Huddersfield Giants 30 Salford Red Devils 18: Double delight for Ian Watson's side on momentous day

Regardless of the outcome at St James' Park, it was a momentous day for Huddersfield Giants.

After being courted by NRL clubs, Ian Watson ended speculation over his future by signing a long-term deal until the end of 2026.

Huddersfield announced the news just minutes before their Magic Weekend clash with Salford Red Devils, a shot in the arm for Watson's team going into a tough fixture.

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Salford ran in 19 tries in their previous two games and they had their moments in an entertaining game on Tyneside.

But Huddersfield were the better team in searing heat as the Challenge Cup finalists bounced back from a rare off day against Castleford Tigers to cement their position in the top four.

The Giants produced a clinical first-half performance to build up a 24-6 lead and showed good character to hold off a fightback from the plucky Red Devils.

Huddersfield had greater control with Theo Fages back in the side, the half-back helping the Giants to a win that makes them Magic Weekend's most successful club.

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It was a clash of styles in Newcastle with Watson's methodical Giants going up against a free-spirited Salford outfit.

Huddersfield Giants celebrate Chris McQueen's first-half try. (Picture: Giants celebrate Chris McQueen's first-half try. (Picture:
Huddersfield Giants celebrate Chris McQueen's first-half try. (Picture:

But there is much more to Huddersfield than five drives and a kick.

The Giants have game-breaking players across the park, giving them the tools to put teams to the sword.

After serving up an uncharacteristically sloppy performance in last week's defeat by Castleford, Huddersfield looked in the mood in the early stages at St James' Park.

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It was a quiet debut for Toby King at Wheldon Road but he opened his try-scoring account for the Giants inside the opening four minutes against Salford, showing bravery and skill to beat Ryan Brierley to Oliver Russell's hanging kick before racing clear to score.

Toby King scores his first Huddersfield Giants try. (Picture: King scores his first Huddersfield Giants try. (Picture:
Toby King scores his first Huddersfield Giants try. (Picture:

Alarm bells would have been ringing in the Red Devils' camp when Owen Trout pirouetted his way over from close range in the 10th minute.

Salford worked their way into the contest and sent a warning shot of their own, Ken Sio threatening to touch down in the corner only to be denied by Innes Senior's try-saving tackle.

Huddersfield were clinical when chances came their way, with a little help from the Red Devils.

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When Danny Levi's kick in behind evaded Salford defenders, Chris McQueen was on hand to score his 12th try of the Super League season.

Sio squared his individual battle with Senior when he forced his opposite number into touch just short of the line and the Red Devils found a way over at the other end on 33 minutes.

Salford sent the ball out to the right where Deon Cross brushed off a poor attempt by King to score out wide.

But Huddersfield were the dominant side in the first half and scored a fourth on the stroke of the break, Jermaine McGillvary coasting over from a scrum play after Rhys Williams knocked on close to his own line.

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After seeing Toulouse Olympique stage an unlikely second-half comeback on Saturday, the Giants would have been on their guard as the game restarted.

Salford's chances of staging a fightback of their own took a hit when they lost the impressive Tyler Dupree to injury - but Brodie Croft had not read the script.

The Australian half-back got his side back in it with a superb solo effort after Andy Ackers took advantage of scattered markers before putting local lad Sam Luckley under the sticks.

As the prop channelled his inner Alan Shearer in his celebration in front of the Gallowgate End, the Red Devils were threatening to trump Toulouse's comeback.

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But Huddersfield steadied themselves and landed a decisive blow 18 minutes from time.

After being pulled back for a forward pass moments earlier, there was no denying McGillvary when he took Leroy Cudjoe's swift offload to stroll over in the corner.

Ashton Golding and Fages had tries ruled out for offside in the closing stages but the day belonged to Huddersfield and Watson.

Huddersfield Giants: Lolohea, McGillvary, Cudjoe, King, Senior, Russell, Fages, Greenwood, Levi, Trout, Hewitt, McQueen, Yates.

Substitutes: English, Ashworth, Mason, Golding.

Salford Red Devils: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Williams, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Akauola, Livett, Watkins, Gerrard.

Substitutes: Taylor, Luckley, Dupree, Atkin.

Referee: Marcus Griffiths.

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