Many pundits don’t think much of the chances of either club in 2020. Perhaps the biggest surprise of round one was the Giants excellent away win at Catalans. The Dragons have made some eye catching signings in the close season to add to their already talented squad. A comprehensive display saw the French side well beaten 12-32 by Huddersfield.
The Giants were due to face Leeds Rhinos in round two but that game was postponed due to very poor weather conditions in West Yorkshire.
After Salford’s thumping at St. Helens in round one the Red Devils battled to a hard fought win at home to Toronto last weekend.
Kevin Brown and Tui Lolohea are both finding their feet now. Their halfback partnership showed some really good signs. Brown has all the tricks in the book with a lovely accurate passing ability. Lolohea’s kicking game last weekend was superb.
Dan Sarginson picked up the man of the match award against Toronto and it was fully deserved. The former Wigan centre has a tremendous step and its great to see the aggression he plays with. In Sarginson and Kris Welham Salford have two classy centres who can supply plenty of ammunition to their wing partners this season.
Dan Sarginson has been impressive for Salford in recent weeks.
2019 was a disappointing season for Huddersfield. A tenth place finish saw them just about survive a huge relegation scare, finishing just two points above bottom side London Broncos.
The Giants have plenty of potential with an exciting crop of young players on the scene. Ambitious young coach Simon Woolford has made some real smart recruitment in the off season. Australian half back Aidan Sezer is one of those players that has the X factor. He can lead a team round the pitch and comes to England with an excellent reputation having been a real lynch pin for Gold Coast Titans and Canberra Raiders over the past several years. If he gets it right and has the same effect Jackson Hastings had for Salford last season could the Giants be the surprise package of 2020?
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
2019 Salford 32 Huddersfield 12
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.
Former Salford forward Adam Walne now playing for Huddersfield.
A match to remember, Saturday 9th September 2017.
Salford 52 Huddersfield 14.
After a tremendous adventure in the regular season Salford finished fourth in the League table. This set up our path into the Super Eights. It proved to be a very tough end to the season. Salford were comfortably beaten in their first four fixtures by Hull, Castleford, Wigan and Wakefield. This match gave the Red Devils faithful something to cheer with an emphatic dismantling of Huddersfield.
Salford had won the two regular season meetings, beating the Giants away 20-30 in round two and a 36-20 win at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Ian Watson’s men were definitely low on confidence, a losing streak of eight games on the trot including a Challenge Cup semi final defeat to Wigan had decimated the season.
The Giants had no answer to the whirlwind that hit them in the first half. Kris Welham scored his 100th try of his career. Tyrone McCarthy and Kiwi winger Manu Vatuvei touched down before hard working centre Welham grabbed his second try. Niall Evalds scored Salford’s fifth try of the half to put them in complete control at half time. Jermaine McGillvary’s try the Giants only points of the first 40.
Centre Kris Welham scored two tries in 2017.
Salford continued their onslaught after the break with quick fire tries from Vatuvei and youngster Jake Bibby.
Some neat work from Robert Lui set up Ben Murdoch Masila to power over and with five minutes remaining the all action second rower Josh Jones touched down to cap off a fine display.
The teams that day were;
Salford: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Vatuvei, Lui, O’Brien, Kopczak, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, McCarthy.
Replacements: A. Walne, Brining, Lannon, J. Walne.
Huddersfield: Rankin, McGillvary, Mellor, Turner, Ormsby, Gaskell, Brough, Ikahihifo, Leeming, Ta’ai, Roberts, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe.
Replacements: O’Brien, Rapira, Lawrence, Clough.
Referee: James Child
Friday’s match .
This promises to be another exciting encounter under the lights at The AJ Bell Stadium. In my opinion we have the best pitch in the competition. It looked like at bowling green last Saturday and once again great credit needs to go to the ground staff for their hard work and expertise.
It is very likely Salford coach Ian Watson will keep faith with the players involved in last Saturday’s victory over Toronto. One slight concern will be the goal kicking. Just two successful conversions from the five tries last weekend saw watto change from Lolohea to Joey Lussick towards the end of the game.
Another intriguing battle will be fought between the two packs. Salford have some real grunt up front now with Gil Dudson, Lee Mossop and Sebastine Ikahihifo. Pauli Pauli is a real handful off the bench but the Giants have plenty of size in their squad to combat this. Ukuma Ta’ai is a very powerful player, Matty English impressed me last season and Suaia Matagi will be hard to stop.
As previously mentioned the Giants have a nucleus of young talent, Louis Senior is one to watch and Sam Wood is a real talent in the back line.
Aidan Sezer will guide the team around the pitch but the Giants have made some other excellent pre season signings. Talented back Ashton Golding has joined from Leeds Rhinos and the versatile Kenny Edwards has arrived from Catalans.
Chester Butler the grandson of Salford RLFC legend and club hero Colin Dixon has moved to Huddersfield from close rivals Halifax.
Aidan Sezer has all the tools to help the Giants to success in 2020.
Another player who always impresses me is Lee Gaskell. He could be set to partner Sezer at half back and along with Jordan Turner, Gaskell is another former Salford player.
The action gets under way at 7:45pm
Safe travels and enjoy the match everyone.