New Zealand international Kevin Locke can build on his impressive start to his Super League career once he regains his fitness, Salford coach Iestyn Harris believes.
The 25-year-old full-back scored a try and kicked six goals from as many attempts on his debut to help his new club pull off a stunning 36-10 win at high-flying Huddersfield.
Locke, who has joined the Red Devils on a three-and-a-half-year deal from New Zealand Warriors, was thrown straight in for his first appearance for more than a month, just four days after arriving in the country, and made a big contribution until being brought off 10 minutes from the end.
“Kevin is a world-class player and the reason we brought him to the club is because he can do things that not many other players can do and I think he showed that at times,” Harris said. “He looked composed and controlled for a bloke who only got off a plane on Tuesday.
“He’s only had one training session with us and I’m sure he will get better and better.
“He’s probably a month off if I’m honest. He’s a little bit heavy - he’s probably two or three kilogrammes heavier than he should be and that will come down gradually over his training time on the field. We’re quite happy with where he is and we’re looking forward to seeing him trim up over the next three or four weeks.”
Harris was also delighted with the debut of 21-year-old threequarter Mason Caton-Brown, who caught the eye with a series of lengthy runs that included a 70-metre try.
“I was really improved with Mase for a young man,” Harris said. “He made a couple of handling errors but the pace he demonstrated for the try showed why we brought him to the club. He’s a raw athlete and someone we want to help get to his best.”
Salford were leading 18-4 when prop Lama Tasi was sent off for a late and high tackle on Huddersfield captain Danny Brough and maintained their grip on the game with a three-try burst in nine minutes through Theo Fages, Greg Johnson and Locke.
It was only the Red Devils’ second win in 11 matches but Harris believes a play-off spot is still within their reach.
“There are enough games left for us to challenge the eight,” he said. “It’s still in our hands.
“We’ve got a long way to go. There are a lot of bad habits at the club we’re gradually changing into good habits.
“It was a good win for us and it’s important we start picking up these wins.
“I didn’t think the performance was fantastic. We’ve a lot of things to work on but to get a win here is always difficult and to score the points we did is good.
“We’re learning how to defend as a team now and we’re starting to see some improvements so that’s real pleasing.”
Huddersfield, who went into the game with only one defeat in their last 10 matches, lost full-back Scott Grix early in the game with an abductor injury and Brough left the field clutching his jaw after the challenge from Tasi.
Giants coach Paul Anderson admitted his side’s performance “wasn’t good enough” but was critical of Salford’s aggressive approach, claiming they were guilty of a host of “cheap shots”.
“It seemed that way,” he said. “Broughy was knocked to the ground after he passed the ball.
“My disappointment once Broughy and Eorl (Crabtree) and Robbo (Luke Robinson) got knocked out was that, our blokes didn’t rip in and absolutely knock 10 bells out of the bloke that did it because one cheap shot deserves another.”
Harris defended his side’s rigorous approach.
“The policy is that we’re physical,” he said. “I want them to be aggressive and dominant defensively and I thought we were. The by product of that is that you do hurt people sometimes.”