Huddersfield Giants

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Huddersfield Giants
Club information
Full name Huddersfield Giants
Rugby League Football Club
Nickname(s) The Giants
The Claret and Gold
Website Official site
Founded 1895; 126 years ago (1895)
Current details
Chairman Ken Davy
Head Coach Paul Anderson
Competition Super League
Rugby football current event.png Current season

Huddersfield Giants are an English professional rugby league club from Huddersfield,West Yorkshire, the birthplace of rugby league,who play in the Super League competition. They play their home games at the John Smith's Stadium which is shared with Huddersfield Town F.C.. Huddersfield is also one of the original twenty-two rugby clubs that formed the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895, making them one of the world's first rugby league teams. They have won 7 Championships and 6 Challenge Cups, but have not won a major trophy since 1962, some 53 years ago.

The club, particularly amongst older supporters, is sometimes referred to as Fartown, named after the ground and area of the town from which they came from,which they occupied up until 1992, which is located in the Fartown district of Huddersfield. The club was known as Huddersfield Barracudas from 1984–88 and Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants (after a merger with the original Sheffield Eagles) for the 2000 season.

They play in a distinctive strip of a claret shirt with thin gold hoops, claret shorts and claret and gold hooped socks and are currently sponsored by Bond It.[1] They have rivalries with Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos, Bradford Bulls, Halifax and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.


1848-1894: Foundation and early years

The earliest record of a football match being played in the Huddersfield area is in 1848, when a team of men from Hepworth took on a team of men from Holmfirth near Whnuil Bank in Holmfirth. Hepworth won a close fought game which "exhibited the usual amount of confusions, bloody noses, etc" and took the prize of £5 which had been jointly donated by each side.

There appears to have been no formal structure to sport in the Huddersfield area until the opening of the Apollo Gymnasium on 3 August 1850. At this time the gymnasium was the only venue in the town where young men could take part in physical activities, it offered the opportunity to participate in fencing, swimming, bowling, cricket and many other sports.

In 1864 the Apollo Gymnasium was turned into the Gymnasium Theatre. The athletes of the gymnasium responded by forming a more organised athletics association. In an advertisement headed "Huddersfield Athletic Club" they invited "gentlemen desirous of becoming members" to a public meeting at 8 o'clock on the evening of 16 November 1864 at the Queen Hotel. The meeting went ahead, a hundred names were registered and a committee was formed. Within a month a new gymnasium was in service in a basement on Back John William Street.

On 27 January 1866 twenty members of the Huddersfield Athletic Club agreed to play a football match against twenty of the Huddersfield Rifle Corps at Rifle Field in Trinity Street. Although the result was a scoreless draw, a large crowd was attracted. In light of this, the Huddersfield Athletic Club agreed to start a football section which was to start at the beginning of December 1866. Initially the Huddersfield Athletic Club made no contribution to the support of the football club and each paying member was forced to pay a subscription of 2s 6d. As the football club grew, it became a useful recruiting tool for the Huddersfield Athletic Club. In 1869 six matches were played and by 1870 three of the club's players had been selected to represent Yorkshire. By 1872 there were so many players that a second team was formed.

The growth in popularity of the club and the need for better facilities led to the Huddersfield Athletic Club approaching St John's Cricket Club with a proposal to merge the two clubs. St John's Cricket Club had been formed in 1866 at Hillhouse and had moved to Fartown ground. By 1875, when amalgamation talks began, over £800 had been spent on developing the new ground. At a meeting on 27 November 1875, at the Thornhill Arms Inn the two clubs agreed to merge to form the Huddersfield Cricket and Athletics Club. The motion was passed by 55 votes to 37.

Initially the football section stayed at Rifle Field, but alterations made in the summer of 1878 meant that rugby could begin at the start of the 1878–79 season with the visit of Manchester Rangers on 2 November. The new ground would become the club's home for 114 years and would provide the club's famous "Fartown" nickname.

