Huddersfield Giants came from behind to beat Salford Red Devils in front of new coach Simon Woolford.
The Giants have now won four games in a row in all competitions; their best run for nearly two years.
The hosts took a four-point lead into the break thanks to tries from Junior Sa’u and Niall Evalds, with Darnell McIntosh going over for the Giants.
Salford had won the last five meetings between the sides and they made a good start to the second half with Evalds making a 60-metre break before being hauled down by some desperate Huddersfield defence.
However, scores from Daniel Smith, Jordan Turner and Kruise Leeming gave the visitors victory.
Danny Brough’s kicking was as excellent as ever, and it needed to be for Huddersfield to take control of proceedings in the second half.
The game was a grueling one, with both teams putting in impressive defensive displays in the first 40. It was therefore hard for either team to take hold of the game and assert any dominance, but Huddersfield managed to do that midway through the second half when Jordan Turner forced himself over the whitewash.
Kruise Leaming then made sure of the two points by acting quickly to expose a hole in the Salford defence with seven minutes remaining. Junior Sa’u got a consolation try for the hosts as the clock ticked down even further, but the game was beyond his side by the time he crossed into the Giants’ in-goal area.
The loss means that Salford have now lost their last five matches in all competitions, their worst run since their return to Super League, and try to stop the rot when travel to Hull FC in June in their next Super League match.
Huddersfield play Catalans Dragons in the Quarter Finals on the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on Thursday, and will be bidding to stretch their winning run to five matches.
With brilliant attacking play and resolute defending of late, it will be interesting to see whether they’ll beat the French side to reach the Semi Finals.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Salford need to tighten up defensively
Salford have the ability to hurt teams, but teams can also hurt them rather easily at the moment. If they don’t stop conceding easy points, they’ll find themselves drawn into a battle at the foot of the table.
McIntosh is on fire
Darnell McIntosh has found his form at just the right time for Huddersfield. With five tries in his last 11 appearances, the Englishman is becoming a pivotal player for the West Yorkshire club and as the season gets into full swing with important matches on the horizon, I wouldn’t bet against him continuing his fine run of performances.
Man Of The Match- Jordan Turner (Huddersfield Giants)
The former St Helens man was on fire in this one, his try proved that, and it didn’t come as a surprise to me. Every Huddersfield player is in fine form right now, that’s why they’ve won four in a row, but Turner was especially impressive tonight.
His ability to not only stop the Salford attack in its tracks, but then be aggressive on the front foot too, is why he is so important to his team. He virtually sealed the two points when he forced himself over the Salford line with 20 minutes to go, but his hard work and aggression warranted Man of the Match even if he hadn’t scored.
Salford Red Devils 16
Tries: Sa’u (2), Evalds
Goals: Lui (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Huddersfield Giants 24
Tries: McIntosh, Smith, Turner, Leeming
Goals: Brough (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Bibby, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Mossop, Tomkins, Murray, Griffin, Lannon, Flanagan.
Replacements: Kopczak, Hauraki, Nakubuwai, Wood.
Huddersfield: Rankin, McGillvary, Gaskell, Mamo, McIntosh, Turner, Brough, Ta’ai, O’Brien, Clough, Mellor, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Replacements: Ikahihifo, Leeming, Smith, English.
Referee: L. Moore.