Huddersfield Giants 34-2 Salford Red Devils: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

After defeat to Wigan last week, Huddersfield bounced back and then some with a comprehensive win over Salford. This was the Giants side many expected to see last year when Ian Watson first arrived. Now fulfilling that potential they looked like serious play-off contenders today. Well-drilled, strong down the middle and playing with width, few sides look this good this early into the season.

Highlights:

Will Pryce’s magic
The future of Super League and the brightest starlet around, Will Pryce stole the show this afternoon. With one on his back, the mercurial youngster played in the halves and was as dynamic as ever. He also poached the game’s opening try on the back of an outstanding Chris Hill offload. Having caught the off-the-cuff pass, Pryce then stood up the defender and danced through.

Cudjoe rolls back the clock
All of Huddersfield’s backline looked dynamic and dangerous today with Innes Senior crossing for a lovely brace of tries in the second half, Ricky Leutele constantly causing problems and Jermaine McGillvary being his dangerous self. But one of the key moments in the match was Leroy Cudjoe’s intercept late in the first half looking like he did when he scored his famous intercept try 12 years ago in a play-off win over Warrington. It denied Salford a way back into the game and gave Huddersfield a chance to pile on more points in a decisive first half.

Anything you can do I can do better
Not to be outdone by his old partner in crime and centre partner over on the right, Jermaine McGillvary did something similar to Cudjoe in the second half. The England winger took the ball on the halfway line and showed good pace to get to the tryline. If the game wasn’t dead before that point, it certainly was after.

Major talking points:

1. Giants by name and Giants by nature
Huddersfield’s big men laid down the groundwork this afternoon with Chris Hill and Luke Yates initially tearing Salford apart down the middle. On the back of their good work, the Giants controlled where the game was played restricting Salford to their own half for much of the first half. Yates looked brilliantly dynamic going against the grain around the ruck whilst Hill routinely used his offload game to open up space as he did for the opening try. He also grabbed a deserved four-pointer himself. Meanwhile, Chris McQueen was a threat all game long down the right whilst Sebastine Ikahihifo made a good impact off the bench. If the Giants can continue to look this good down the middle, they’ll be tough to stop.

2. Huddersfield’s key players stand out
The Giants spine was were also key to the victory. Tui Lolohea looked a threat every time he had the ball with his dancing feet putting pressure on the Salford defence and creating space, this was despite being booed routinely by the fans who used to adore him. Pryce was similarly dangerous with ball in hand whilst Oliver Russell was the glue that held everything together. The three ensured Huddersfield played with plenty of width which stretched Salford to breaking point. Their fluidity was also key as it ensured they could switch from left to right in a flash. Meanwhile, their kicking game also deserved credit flor often trapping Salford down field. One has to wonder if Theo Fages will even get back into the team after this display.

3. Salford stall
After such a positive start to the season for the Red Devils, they’ve now lost their last two quite comprehensively. The damage was truly done in the first half where, despite some smart kicks from Sneyd including a 20/40, Salford rarely had the ball in Huddersfield’s half. They defended resurgently and there was a feeling that if they could hang in there they could snatch the game after all they led early by doing just that thanks to penalty. However, nine times out of ten you cannot give the opposition such a territorial advantage and expect to win. If they want to get back to winning ways, that has to change.

Player ratings:

Huddersfield Giants

6 Tui Lolohea – 9
2 Jermaine McGillvary – 8
21 Leroy Cudjoe – 8
4 Ricky Leutele – 8
25 Innes Senior – 8
23 Oliver Russell – 8
1 Will Pryce – 9
8 Chris Hill – 9
19 Adam O’Brien – 8
17 Owen Trout – 7
24 Oliver Roberts  – 7
12 Chris McQueen – 9
13 Luke Yates – 8
Substitutes
5 Ashton Golding – 6
14 Matty English – 7
18 Sebastine Ikahihifo – 8
20 Oliver Wilson – 7

Salford Red Devils

1 Ryan Brierley – 6
2 Ken Sio – 6
28 Deon Cross – 6
24 Matt Costello – 6
5 Joe Burgess – 5
6 Brodie Croft – 5
7 Marc Sneyd – 7
10 Greg Burke – 6
9 Andy Ackers – 6
15 King Vuniyayawa – 7
16 Ryan Lannon – 8
11 Shane Wright – 6
13 Elijah Taylor – 6
Substitutes
8 Sitaleki Akauola – 5
14 Danny Addy – 5
18 Chris Atkin – 6
19 Jack Ormondroyd – 6

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