Date: Friday 8th May 2015
Venue: AJ Bell Stadium
Salford Red Devils 19 man squad: Mason Caton-Brown, Naill Evans, Theo Fages, Oliver Gildart, Darrell Griffin, George Griffin, Wayne Godwin, Harrison Hansen, Well Hauraki, Liam Hood, Greg Johnson, Ben Jones-Bishop, Kevin Locke, Adrian Morley, Lama Tasi, Scott Taylor, Jordan Walne, Adam Walne, Jay Walton
Huddersfield Giants 19 man squad: Scott Grix, Jermaine McGillvary, Leroy Cudjoe, Joe Wardle, Aaron Murphy, Danny Brough, Eorl Crabtree, Craig Huby, Jack Hughes, Michael Lawrence, Craig Kopczak, Kyle Wood, Ukuma Ta’ai, Jodie Broughton, Anthony Mullally, Jamie Ellis, Jake Connor, Kruise Leeming, Oliver Roberts.
Last Five Meetings
Huddersfield Giants 12 – 18 Salford Red Devils. Rd 8, 3rd April 2015.
Huddersfield Giants 10 – 36 Salford Red Devils. Rd 19, 5th July 2014.
Salford Red Devils 22 – 42 Huddersfield Giants. Rd 9, 18th April 2014.
Huddersfield Giants 46 – 4 Salford Red Devils. Rd 23, 4th August 2013.
Salford Red Devils 21 – 20 Huddersfield Giants. Rd 9, 29th March 2013.
Salford’s process of easing out of their injury crisis continues, as they welcome back enough players to mean that Marwan Koukash didn’t need to ask for a postponement of this match.
The Red Devils will be hoping that welcoming players like Weller Hauraki back to the squad will see them return to some kind of form. Salford have lost their last three, and with their top four ambitions fading fast, they now must look to cement their place in the top 8 or else they will see themselves get dragged into a scrap for position.
Huddersfield are one of the teams in the league not hit with an injury crisis. Jake Connor escapes any RFL action, after cameras spotted him allegedly biting Zac Hardaker in last week’s match. Young Oliver Roberts is brought into the 19 for the first time this season, since joining the Giants in the close season.
As mentioned, Salford are struggling for points amidst their personnel crisis, and find themselves only one-point ahead of the teams in 9th and 10th, and only 2 points ahead of 11th. It is unlikely, but if they lose and results go heavily against them the Red Devils could find themselves in 11th position, just 3 games after they were sitting in fourth. Still missing key personnel, this is a must-win home game for Salford.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, are looking to totally avoid a scrap for position by cementing their place in the top 8. They haven’t lost in their last 3 games, including becoming only the 2nd team to take points off Leeds last weekend courtesy of a 24-24 draw. Huddersfield are one of 3 teams currently fighting for the fourth spot in the table, a win would see them strengthen their claim.
Salford have had the better of recent games against Huddersfield. Their last 2 games, both at the Galpharm, have gone the way of the Red Devils, so the Salford fans will be hoping for more of the same. Huddersfield will hope that their squad strength and recent good form will be good enough to stem that recent tide, though Salford certainly do not lack confidence after spirited losses against Castleford and Hull, by just 2 and 4 points respectively.
I expect Salford to make a good game of it again, but there’s only so much a depleted squad can be expected to do week after week. Huddersfield are in good form, and provided they bring that energy they’ll be too strong for Salford. The Red Devils will be good money for going on an end-of-season run once key men, like Rangi Chase, are back, but this is just a tough period of the season they’ll have to see out. It will be close for 50 minutes to an hour, but Huddersfield will pull away at the end. Statistically, they’re the 2nd best team in the league during the last 20 mins, and I expect that to continue.
Prediction: Huddersfield by 18, but less than a score in it until the 50 minute mark.