1895-1920s: Northern Union and golden years

In 1895 the club were founder members of the Northern Rugby Football Union, (later the Rugby Football League).

The club has seen many ups and downs in its long history, but for the first 60 years of rugby league it was one of the powerhouses of the game, with only Wigan as rivals in terms of trophies won.

Harold Wagstaff was only fifteen years and one hundred and seventy-five days old when he played his first match for Huddersfield, against Bramley in November 1906. At the time, he was the youngest first-team player the game had seen, he had signed on for a £5 signing-on fee.

Huddersfield beat the touring 1908–09 Kangaroos 5–3. They were impressed enough with stand-off Albert Rosenfeld to sign him up that evening along with Australian Dual Code International Pat Walsh one of the best forwards of the Kangaroos. Rosenfeld played his first game against Broughton Rangers on 11 September 1909.

The club's golden period came around the time of the First World War. The club was able to assemble a team of players from across the British Empire who swept all before them. Known as "The Team of All Talents", they were led by Harold Wagstaff and are still regarded as one of the finest football teams to have ever played. In the five years leading up to the First World War they won 13 trophies.

Two members of the team, centre Harold Wagstaff and wing Albert Rosenfeld were honoured by inclusion in the original Rugby League Hall of Fame. They were later joined by the Cumbrian second row Douglas Clark. Of just seventeen players to be elected to the Hall of Fame, no fewer than three were teammates in that famous Huddersfield side. In total, Huddersfield boast five representatives in the Hall of Fame, more than any other club.

The particular fame of "The Team of All Talents" sprung from their extraordinary three quarter play. In 1911–12, Rosenfeld became the first player to score more than 50 tries in a season – a feat previously thought to be impossible. That season he scored 78. His wing partner, Stan Moorhouse scored 52. In 1912–13, Rosenfeld scored 56, and then in 1913–14 he broke his own record with 80 tries, a record which stands to this day.

On 28 February 1914, the club defeated Swinton Park by a record 119–2 (Rosenfeld contributing 7 tries) in a Challenge Cup tie at Fartown. The record would stand until 26 November 1994 when the Huddersfield club broke their own World Record by defeating Blackpool Gladiators 142–4 in a Challenge Cup tie at the McAlpine Stadium – centre Greg Austin scoring 9 tries on his way to 52 tries that season, a world record for a centre. In the 1914–15 season they became only the second team to win "all four cups" when they lifted the Championship, the Challenge Cup, the Yorkshire Cup, and the Yorkshire League. Huddersfield's dominance prior to the First World War was such that they went unbeaten in 38 consecutive matches before the suspension of the league in 1915.

Huddersfield did not take part in the 1918–19 season. In the 1919–20 season, the first five games were won for a 43 match unbeaten run over six years which still stands as a record today. The unbeaten run consisted of 28 league matches, 8 Yorkshire Cup-ties, 5 Challenge Cup-ties and 2 League Championship play-offs. In addition, Huddersfield were drawing 8–8 in a Yorkshire Cup-tie that was abandoned because of fog and replayed.

The Yorkshire Cup and Yorkshire League trophies were already won when Huddersfield met Wigan in the Challenge Cup final which resulted in a 21–10 victory. Widnes were defeated in the Championship semi-final and Hull waited at Headingley as Huddersfield strove for a clean sweep of silverware. Huddersfield were missing five players who were touring Australasia with Great Britain and Hull won 3–2.

Albert Rosenfeld's last game for the club was on 2 April 1921, a cup-tie against Leeds.

Post war

In the first full season after the war, a new record transfer fee of £1,650 was set when Dewsbury bought full-back Bill Davies from Huddersfield.[2]

Huddersfield won the League Championship in 1949, beating Warrington 13–12 in the final at Maine Road in front of what was at the time a world record crowd of 75,194. This capitalised on a season which also brought home the Yorkshire League title.

