After a disappointing start to the 2018 campaign Huddersfield were the first team to part company with their coach. Australian Rick Stone who lead the Giants to a top 8 finish last year left the club.
Since then an encouraging 22-22 draw at home to Leeds on Good Friday has given the fans hope they can repeat last years Top eight finish. In recent weeks The Giants form has improved considerably with back to back wins over early season pace setters Wakefield Trinity in both the Challenge cup and Super League.
Add to that a good solid home win 28-18 against struggling Widnes, Huddersfield are now just one point behind Salford in the league table.
The two sides met twice last season at The AJ Bell Stadium with the Red Devils recording victories in the regular season and the super eights.
Out of the eight fixtures the two sides have played since Salford’s move from The Willows, the Giants have come up with four wins. Our visitors on Friday have quite a few players back in recent weeks from injury that have bolstered their squad. Jake Mamo, Jermaine McGillvary, Darnell McIntosh, Danny Brough could all feature this Friday.
Super League home record
1998 Salford 40 Huddersfield 6
1999 Salford 14 Huddersfield 15
2000 Salford 18 Huddersfield/Sheffield 8
2001 Salford 28 Huddersfield 14
2004 Salford 18 Huddersfield 25
2005 Salford 24 Huddersfield 16
2006 Salford 36 Huddersfield 18
2007 Salford 14 Huddersfield 12
2009 Salford 10 Huddersfield 34
2010 Salford 30 Huddersfield 18
2011 Salford 24 Huddersfield 18
2012 Salford 20 Huddersfield 30
2013 Salford 21 Huddersfield 20
2014 Salford 22 Huddersfield 42
2015 Salford 0 Huddersfield 19
2016 Salford 30 Huddersfield 31
2016 Salford 34 Huddersfield 12 ( qualifying eights)
2017 Salford 36 Huddersfield 20
2017 Salford 52 Huddersfield 14 (Super Eights)
They played for both
Here are a selection of players who have played for both clubs;
Steve Kerry, Danny Arnold, Greg Austin, David Bradbury, Jodie Broughton, Ryan Clayton, Gavin Clinch, Greg Eden, Simon Finnigan, Matt Gardner, Lee Gaskell, Martin Gleeson, Bobbie Goulding, Darrel Griffin, Josh Griffin, Neil Harmon, David Hodgson, Graham Holroyd, Andy Johnson, Phil Joseph, Craig Kopzack, Michael korkidas, Tommy Lee, Martin Moana, Chris Nero, Robbie Paul, Luke Robinson, Jordan Turner, Adam Walne, Paul White and Stephen Wild.
A match to remember 29th March 2013
Salford 21 Huddersfield 20
A late Marc Sneyd drop goal proved the difference in this entertaining fixture just over five years ago. At the time Salford were struggling rooted to the bottom of The Super League table. With just one victory in our opening 8 matches this result was seen by many as a surprise with Huddersfield riding high in the table.
New Salford centre Gaskell, who has joined the Reds on a season’s loan from St Helens, marked his debut with a sparkling 40-metre try after only four minutes. Jodie Broughton, Ashley Gibson and Jordan James all touched down for Salford. Craig Kopzack grabbed a try that night for the Giants but it was Sneyd’s drop goal six minutes from time that settled the contest. Alan Hunte was interim head coach at the time following the departure of Phil Vievers.
The teams that day were;
Salford: Sneyd; Murphy, Gibson, Gaskell, Broughton; Fages, Foran; Griffin, Godwin, Neal, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild.
Replacements: James, Boyle, Owen, Nero.
Huddersfield: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Aspinall, Ferguson.
Replacements: Fairbank, Faiumu, Mullally, Fielden.
Come the end of the 2013 season the two sides were worlds apart. Salford finished bottom of the table while Huddersfield went on to finish top lifting the League Leaders shield. There first top place finish in top flight Rugby League for 81 years. Five Giants were selected in the Super League dream team that year. Their season finally came to an end at Warrington in the playoff semi final.
With Salford’s recent form Friday’s game is crucial for both sides. Huddersfield have renewed confidence on the back of their last few results and with an excellent victory over Wakefield at the magic weekend come in to this match just a point behind Salford in the league table. Simon Woolford is the new coach at the Giants and since his appointment the sides up turn in form has been quite remarkable. Ian Watson’s Salford side are desperate to get back to winning ways with the four sides below them in the table showing signs of revival. The Red Devils are far from secure in the top eight but a win on Friday would certainly do their confidence the world of good and give them some breathing space ahead of the chasing pack.
The action gets under way at 8pm.
Enjoy the game everyone, Paul Whiteside.