After a disappointing home result to Huddersfield just over a month ago Salford have bounced back with three straight victories. These wins have put Ian Watson’s side right in to the playoff race on twenty four points just two points behind Catalans with five games remaining.
The last three matches have been particularly impressive. A fantastic performance at Warrington was followed by a 40-14 thumping of Catalans. Last weekend what looked like a tricky game in the capital turned it to another tremendous display of attacking rugby league as the rampant Red Devil’s floored the Broncos with a ten try demolition.
Watson and his players know their is no room for error or complacency with a cluster of sides all fighting for the playoff places. Wigan seemed to have hit form at the right time and now look more than likely to make the top five and could possibly challenge for third or even second place.
Castleford, Catalans and Salford are jostling for fifth place as it stands and with the Dragons having quite a few players suspended after their misdemeanours last weekend they could struggle in their fixture away to Leeds.
Watson is keeping calm and knows the only way to approach the situation is to concentrate on what you can control. Taking each match as it comes is the philosophy and a very sensible one in the circumstances.
Huddersfield are currently on eighteen points just two above bottom side London. The Giants were thumped 0-44 at home to Leeds last Friday and coach Simon Woolford will be demanding a big reaction with his side so close to the relegation trap door.
The Giants were very impressive at The Magic Weekend in May hammering Hull Fc by 55-2. Since then though a run of two wins in the last eight matches has set the alarm bells ringing.
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 (Qualifiers)
2017 Salford 36 Huddersfield 20
2017 Salford 52 Huddersfield 14 (Super Eights)
2018 Salford 16 Huddersfield 24
2019 Salford 18 Huddersfield 36
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.
Craig Kopzack gave both clubs great service being the cornerstone of the packs.
A match to remember Friday 7th April 2006.
Salford 36 Huddersfield 18
It doesn’t seem that long ago 2006 but a lot has changed on and off the field for Salford in the last thirteen years. Turn the clock back to this chilly and wet Friday night at The Willows. Karl Harrison’s City Reds had made good progress since promotion back to Super League. With some very astute recruitment 2006 was a very successful campaign.
Two first half tries from star fullback Karl Fitzpatrick were cancelled out by two tries from The Giants. Michael De Vere and Robbie Paul scoring in quick succession to level the scores at 12-12.
Ian Sibbit restored Salford’s lead after Huddersfield fullback Stuart Donlan threw out a long pass near his own line. Second rower Sibbit took full advantage.
Stuart Jones was then sin binned for a late tackle on The City Reds linchpin Andrew Dunemann. The extra man counted and that man Dunemann jinked his way through before setting up a nice try for David Hodgson.
Huddersfield struck first in the second half when Martin Aspinwall scooted over from a Salford mistake. Chris Thorman’s conversion brought The Giants back to within six points at 24-18.
That’s as good as it got for the Yorkshire side though. The 2006 Salford side had a steely determination about them and when Karl Fitzpatrick sliced through to complete his hat trick their was only going to be one winner.
Karl Fitzpatrick, hat trick hero and game star in 2006.
Despite losing Andy Coley to the sin bin Salford put the game to bed seven minutes from time. Scrum half Luke Robinson out foxed the weary Huddersfield defence dancing over to score.
Although Salford scored some excellent tries it was perhaps the defensive resilience that won the game against a much fancied Giants side.
The teams that night;
Salford, Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Wilshere, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Stringer, Brocklehurst, Sibbit, Finnigan.
Subs, McGuinness, Charles, Clayton, Baldwin.
Huddersfield, Donlan, Aspinwall, Nero, de Vere, Gardner, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Frew, Jackson, Smith, Jones, Wild.
Subs, Snitch, March, McDonald, Raleigh.
Referee, Steve Ganson
This promises to be a fascinating match. Salford are in fantastic form after scoring one hundred and twenty points in the last three games. Tui Lolohea and Jackson Hastings have formed a very bright partnership. Lolohea is settling in nicely and is growing in confidence. His short kicking game has created a fair few tries in recent weeks and Hastings seems to cover every blade grass week in week out.
Tui Lolohea is making great progress at Salford.
Last Sunday at London the intensity and speed at which Salford played the game was quite remarkable particularly in the first half. Ian Watson will be hoping his side can get out of the blocks early against the Giants. If the pack can dominate again and lay the platform for Lolohea and Hastings then the stage is well and truly set.
Huddersfield have proved this season that on their day they can cause any team problems. They have a nice blend of youth and experience in the side. A very talented crop of young players including the Senior Twins, Louis and Innes. Darnell McIntosh at full back is also one to watch. Jermaine McGillvary, Jordan Turner, Leroy Cudjoe and Michael Lawrence have bags of Super League experience behind them. Former Salford player Lee Gaskell is another very clever footballer who can come up with game changing plays.
Both sides are desperate for the two points for different reasons and that will no doubt add to the occasion on Sunday.
The action gets under way at 3pm.
Safe journey everyone and enjoy the game.