The Salford Red Devils welcome the visit of Huddersfield Giants tomorrow afternoon in search of their first Super 8s victory.
The Red Devils currently sit 7th in the Super League Super 8s just above their opponents this weekend – Huddersfield Giants. Salford fell to a disappointing 18-43 defeat last time out against Wakefield which extended the club’s winless run in the Super 8s however Ian Watson and co will be confident they can turn it around this weekend.
Huddersfield have had a mixed Super 8s campaign thus far winning twice and losing twice. The Giants earned dominant victories over Wakefield and Hull and have suffered narrow defeats to Wigan and, most recently, Castleford. Despite losing to the Tigers Rick Stone’s side will head into the game full of confidence after four solid performances in the Super 8s.
The key battle
Craig Kopczak spent time with the Giants between 2013 and 2015 but will be central to any success the Red Devils will have this weekend setting the platform for Watson’s men. The Welsh international has been impressive since returning from injury but will need to step up even further due to injuries to the likes of Lama Tasi, Mark Flanagan, Lee Mossop and George Griffin.
Earlier in the week the Giants confirmed that Sam Rapira will leave the John Smith’s Stadium for a move to Championship side Toulouse but he is still one to watch for Huddersfield. Rapira offers some real steel down the middle for the visitors and the Red Devils forwards will need to watch him at all times.
Kopczak and Rapira offer up a great head-to-head in the forwards and if one is to get the upper hand early on it would be reasonable to assume that their side will find themselves on the front foot.
The meetings this season
Salford have two victories over the Giants this season earning their first win of the season against Huddersfield back in February before overcoming them once again in early July.
Gareth O’Brien notched a 22-point haul including two tries and seven conversions to help the Red Devils to a 30-20 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium. Junior Sa’u and Josh Jones were also on the scoresheet while Jermaine McGillvary, Ukuma Ta’ai and Alex Mellor scored the Giants tries.
The Red Devils won in convincing fashion last time the sides met at the The Salford Stadium. Leroy Cudjoe did put the visitors ahead but Junior Sa’u, Robert Lui and Kris Welham gave Salford a lead. Aaron Murphy looked to have gotten Huddersfield back into it but a second from Sa’u before Greg Johnson and Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed confirmed victory. Kruise Leeming and Darnell McIntosh both crossed late on to reduce the arrears.
The Squads
Red Devils: Bibby, Brining, Evalds, Hauraki, Johnson, Jones, Kopczak, Krasniqi, Lannon, Lui, McCarthy, Murdoch-Masila, O’Brien, Sa’u, Tomkins, Vatuvei, A. Walne, J. Walne, Welham.
Giants: Brough, Clough, Ferguson, Gaskell, Hinchcliffe, Ikahihifo, Lawrence, Leeming, McGillvary, Mellor, McIntosh, O’Brien, Rankin, Rapira, Roberts, Smith, Ta’ai, Turner, Wakeman.