With the sharpest of this winter’s frosts making grounds west of the Pennines unplayable, one might have expected that the most remarkable thing about the Red team’s fixture against the Huddersfield Giants would be that the game over there was able to go ahead at all. Far from that, however, events on the pitch were even more surprising, with the home side overturning an 18-6 deficit, to run out comfortable winners, much to the dismay of coach, Danny Barton.
“It was just so disappointing, after having been so much in command, but, with thirty-five minutes still to go in the second half, the players seemed to assume that the game had been won.”
The Red Devils might have felt that they had good reason to feel that way for having already withstood an absolute onslaught on their line in the opening ten minutes, had they not then succeeded in taking control, and run in three unconverted tries to lead 12-6, at half-time?
Indeed, they had. And also they had promptly stretched that scoreline to 18-6 after only five minutes of the second half, but that ten minute onslaught, at the start of the game, should have been a warning as to what the Giants were capable of, given the opportunity.
Those opportunities came as a consequence of that quite premature relaxation which then allowed the home side to build momentum through their powerful forwards, who bumped off the rather half-hearted attempts of the visitors to stop them, and consequently dominated throughout the remainder of the game, adding four more converted tries, and a penalty goal, to the one they had notched towards the end of the first half.
That first half performance from the Salford players had been most impressive, for, having held their hosts out for ten minutes, they got themselves back into the game and opened the scoring through winger, Ben Gore, who finished off a break by his centre, Louis Roberts, in the corner.
Roberts was in fine form in that first half period, and backed up his earlier break, with an extremely good individual try in which he broke clear and rounded the fullback, in style, to ground out wide, to bring the score to 8-0.
Although the Giants pulled back six points with a try of their own under the posts, Salford extended their lead with a further score, just before half time, when fullback, Connor Law, latched onto a short kick through, by Connor Aspey.
Law doubled this contribution, five minutes into the second half, but had had a somewhat difficult time with the boot, and so the goal-kicking duties were taken over by Connor Aspey, who was able slot over Salford’s one successful conversion, from in front of the posts.
“We were really comfortable at this stage, and had scored some nice tries which had come from things we had worked upon in training. It was probably the immaturity of the team which let them down from then on, because they just switched off. We didn’t have much possession, and, once we fell behind, heads dropped, when really we should have been digging deep to produce a response.
“Our game management should have kicked in once we started to be put on the back foot, and that is something we shall have to address, as we need to take a lesson out of all this.”
There are, however, two sides to every contest, – and every comeback – and the resolve, dedication and determination the Huddersfield lads showed must not be overlooked, for they turned around what other sides might have considered an insurmountable lead, and Danny was more than forthcoming in his praise for their efforts,
“Their commitment and self-belief were exemplary, and despite the setbacks they received throughout the first forty-five minutes, they never let it unsettle them, and when things did start to turn their way, they utilised their strengths to make it tell.”