The highest attendance at Fartown to watch a Huddersfield game was 32,912 against Wigan on 4 March 1950. More success followed in the 1950 season as Huddersfield retained the Yorkshire League title and reached another Championship final at Maine Road. However, on this occasion Wigan proved too strong, winning 20 points to 12. Huddersfield did, however, win the Yorkshire cup with a 16-3 victory over Castleford at Headingley.

On Saturday 17 November 1951, in an ordinary league game, Australian Lionel Cooper scored a club record ten tries, as Huddersfield defeated Keighley 48–3 at Fartown.

By the end of the 1950s, Huddersfield had won 3 Yorkshire cup finals, in 1950–51, 1952–53 and 1957–58, and the Challenge Cup final, in 1952–53. Huddersfield beat St Helens 15 – 10 in the 1953 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Wakefield Trinity beat Huddersfield 16–10 in the 1960 Yorkshire Cup final at Headingley, Leeds on 29 October 1960.[3]

In the 1961–62 season Huddersfield were beaten by Wakefield in the Challenge Cup final but then the following week fortunes were reversed and Huddersfield won the Championship play off final at Odsal. This is the last major trophy the club collected.

In 1962, the league was split into East and West of the Pennines; Huddersfield and Hull Kingston Rovers met at Headingley, Leeds in the first final of the Eastern Division Championship on Saturday 10 November 1962.

Reigning Champions Huddersfield were favourites to lift the Eastern Division title, especially as Rovers were missing five first choice players with injuries. The Robins, however, set the early pace and were 10–0 up after 30 minutes. Despite a rally by Huddersfield, Rovers hung on to win 13–10.

1970-1995: Decline and revival

By the 1970s, the club had become a shadow of its former self, the old Fartown ground had fallen into disrepair and the club frequently finished in the lower reaches of the league. Local businessman, John Bailey, took a controlling interest in the stadium, the club and the pavilion. In 1984, in an attempt to revive the club, Huddersfield adopted the moniker 'Barracudas' and Fartown was renamed Arena 84. As the crowds continued to stay away, it became clear that Bailey could not stem the decline.

Huddersfield Rugby League Club was on the point of collapse. A new board of directors took over in 1989 when and injected some much needed financial resources into the club. The 'Barracudas' and 'Arena 84' were dropped for the 1988–89 season. Nigel Stephenson was appointed as coach and Huddersfield were helped by several clubs, in particular Featherstone Rovers, to put a reasonable squad together. As well as beginning to improve the playing staff, the new owners also carried out a considerable amount of work on the Fartown stadium and by the end of the 1989–90 season significant progress was being made. Average crowds topped 1,500 for the first time since the 1970s.

Shortly after the 1991–92 season had begun, Alex Murphy took over as coach in 1991. Huddersfield were the first ever champions of the newly formed third division in 1991–92. Promotion to the Second Division had been achieved, and there was pride once again in the famous claret and gold jersey. The expense of this achievement cost the club dearly and a new financial crisis arrived. However, along came a bright new consortium who began to shape the future of the club once again. The club left Fartown and moved to Huddersfield Town's home ground at Leeds Road in 1992.

In 1993 six teams were invited to take part in an inaugural European Clubs Championship, the six teams consisted of two from the USSR; Tiraspol and Moscow Magicians, two from France; AS Carcassonne and XIII Catalan and Batley Bulldogs and Huddersfield. Only weeks before departure the plans collapsed as both Soviet clubs pulled out due to financial difficulties, closely followed by Batley, Carcassonne who had just five players available due to a players’ strike. This left just Huddersfield and XIII Catalan to meet in the "final" in Barcelona. The lead changed hands three times before Huddersfield held on for a 23–22 victory.

Huddersfield were promoted as 3rd Division Champions in April 1993 but the receiver was called in, in May 1994. Huddersfield took a share in the new McAlpine Stadium (now known as John Smith's Stadium) in 1994. In March 1994, Huddersfield went into administration and the receivers sacked Murphy as coach.

In 1995 the first team reached the final of the Second Division premiership competition at Old Trafford.

