Huddersfield Giants came up with the perfect response to their Hull FC nightmare to crush star-studded Salford Red Devils in their own back yard.
So much that was so wrong at the KC Stadium was so right at the AJ Bell Stadium as coach Paul Anderson’s under-performing side rattled up a third win of the 2014 Super League campaign in emphatic style.
It was still far from being the perfect performance, but there were more than enough signs in this convincing display to suggest last season’s table-topping form can soon be re-discovered.
Leading the way was winger Aaron Murphy, who completed a thoroughly-deserved hat trick, but this was one of those Giants’ performances where the team effort rather than those of the individual stood out.
After the horrors of Hull, the Giants couldn’t have hoped to have made a better start.
After surviving an initial scare when former Huddersfield centre Martin Gleeson almost scored from deep, the visitors took complete control to open up a 18-0 lead after 13 minutes.
Shaun Lunt set the ball rolling with a typically powerful effort from acting half-back from close range after Salford had just been forced to drop-put from under their own posts.
Danny Brough converted and was banging over a second goal two minutes later.
From the second play from the restart and after one of numerous strong drives from Eorl Crabtree, the destructive Joe Wardle burst clear.
Although his pass on halfway to Aaron Murphy was blocked by a Red Devils’ defender, the ball fell to ground for Murphy to gather at the second time and race away.
Then, just another two minutes later, Lunt kicked through on halfway, re-gathered and fed Scott Grix to follow suit and dab the ball through for Brough to finish off.
At that stage, there was only going to be one winner. But once again, the Giants then fell into the trap of allowing their opponents to take the initiative.
First, Murphy was penalised for shoving his hand in the face of the unfortunate Greg Johnson when the Giants man was in possession and, from the subsequent set, Francis Meli scored.And on the half-hour mark, Brough failed to get the ball away on halfway on the sixth tackle, and within seconds Adrian Morley was powering over under the posts for Jake Mullaney to convert to make it 18-10.
By half-time, however, the Huddersfield nerves had settled as Grix came into the line to feed Murphy for his second after Wardle had been held up.
Although Brough failed to add the conversion, it was 22-10 at the break and hopes in the Giants’ camp were high. Unfortunately, the jitters were back within five minutes of the restart as Chase fed Meli for his second, although Mullaney again failed to convert. A lengthy delay after the incredibly unlucky Shannon McPherson was hit full in the face attempting to block a Brough downfield kick broke up the Red Devils’ rhythm.
And the Giants took full advantage, with Ukuma Ta’ai’s barnstorming run paving the way for Jermaine McGillvary to squeeze in at the corner for Brough to land an excellent touchline conversion.
Brough them showed his skill with ball in hand to feed Chris Bailey with a lovely short pass to stroll over for another converted try to make it 34-14 after 58 minutes. But Salford showed they were still far from finished when a sweeping move from deep gave Matty Ashurst an unconverted score.
A Brough penalty with 14 minutes remaining again took some of the wind out of the Salford sails, with Murphy’s hat-trick try as he finished off a sweeping move in the corner well and truly finishing off the Red Devils.
They did manage a late try through Meli to complete his hat trick.
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