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Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News


Huddersfield center Cudjoe is set to make his 300th appearance for the club in Thursday’s Betfred Super League game against Hull FC; watch live on Sky Sports Mix from 7 p.m. (kick off at 7.45 p.m.)

Last update: 07/21/21 2:58 PM

Leroy Cudjoe is set to make his 300th Huddersfield appearance on Thursday

There are three things that stand out in Leroy Cudjoe’s mind about his very first rugby league game with the Newsome Panthers U11. The first is that it was cold and wet, the second is an opponent who stood on his hand and the third is that he scored a try.

Thankfully neither of the first two has stopped him from playing, and more than 20 years later he is set to make his 300th appearance for home club the Huddersfield Giants, having already made 300 appearances in club and in international career last year.

Cudjoe is set to reach the milestone of Thursday’s Super League clash with Hull FC, live on Air sports, and this is the latest chapter in a life in the rugby league that began with his grandparents taking him to watch Huddersfield and then with friends playing for the Newsome community club.

Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News

Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC

July 22, 2021, 7:00 p.m.

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It wasn’t until he got a full-time contract that the center thought he could do it as a professional, that dream finally coming true on the opening day of the 2008 season, when the Giants greeted Leeds Rhinos in front of a club. Super League home crowd record of 15,629.

“I remember [then head coach] Jon Sharp told me the week before I would play, so take care of me this weekend, “Cudjoe said. Air sports. “I was only allowed to tell my grandparents because he knew they were big fans.

“On match day the atmosphere was amazing. It was the first game of the year against a very good team from Leeds Rhinos; I came off the bench with 20 minutes left, I threw the ball at Jamie Jones-Buchanan and I felt like I ran into a brick wall. We lost the game at the end, but I had this taste for it and I knew this was where I wanted to be, play in the first team.

“I always dreamed of being a Super League player, but I never really knew I would make a career out of it until I trained full time. I loved playing in the league. rugby every time I have had the opportunity to train or play games. “

Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News

Jamahl Lolesi was one of Cudjoe’s first influences

Influence and guidance from compatriot Huddersfield three-quarterback and former New Zealand international Jamahl Lolesi have been essential for young Cudjoe, as has the arrival of Australian head coach Nathan Brown of the year. following to help him realize his potential.

Another big influence who arrived at the club in 2009 was the man now in charge of the team Huddersfield will face Thursday night at Brett Hodgson, and the former Giants full-back

“He’s always been one of those kids who worked hard to improve himself,” Hodgson said. “He was a respectful and competent player, he worked really hard to get there, so it’s no surprise to me that he’s been playing for so long.

“We played a lot of games together. He came in as a full-back when I was there, so I tried to help him with his games.

Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News

He was a respectful and competent player, he worked really hard to get there, so it’s no surprise to me that he’s been playing for so long.

Former Huddersfield player Brett Hodgson on Leroy Cudjoe

“He was one of those players you wanted to play with because everything he did, he did with passion, and he always gave everything for his home club. I’m really proud. of what he did. “

Being part of the squad that brought the League Leaders Shield to Huddersfield in 2013 – the first time the club has finished first in the top flight in 81 years – and winning 10 England caps, including appearances at The Rugby Union World Cup are part of the career highlights for Cudjoe.

Offers have also been made to move but, like Giants mainstays Michael Lawrence and Jermaine McGillvary, Cudjoe has remained loyal to Huddersfield and is part of a strong backbone of local talent in the squad that continues to filter through.

“In the past I have wanted to go somewhere else but Huddersfield is my home and they gave me the opportunity when no one else has,” said Cudjoe.

Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News

Cudjoe won 10 caps for England

“It’s huge to have a strong backbone of local players. If you look at successful clubs like St Helens, Leeds and Wigan they have all always had a group of local players who have come up through the ranks and understand the values club and community.

“We have a lot of young players going through our system right now which is very exciting, and I hope that once me, Jermaine and Michael are gone they will still be there and push the club towards things bigger and better. “

Cudjoe is still a long way from the 423 appearances one of his first models Eorl Crabtree made in a Huddersfield jersey, and at 33 he is already considering what life has in store for him after playing after earning his coaching certificate and considered careers outside of the rugby league.

But he aims to impress head coach Ian Watson enough to land a new contract when his current one-year contract expires at the end of this season and still has the ambition to help bring one of the major honors. sports at John Smith Stadium.

Leroy Cudjoe: Huddersfield Giants focus on their 300 club appearances and biggest influences |  Rugby League News

Playing 300 games in a career is a great achievement and being able to do it for a club, the team in my hometown, is even better.

Leroy cudjoe

“I want to win trophies with Huddersfield and be part of a group that helped win a major trophy with my home club would mean a lot to me and my family,” Cudjoe said. “I also want to be a role model for young children like Eorl and Paul Reilly were for me.

“I definitely see myself playing next year and hope I can sort something out soon with that. Beyond that I’m not sure I’ll take it year by year and see how my body holds up. suddenly, and if I’m still playing decent rugby then who knows?

“Playing 300 games in a career is a great achievement and being able to do it for a club, the team in my hometown, is even better.”

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