Huddersfield Giants fell to a fifth-straight home defeat to Salford Red Devils, who started the Super League season in emphatic style, winning 14-34 at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A Niall Evalds hat-trick gave Salford a comfortable win over an injury-hit Huddersfield side, who never looked like winning their curtain-raiser.
The hosts were constantly on the back foot and failed to score a try in the first half. Salford, however, were on great form as tries from Junior Sa’u and Ken Sio gave them an 8-2 lead at the break.
Akuila Uate crossed on his Giants debut to level the scores but Evalds’ quick-fire double meant that Huddersfield lost the game just as quickly as they appeared to have rescued it.
Kruise Leeming did grab a consolation for Huddersfield but Sio’s second and Evalds’ brilliant hat-trick-sealing try had put the match to bed long before.
Despite missing eight first-team players, the Giants fought well throughout the game, but they couldn’t handle Salford and Evalds in particular.
The visitors rightly had the final say when Derrell Olpherts went over in the final act of the match to round off a comprehensive win.
The visitors scored six second-half tries in a dominant performance that will give their fans hope for a better showing than 2018, when they lost 16 of their 23 regular-season games.
They host promoted London Broncos next Sunday, while Huddersfield face the daunting task of the visit to France to play Catalans Dragons on Saturday.
McGillvary a big miss
Without star man Jermaine McGillvary, the Giants lacked a killer instinct as they missed the England international’s electric pace. They need him to be back fit and firing as soon as possible.
Uate could be a big signing
Akuila Uate was one of the few men to leave the field with pride after the heavy defeat to Salford and Huddersfield’s new signing may well be the man they turn to on numerous occasions in 2019.
Giants fans need to keep the faith
As soon as Evalds crossed for his second try, the atmosphere at the John Smith’s dropped dramatically. The home fans’ frustrations were clear to see, and hear, as their side fell to a rather uninspiring defeat. That being said, once the big hitters return, Giants fans can expect another good season.
Salford are clinical and could surprise a few
Salford, who endured a torrid time for most of the 2018 campaign, took nearly every opportunity that fell their way on Friday night and, if players like Sio and Evalds can stay fit and keep their clinical mentality going, 2019 could be a very good year to be a Red Devils fan.
Huddersfield Giants 14
Tries: Uate, Leeming
Goals: Farrell (3)
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford Red Devils 34
Tries: Sa’u, Sio (2), Evalds (3), Olpherts
Goals: Lussick (2), Sio
Drop Goals: n/a
Huddersfield Giants: Grix, McIntosh, Turner, J. Wardle, Uate, Farrell, Frawley, English, O’Brien, Matagi, Roberts, Mellor, Lawrence.
Interchanges: Leeming, Ikahihifo, Walne, Hewitt.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Sio, Lui, Hastings, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Griffin, Burke, Nakubuwai, Tomkins.