1996-1998: Summer era

In 1996, the first tier of British rugby league clubs played the inaugural Super League season and changed from a winter to a summer season.[4] As the sport in Britain entered a new era it would be two years before Huddersfield rose again to the top level of the game. Ken Davy took over as chairman of Huddersfield and "Giants" was added to the team name.

Steve Ferres took over as coach. Garry Schofield joined Huddersfield for a six-figure sum. Ken Davy’s first trophy came in 1997 at Old Trafford where Huddersfield beat Hull 18–0 in the Divisional Championship at Old Trafford. In 1998, due to the collapse of Paris St Germain the club was promoted to Super League despite only finishing second in the second division. After helping the Giants into Super League, Schofield took over the coaching reins replacing Steve Ferres with Huddersfield saying that they needed a full-time coaching staff. [1]

However, dark days continued, the team struggled to compete, winning only a handful of games. Garry Schofield was removed as Huddersfield Giants coach after 13 games, having picked up two wins. Schofield was replaced by his assistant Phil Veivers as caretaker coach. Schofield later successfully sued the club for unfair dismissal. Interestingly, it took Huddersfield's next three coaches more than 13 games to register two wins, with the club so far off the pace in their early Super League years.

1999-2000: Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants

Mal Reilly then took over with Veivers back as assistant coach. Huddersfield finished bottom of Super League and Reilly was sacked at the end of the season.[5] In late 1999, the club merged with Sheffield Eagles almost purely for financial reasons. Sheffield coach John Kear took over as head coach of the merged side. They were officially known as the Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants, but more popularly as 'Shuddersfield'. The Association of Premiership Clubs blocked proposals for a separate Huddersfield team in the Northern Ford Premiership.[6] They played two home games in Sheffield at Bramall Lane with the others in Huddersfield, the away strip was in the Sheffield Eagles colours. In the 2000 season Huddersfield-Sheffield won only four games, three of them against rivals Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. This arrangement lasted only a season before the Huddersfield name was reverted to, due to rejection from both sets of fans. In the four seasons between 1998 and 2001, they lost 81 times in 99 matches, avoiding relegation for a variety of reasons.

File:Hudds 2006.jpg
Huddersfield Giants in the 2006 Challenge Cup Final

John Kear was sacked as coach and Veivers had a second spell as interim coach.

2001-2004: Relegation

Little-known Australian Tony Smith was appointed as coach for the 2001 season after a rigorous process. This did not seem to have any effect as the club lost the first 14 matches of the season, culminating in a 78-point embarrassment by Bradford Bulls. This low point became a pivotal day for the club, however. The club won 6 and drew one of the remaining 14 games, only finishing bottom of the table after Wakefield's appeal against a 4-point salary cap deduction was successful. Widnes Vikings won the NFP competition that year and the club was seen to be fit to play in Super League. The Giants were finally relegated after their best season in Super League.

In 2002 Huddersfield Giants remained a full-time professional team despite playing in the Northern Ford Premiership. The club went unbeaten for the entire league season, drawing only one match and winning a record equalling 29 games. Along the way the team accumulated 1,156 points to equal the record for points in a league season achieved in 8 more games by Leigh in 1986. The team won the Buddies Cup, as it was then known, and also the NFP Grand Final against Leigh in October 2002, which secured promotion back to the Super League for the 2003 season.

File:Giants 2006.jpg
Huddersfield following their defeat to St Helens in the 2006 Challenge Cup Final

In 2003 under Smith, the Giants established themselves as a Super League club, finishing 10th, above Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Halifax Blue Sox. After guiding the Giants back to Super League, Smith and assistant coach Brian McDermott moved onto Headingley to take control of the Leeds Rhinos. St Helens assistant coach and former Hull forward Jon Sharp was appointed head coach for 2004 and the team improved again, finishing 7th in the league and making their first appearance in the Challenge Cup semi-finals since 1971.

2005-2009: Resurgence

The beginning of the 2005 Super League season saw the club make its highest-profile signing in fifty years when Australian centre Michael De Vere signed from the Brisbane Broncos, becoming the club's first Australian international player since Pat Devery in the 1950s.

