Salford 18 Huddersfield Giants 12: No happy return for Ian Watson

Salford ensured there was no happy return for former coach Ian Watson as they completed the double over Huddersfield with an 18-12 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Giants head coach Ian Watson. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The rejuvenated Giants were on course for a fourth-consecutive victory when they raced into an 8-0 lead but the Red Devils got back to within two points by half-time and shaded a seesaw second half to gain the spoils.

There were also disappointing returns for ex-Salford forwards Luke Yates and Josh Jones – the latter on his 250th career appearance – as former Huddersfield captain Kevin Brown led the home side to victory.

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Huddersfield went in front with a penalty from teenage stand-off Will Pryce but they suffered a blow when centre Ricky Leutele was forced off with a head knock after 10 minutes.

Matty English powered his way over for the game’s first try after 23 minutes and Nathaniel Peteru thought he had repeated the feat but was penalised for dissent after disputing referee Chris Kendall’s decision that he had failed to ground the ball.

The Red Devils hit back when centre Krisnan Inu intercepted Jack Cogger’s pass near his own line and sent winger Rhys Williams away for an 80-metre try, which Inu converted.

Salford went in front within four minutes of the restart when full-back Tui Lolohea sliced through. But Inu was wide with the goalkick and Pryce kicked two further penalties to initially bring his side level and then edge them back in front.

The lead then changed hands for the third time when Salford forward Jack Ormondroyd won the race to hooker Andy Ackers’s grubber kick for a try.

Inu kicked the conversion and added a penalty to put his side six points clear and the Red Devils defended superbly to keep the lead intact. Both sides ended the game with 12 men after Greg Burke (Salford) and Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield) were sin-binned for fighting.

Salford: Lolohea, Williams, Inu, Costello, Burgess, Atkin, Brown, Johnson, Ackers, Ormondroyd, Livett, Greenwood, Burke. Substitutes: Luckley, Norman, Addy, Robson.

Huddersfield: Golding, Leutele, J. Wardle, Cudjoe, Senior, Cogger, Pryce, Trout, Peats, Wilson, Greenwood, Jones, Yates. Substitutes: English, Hewitt, Peteru, Wood.

Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).