Huddersfield Giants’ winning run came to an end this past weekend when St Helens defeated them, denting their playoff hopes, but they aimed to get back on track tonight when facing out of form Salford Red Devils at the John Smiths’ Stadium.
The Giants had been making a playoff charge whilst the Red Devils had been slowly slipping out of the frame with six consecutive losses leaving Paul Rowley’s side sitting seventh.
Ian Watson’s side sat back in tenth but just two points behind Salford, and four outside of the top six, making this game a crucial one.
Huddersfield saw Theo Fages left out following confirmation he was heading to Catalans, whilst Salford named a strong side with their first choice spine intact as part of an unchanged lineup.
🟠 𝙏𝙀𝘼𝙈 𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 👹
— Huddersfield Giants 🐮🔔 (@Giantsrl) August 18, 2023
Paul Rowley has named an unchanged line-up for tonight’s crucial clash!
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) August 18, 2023
The first fifteen minutes were scoreless with both teams knowing that a loss would almost certainly end any playoff ambitions, but it was the home side who scored first through Jake Bibby.
Salford hit back almost immediately through full back Ryan Brierley following a smart Brodie Croft play, before the reliable boot of Marc Sneyd tied the game up at six a piece.
Huddersfield opted for two following a high shot but Salford hit back again through Sam Stone just after the half hour mark, with Rowley’s side heading into the half time sheds 12-8 up.
The early exchanges of the second half saw both sides have chances but it was Sam Stone again with the forward crossing over after the fifty minute mark following a clever kick in behind.
Salford seemed to be the side of old all of a sudden as they piled the pressure on with Brierley forcing a drop out, from which the pressure built and Ken Sio scored in the corner.
That marked his 100th Super League try and also put the game, and playoff hopes, almost out of sight for Huddersfield.
Marc Sneyd added the extras to make it 24-8 heading into the final twenty minutes, from which point Salford enjoyed themselves as seen through a classy Kallum Watkins flick to Deon Cross who played in Chris Atkin to stretch the game to 30-8 which would be the final score.
With sixth placed Hull KR losing heavily against St Helens it wasn’t just a win that snapped a losing streak, but the win pushed Salford back into the playoffs with just five games of the season to go.