For the kick off of the 2006 season the club unveiled a host of new signings to strengthen the squad, including the iconic New Zealand international scrum-half Robbie Paul. After a convincing victory over Salford in the quarter final, the Giants faced Leeds Rhinos (ironically coached by Tony Smith) in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford. Against all the odds, massive underdogs Huddersfield pulled out what is regarded as possibly their best performance of modern times, Stuart Donlan and Chris Nero with 2 tries apiece and Michael De Vere with a try and five goals steering them to a 30–12 victory. Huddersfield lost the 2006 Challenge Cup Final to eventual Super League champions St Helens 42–12, but the performance heralded the best Huddersfield achievement since 1970.

The start of the 2007 season saw the Giants make some exciting signings, including Wests Tigers trio, Jamahl Lolesi, John Skandalis and Shane Elford, as well as Ryan Hudson. The season started horrendously for the Giants in terms of results. After seven consecutive losses they found themselves marooned at the foot of the table, 5 points adrift, but ironically with the second best defence in the league. Large sections of the fans began to question the coach's ability and as a result crowds began to dwindle and morale was beginning to suffer.

By the end of May, the picture was totally different. The Giants had a Challenge Cup quarter-final to look forward to and had been on their longest ever winning streak since joining the Super League, nine games including two wins in the Challenge Cup including a 36–12 victory over Bradford Bulls in front of the Sky Television cameras on 18 May, the Giants first victory over the Bulls since joining the top flight.[7] In addition, John Sharp was named consecutively as Coach of the Month for April[8] and May[9]

The Giants' winning run came to an unexpected end in a shock 14–12 defeat by Salford City Reds at the Willows. They had been overwhelming favourites with fans and bookies. Following the 2006 Challenge Cup Final appearance, Giants continued their progress by beating Wakefield for the 9th consecutive occasion to qualify for the play-offs for the first time and a match against Hull at the KC Stadium, which was lost 22–16.

The opening 2 matches in 2008 were lost, to Leeds Rhinos and to Bradford Bulls. However the 3rd match saw Sharp's team beat Castleford Tigers 64-12. After a 48-0 loss to Catalan Dragons and a run of disappointing results, Sharp's contract was terminated by the Giants. Following Sharp's departure from the club in 2008, Kieron Purtill had a brief spell as caretaker coach alongside Paul Anderson.

Club chairman Ken Davy brought in a new head coach, Nathan Brown, and a new set of new players for the 2009 season. New signing Brett Hodgson went on to win the Super League Man of Steel award and the Giants also picked up awards for Club of the year and Coach of the year. The Giants finishing 3rd in the league and managing to reach the final of the Challenge Cup where they lost 25–16 to league rivals Warrington Wolves, the team responded to their cup defeat by finishing the season in 3rd place but lost in the play-offs twice. Firstly to St Helens away from home and then at home to Catalans Dragons.

2010-present: League Leaders

After yet another promising recruitment drive from Huddersfield Giants, they were yet again tipped to make big strides in the Super League in 2012. This season really proved as a roller-coaster ride for the "Fartown Faithful" who saw their team go from 1st in Super League to finishing 7th and yet again failing to make an impact on the play-offs. After a poor dip in form Ken Davy decided it was time for change and terminated the contracts of coach Nathan Brown and captain Kevin Brown. Paul Anderson was given the task of finishing the season as best as possible.

In 2013, Huddersfield Giants won the League Leader's Shield, the first time they have finished top of the league in 81 years. 5 of the team were selected for the Super League Dream Team, more than any other club.[10]

In 2014 the club celebrates the 100th anniversary of the legendary "Team of all Talents who won All Four Cups in 1914, by playing in heritage shirts to commemorate the feat [11]


1878-1992: Fartown Ground

Fartown was originally a cricket ground before being occupied by Huddersfield Giants in 1878. It hosted two Challenge Cup finals in 1908 and 1910 and hosted one football match. During the 1980s the stadium fell into disrepair as Huddersfield struggled to attract crowds. Huddersfield left Fartown in 1992 but still used it as a training ground until 2004 and it still hosts amateur games.

