Reds cruise to victory!
After the enforced Challenge Cup break the Reds were back in action as the season entered the Super 8’s which will determine whether Salford retain their Super League status. In the first of seven crucial games the visitors to the AJ Bell were Huddersfield Giants who recorded a narrow 30-31 win seven weeks ago just after they parted company with coach Paul Anderson. Reds coach Ian Watson included new loan signings Luke Burgess and Feleti Mateo and had winger Justin Carney back from injury. Mateo started in the second-row,whilst Burgess was on the bench.
Huddersfield coach Rick Stone welcomed back full-back Scott Grix from injury in the only change to the team that lost to Warrington in their last match a fortnight ago.
The Reds were the first to score in the 5th minute in only their second set when Craig Kopczak sent fellow prop-forward George Griffin for a try under the posts. Gareth O’Brien added the simplest of conversions for a 6-0 lead.
Six minutes later the Reds were into double figures after Junior Sau went close on the right, the ball was quickly moved cross-field for Josh Griffin to send Mason Caton-Brown in by the flag. A terrific touchline kick from O’Brien curved in for a 12-0 lead.
An O’Brien penalty shortly after brought a 14-0 score-line.
After a relatively quiet period in which the Reds keen defence kept Huddersfield at bay, Salford notched their third try just before the break when Weller Hauraki stretched over to score after Sau again went close on the other flank. O’Brien’s conversion brought a commanding 20-0 interval advantage.
In the 54th minute the Reds went further ahead when Michael Dobson fed Ben Murdoch-Masila who crashed over to score. O’Brien’s kick veering wide (24-0).
Not long after, Huddersfield finally got on the scoreboard when Nathan Mason bundled over under the posts. Danny Brough converted (24-6).
Having found a way through the Reds defence,the Giants scored again three minutes later when Oliver Roberts forced his way over the line. Brough added the extras for a 24-12 score.
In the 62nd minute after a bit of niggle between Brough and Logan Tomkins the Reds resumed play with Caton-Brown scorching in at the corner (28-12).
With less than ten minutes remaining, Caton-Brown completed his hat-trick when a looping pass from Mateo saw him cross in the corner. O’Brien converting (34-12).
Apart from a three minute spell in the second-half,the Reds were impressive throughout. They were good with the ball in hand and showed lots of resilience in defence. Burgess and Mateo pepped up the pack and on this showing its full steam ahead with Leigh Centurions next up this Saturday at Leigh Sports Village.
Coach Ian Watson later spelled out what the win meant to the Reds: “We knew how important it was to start the Qualifiers with a win, especially against another Super League club.
“We have trained very hard the last two weeks to make a good start and we executed everything we practiced very well.”
Watson was pleased too with the contribution of new boys Burgess and Mateo: “Luke could have done more minutes to be fair and Feleti was blowing a bit but both will be better for the run-outs.”
Salford: O’Brien; Carney, Sau, J Griffin, Caton-Brown, Lui, Dobson, Kopczak, Tomkins, G Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Mateo, Flanagan.
Subs: Hauraki, Krasniqi, Kenny, Burgess.
Referee:Mr J Child.