 24-year-old se­cond rower made a re­mark­able re­cov­ery from a dis­lo­cated shoul­der to help the Rhi­nos beat Castle­ford in Oc­to­ber’s Bet­fred Su­per League Grand Fi­nal.

But he was forced to un­dergo shoul­der surgery within days of the Old Traf­ford de­cider which ruled him out of Eng­land’s trip Down Un­der.

Ward ac­tu­ally went to Aus­tralia for a hol­i­day dur­ing his re­cu­per­a­tion and ad­mits Eng­land’s valiant dis­play in push­ing the Kan­ga­roos right to the last whis­tle in the fi­nal whet­ted his ap­petite for his in­ter­na­tional de­but.

“Watch­ing the boys and see­ing how close we came does make me want to be part of it in the fu­ture,” he said.

“Of course I was gut­ted about miss­ing the World Cup but it’s a new sea­son, it’s a new chal­lenge and it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to go over for the World Club Chal­lenge, and within the space of a week too.”

Ward made his come­back in last Thurs­day’s 20-11 win over Hull KR. ■■France in­ter­na­tional Tony Gigot has signed a new con­tract with Cata­lans af­ter hav­ing a two-year sus­pen­sion over­turned.

The 27-year-old full-back last week over­turned a two-year ban im­posed by the French Anti-Dop­ing Agency for an “in­ap­pro­pri­ate ex­change” with a test­ing of­fi­cer in 2016.

The ban, ini­tially re­duced to three months on ap­peal, was reim­posed last Au­gust, forc­ing Gigot to miss Cata­lans’ suc­cess­ful bid to sal­vage their place in the Bet­fred Su­per League as well as the 2017 World Cup. ■■Hull KR are ex­pected to give a de­but to back row for­ward Danny Tickle in their home meet­ing with Cata­lans Dragons tonight.

Tickle comes in for James Green­wood, who is ruled out with a head knock, while Liam Sal­ter is set to re­place An­drew Hef­fer­nan, who is also side­lined with con­cus­sion. JAKE MAMO is look­ing to build on his per­for­mance as Hud­der­s­field Gi­ants notched their first win of the Su­per League sea­son against War­ring­ton Wolves.

The Gi­ants re­sponded to their open­ing-day de­feat at Hull FC with a 20-6 win at the John Smith’s Sta­dium against the Wolves, and the 23-year-old full­back is aim­ing to con­tinue his im­prov­ing form.

“On a per­sonal level, I was much hap­pier with the per­for­mance, no er­rors were def­i­nitely my fo­cus,” said Mamo.

“On a team level we weren’t per­fect, you’re never go­ing to be per­fect, but as a whole we made a lot fewer er­rors and gave a lot fewer penal­ties away.

“The de­fence was the most pleas­ing thing about the game.

“There were plenty of times that we had re­peat sets but we dug deep.

“We weren’t per­fect, there were a few line breaks but we scram­bled and kept them to one try with the kick, which was good.”

The Gi­ants next game is an­other home Su­per League out­ing against St He­lens on Fri­day, Fe­bru­ary 23, and Mamo feels the early-sea­son fo­cus has to be build­ing from solid de­fen­sive dis­plays.

“I think our fo­cus af­ter the Hull game was on de­fence for the en­tire week and that’s where it re­ally needs to be for us,” ex­plained the for­mer New­cas­tle Knights player.

“As a team we score tries just off ran­dom play and we have the in­di­vid­u­als to be able to do that.

“The fo­cus needed to be on the de­fence and then af­ter that we can score some ran­dom tries and win some games.

“We worked hard for the whole game against War­ring­ton, and we have St He­lens next week, so we will be fo­cus­ing on the de­fence and it’ll be a de­fence­based game, es­pe­cially at the start of the sea­son – it’s im­por­tant.

“With the squad Saints have got they’re go­ing to be a tough op­po­si­tion through­out the whole year at the top.

“Blokes like Ben Barba com­ing off an NRL Grand Fi­nal win, that was a cou­ple of years ago now, but still the qual­ity player that he is and what he is de­liv­er­ing, ac­com­pa­nied with half of the other play­ers they’ve got, they will be formidable.

“I think we’ll leave the game­plan up to the coaches, let them de­cide that! Strong de­fence and to score tries, that’s my game­plan for the team.”

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