1992-1994: Leeds Road

Huddersfield ground shared with Huddersfield Town at Leeds Road from 1992 to 1994.

1994-Present: John Smith's Stadium

In 1994 Huddersfield took a share in the then named McAlpine Stadium with Huddersfield Town after they both moved from Leeds Road. The stadium has hosted Challenge Cup semi finals on multiple occasions.

Kit sponsors and manufacturers

Year Kit Manufacturer Sponsor
2000 Stag Friends Provident
2001-2002 Logitog
2003 Outwear Longly Park Kia
2004 Microworld Computers
2005-2007 University of Huddersfield
2008-2010 KooGa
2011 Carboodle
2012 Q-Connect
2013- Bond It

Coaching roster

2016 squad

2016 Huddersfield Giants
First team squad Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coach

  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 18 December 2015
Source(s): 2016 Squad Numbers



Player records

  • Most tries in a match: 10 by Lionel Cooper vs Keighley, 17 November 1951
  • Most goals in a match: 19 by Major Holland vs Swinton Park, 28 February 1914
  • Most points in a match: 39 by Major Holland vs Swinton Park, 28 February 1914
  • Most tries in a season: 80 by Albert Rosenfeld, 1913–14
  • Most goals in a season: 148 by Danny Brough, 2013
  • Most points in a season: 332 by Danny Brough, 2013

Team records

  • Highest score: 142–4 vs Blackpool Gladiators, 26 November 1994
  • Highest attendance: 32,912 vs Wigan, League, at Fartown, 4 March 1950
  • Highest attendance (neutral game): 35,136 Leeds vs Wakefield Trinity, RL Challenge Cup Semi-Final, at Fartown, 19 April 1947
  • Most amount of consecutive wins in Super League: 8 Games (2013).

All time records

  • Most tries by any player in a season: 80 by Albert Rosenfeld, 1913–14
  • Most tries by a centre in a season: 52 by Greg Austin, 1994–95
  • Most tries by a centre in a game: 9 by Greg Austin, vs Blackpool Gladiators, 26 November 1994
  • Highest score: 142–4 vs Blackpool Gladiators, as above
  • Highest winning margin: 138 vs Blackpool Gladiators, as above
  • Longest unbeaten run: 43 matches, 1914–1919
  • Unbeaten in a season: 28 games (27 wins, 1 draw), 2001–02
  • Most points scored in a season: 1,156, 2001–2002

Players earning international caps while at Huddersfield

Other notable players

These players have either; won Challenge Cup, Rugby Football League Championship, Yorkshire Cup, Yorkshire League, played during Super League, have received a Testimonial match, or were international representatives before, or after, their time at Huddersfield.

The following is a list of Huddersfield rugby league players that have been inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame (in alphabetical order):


  2. Collins, Tony (2006). Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain: A Social and Cultural History. United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 87.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Hoole, Les (2004). Wakefield Trinity RLFC – FIFTY GREAT GAMES. Breedon Books. ISBN 1-85983-429-9
  4. Dave Hadfield (20 December 1995). "Rugby's pounds 87m deal gives Murdoch transfer veto". London: The Independent. Retrieved 6 May 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Giants sued by former coach". BBC News. 13 December 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hadfield, Dave (27 November 1999). "Attempted revival of Don Valley club hits the buffers". The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Huddersfield 36–12 Bradford". BBC News. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 18 May 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Award is for all the club, says Sharp. Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved on 25 April 2007.
  9. Going Wild!. Huddersfield Daily Examiner. Retrieved on 25 May 2007.
  10. "Super League: Huddersfield Giants 40-0 Wakefield". BBC Sport. BBC. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 18 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Wakefield Win Cup. British Pathé. 1962. Retrieved 18 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "…and win at Crystal Palace". 31 December 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links