Huddersfield duly regained first place in the Super League, setting up a possible League Leaders’ Trophy decider at Wigan on Friday.
Jermaine McGillvary scored two tries against Salford at the beginning, and Jamie Cording ran in two near the end. In between, Danny Brough was predictably influential, scoring the best try of the afternoon, having a hand in several others and kicking seven goals from eight attempts.
“Now we can think about Wigan, but our intensity and execution will need to improve,” said Huddersfield’s assistant coach, Kieron Purtill.
The Giants’ route back to the top of the League never seemed a particularly difficult one. A combination of injuries and suspensions left 13th-placed Salford with a badly weakened team, which looked particularly vulnerable in the forwards.
Another factor is that, given the promises of investment in the side, many of these players will not be in Salford’s colours next season. They did not need, however, to make quite as woeful a start as they did at the John Smith’s Stadium yesterday, conceding two tries, both of them to McGillvary, in the first five minutes.
Lee Gaskell started the rot, putting his kick-off dead on the full to concede possession from which the winger touched down Scott Grix’s cleverly angled little kick. The City Reds had hardly absorbed that when Brough’s neat chip-kick caught them cold and Leroy Cudjoe’s pass put McGillvary in again.
The surprise was that, for 25 minutes, the Giants did not score again. There were two reasons for that; the home side’s tendency to over-elaborate and some gritty defence from Salford’s irregulars. The visitors had one promising attack, created and ultimately spoiled by Theo Fages, before the Giants found their stride again, with David Faiumu slipping the tackle and Brett Ferres scoring one and then setting one up for Joe Wardle with a skilful off-load.
The moment of the match, however, was the delightful sidestep Brough sold to Gaskell for the sixth try, but Salford, to their credit, never gave up. “It was always going to be tough,” said their coach, Brian Noble, “but I was really pleased with the effort that they put in.”
Niall Evalds claimed the try that those efforts deserved, only for Cording’s late double to stretch the final margin.
Huddersfield: Grix; McGillvary, Cudjoe, Wardle, Murphy; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Wood, Kopczak, Ferres, Lawrence, Cording. Substitutes used: Faiumu, Patrick,Ta’ai, Johnson.
Salford: Gaskell; Williams, Gibson, McGoldrick, Evalds; Sneyd, Fages; A Walne, Godwin, Neal, Davies, Dixon, Wild. Substitutes used: Owen, Hope, Davidson, J.Walne.
Referee: G Stokes (RFL).