Huddersfield v Salford.
Well it’s almost here. A huge week for Salford Rugby League club and it’s loyal supporters. For many years since the Championship Winning sides of the 1970s Salford have been mediocre at best. Relegated on a number of occasions and more often than not, going into matches perhaps just to keep the score down. We’ve had the odd false dawn along the way but over the last five years the club has slowly and steadily gained plenty of respect in the sport with performances on the pitch and lots of hard work off it.
How many times have seasons fizzled out and you’ve been to the final few games with nothing on offer and not much to play for. This Saturday’s match makes it all worthwhile. These are the games you want to be involved in. The whole week building up to the game is so exciting. Come 1pm on Saturday in the West Yorkshire town of Huddersfield the atmosphere will be absolutely fever pitch. Add the extra spice of club connections with coaching and playing staff to the mix as well for good measure. This will be one of those games where you count every tackle when the opposition have the ball frantically telling the referee when it’s the last one at the top of your voice.
Games like this don’t come along very often and for Salford this will be their sixth playoff match in the Super League era. The Giants have a bit more experience in playoff action having been regulars in the previous decade. Huddersfield won the league leader’s trophy in 2013 but have yet to appear in a Grand Final. Their last League Championship success came way back in 1962.
Looking back to last Saturday’s final regular season league match with Warrington and it was heart warming to see six lads from the reserves making their first team debuts. For Jack Stevens, Daniel Spencer-Tonks, Henry Davies, Myles Dalton-Harrop, Joseph Coope-Franklin and Josh Rourke it’s a day they’ll never forget. Each one of them did the club proud with some very solid performances.
It was nice to see ex Salford hooker Logan Tomkins on the pitch in his Firefighters uniform along with his young family. Logan gave great service to Salford and played for the club in the 2019 Grand Final.
Super League away record.
1998 Huddersfield 12 Salford 16
1999 Huddersfield 24 Salford 10
2000 Huddersfield/Sheffield 10 Salford 18
2001 Huddersfield 24 Salford 32
2001 Huddersfield 35 Salford 14
2004 Huddersfield 26 Salford 14
2004 Huddersfield 28 Salford 22
2005 Huddersfield 26 Salford 10
2006 Huddersfield 32 Salford 18
2006 Huddersfield 24 Salford 18
2007 Huddersfield 16 Salford 18
2009 Huddersfield 4 Salford 24
2010 Huddersfield 52 Salford 4
2011 Huddersfield 52 Salford 22
2012 Huddersfield 36 Salford 10
2013 Huddersfield 46 Salford 4
2014 Huddersfield 10 Salford 36
2015 Huddersfield 12 Salford 18
2016 Huddersfield 24 Salford 26
2017 Huddersfield 20 Salford 30
2018 Huddersfield 12 Salford 30
2019 Huddersfield 14 Salford 34
2020 Huddersfield 16 Salford 24
2021 Huddersfield 8 Salford 9
2022 Huddersfield 34 Salford 2
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,Stephen Wild, Luke Yates, Theo Fages, Josh Jones and Tui Lolohea.
Huddersfield play off record.
2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Salford play off record.
A match to remember 17th May 2009.
Huddersfield 4 Salford 24.
Salford capitalised on an error-strewn Huddersfield performance to win there fourth match of 2009.
Giants stand-off Kevin Brown attempted to find touch with a penalty in the sixth minute, but only succeeded in kicking the ball straight to a Reds player.
Salford took advantage by building a thrilling move, which ended with Myler putting in John Wilshere down the left channel for a converted try.
The Giants, looking for a ninth win in 11 league and cup matches, never recovered, and Myler later scored a stunning solo try to cap a deserved victory.
Martin Aspinwall palmed down a high kick for Luke Robinson to go over for the Giants on 17 minutes, only for Leroy Cudjoe to miss the conversion.
Robinson then started a fine move, in which Brown and Paul Whatuira exchanged passes to breach the Salford defence on 22 minutes, but the visitors recovered with some terrific defence to stop Whatuira short of the line.
Salford were struggling in the league since beating Celtic Crusaders on the campaign’s opening day. The Reds travelling supporters were delighted when
Luke Adamson’s acrobatic pass was pounced on by Jordan Turner, and his offload to Darrell Goulding on the overlap resulted in another converted try.
Huddersfield nearly reduced the deficit on half-time when Aspinwall went over in the corner but Lolesi was adjudged to have made a forward pass in the build-up.
John Wilshere kicked four goals in total, added a penalty on 50 minutes, and also added the extras when Salford sealed victory six minutes later with a breakaway try.
The Giants were pressing the Reds’ try-line when a poor pass was intercepted by Myler, and he raced nearly the full length of the field to score a super solo try near the posts.
Australian Mark Henry completed the scoring when the creative Stefan Ratchford’s pass was palmed onto him by Willie Talau. A surprise result but a much welcomed one for Salford leaving The Giants shell shocked. It was particularly pleasing to see two players who came through Salford’s youth set up Stefan Ratchford and Jordan Turner playing a big part in the victory.
Salford’s team that day was;
Wilshere; Henry, Turner, Talau, Goulding; Ratchford, Myler; Cashmere, Alker, Parker, Sibbit, Adamson, Swain. Subs used: Jewitt, Leuluai, Paul, Littler. Tries: Wilshere, Goulding, Myler, Henry. Goals: Wilshere (4).
Under coach Ian Watson Huddersfield have gained a reputation of being tough to beat and a team that completes high, makes few errors and sticks to the processes. This can sometimes attract criticism and I’ve heard people say they play a boring and robotic style of play. Personally I don’t believe that at all. The Giants have some very talented players in their squad which has plenty of depth. Having watched the Challenge Cup Final I thought Huddersfield were the better side for large parts of the match and were unlucky not to win the trophy. If their is one thing they perhaps lacked in the final it was a bit of ambition to force the pass and take a chance. Some say the Giants are a team that grind the wins out but I think their is a lot more to them than that.
It’s fair to say Huddersfield and Salford play two totally different styles of play and who ever comes out on top this Saturday will be the team that stamps their style on the match the most dominant. The Red Devils have scored tries for fun both home and away in recent weeks against the top sides in the competition. I don’t think Salford coach Paul Rowley will change his sides approach one bit. They will go out from the first minute to attack and move the ball wide at every opportunity.
Watson has a selection headache in the halves. He’s got three players vying for two positions in Will Pryce, Oliver Russell and Theo Fages.
Salford’s back line has been very settled now for a long run of matches. Deon Cross and Tim Lafai have made the centre positions their own. Ryan Brierley has worked wonders in a perfect triangle with Marc Sneyd and Brodie Croft and these three create so many attacking opportunities. Alex Gerrard, Kallum Watkins and Elijah Taylor provide the cornerstone to Salford’s pack and youngster Tyler Dupree is getting better each week. Salford supporters can recite the team off to you if you ask them. It’s not all be plain sailing though and Rowley has had plenty of injuries to deal with particularly in the forward pack. It’s been great to see Shane Wright and King Vuniyayawa back from long layoffs and they’ve come back to boost the squad at just the right time.
The bookmakers haven’t been able to split these two sides this week and it’s odds even.
This promises to be a fascinating game and the away end behind the sticks will be absolutely bouncing just before 1pm. Personally speaking I can’t wait for Saturday it’s going to be a special day, live and breath it!
The action gets under way at 1pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos and the Salford match day programme