Written by Callum Walker
Since joining the Huddersfield Giants back in 2017, Lee Gaskell has been one of the club’s lynchpins on the field. Of course, end-of-season finishes of 8th, 6th and 10th in the past three seasons respectively, have not been exactly been what Gaskell and the club would have wanted since the halfback joined, but signs that Simon Woolford is slowly but surely turning things around were evident at the start of this season.
Four wins from their opening five games had lifted Huddersfield to fifth with the second-best defence in the league – a massive contrast to 2019 when they ended the season with the second-worst.
The club and Gaskell had been in talks over a new contract – with the 29-year-old’s current deal coming to an end at the of the season – but of course the recent lockdown has put any such plans on hold.
Gaskell’s partnership at halfback with new signing and new captain Aidan Sezer has been seamless and the duo have played a major part in the Giants’ great start to the 2020 season. With Sezer leading proceedings around the field, it’s given Gaskell a new lease of life to play his own game – and it’s clearly working.
What is different about this Huddersfield side to any other in Super League is the way in which both halves share the workload and rotate from right to left. Whilst most halfback partnerships work with their own set edges – the right or the left – Gaskell and Sezer have looked increasingly comfortable performing on both and during games it has been interesting and thrilling to see this in action.
With Sezer attracting multiple defenders with his brilliant ball-handling skills, it has enabled Gaskell to operate in space – where his elusive running game is most dangerous.
The former St Helens utility back has had his fair share of injuries at the Giants with several niggly injuries keeping him on the sidelines for various spells. Indeed, the halfback played 22 games in 2019 before getting injured. He came back a week too early which saw him miss another portion of the season, but with his fitness looking top notch in the opening five rounds, those injury nightmares may well be behind him.
For Huddesfield, it would make great sense to maintain such a vibrant partnership for the next few years as they look to make the play-offs for the first time since 2015.