The first week of the Super League play-offs concludes on Saturday afternoon when the third and sixth placed sides in the regular season meet as the Huddersfield Giants take on the Salford Red Devils at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The Giants have already shown their prowess in knockout football this season and will hope they have three more wins in them. Salford finished the season with a flourish and won’t want it to end here so this is beautifully poised.
Where to watch
We have a choice of channel to watch this match on as it will be shown live and in full on the Sky Sports Arena and Channel 4 channels. The build-up on both begins at 12.30pm with the match kicking off at 1pm.
I think it is fair to say that whatever happens here and potentially in the weeks to come this has been a wonderful campaign for the Huddersfield Giants. They have already made it through to the Challenge Cup final this term and have been in and around the top three throughout the entirety of the Super League campaign. It is a decent achievement to finish third but it probably won’t feel like it if they lose this play-off opener.
Much has been made of the conservative and often robotic style of the Giants this season. They are a set completion machine with the aim of getting dropouts or forcing teams into errors deep in their own territory and while it isn’t necessarily the nicest brand of rugby to watch, it is hard to argue with their results and achievements over the course of the campaign. They say defences win titles and Huddersfield’s doesn’t get breached too often with the control they maintain in games.
Salford Red Devils
I don’t think too many people had the Salford Red Devils down as a play-off team at the halfway mark but they were a work in progress under Paul Rowley and flicked a switch around that point and since then they haven’t looked back. They are the form team going into the postseason and there is absolutely no disputing the danger they possess and carry. If they are on it they can take any team in the competition to the cleaners.
There is a risk about the way the Red Devils play but we’ve seen over the second half of the campaign the rewards that can come with such a style and it might just be that the braver of the two sides will be the one that comes out on top. Salford will hope that is the case because it is likely to be them. I think Salford have enough questions to put to the Huddersfield defence so the win or loss could come by how well Salford do or don’t defend.
OPEN AN ACCOUNT WITH 888SPORT AND BET £10 TO GET £30 IN FREE BETS PLUS A £10 CASINO BONUS! PERFECT OFFER TO USE ON THE SUPER LEAGUE! CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO JOIN. USE CODE 30F. NEW ACCOUNTS ONLY. 18+ T&Cs apply (See image for significant terms). Gamble Aware.
Huddersfield Giants are understood to be sweating on the fitness of half-back Theo Fages but that aside it looks like Ian Watson has a full strength squad to pick from. Tui Lolohea and Chris McQueen will return from being rested last week.
Salford Red Devils have no fresh injury concerns and after taking the opportunity to rest a lot of their starters for their final regular season match last week Paul Rowley will bring back all of his big guns for this do or die clash.
I think we are in for a cracking postseason encounter here but I do think in the early stages it will be quite cagey and I can see the scoring taking a while to be opened, much like we saw in the first game on Friday night. When the deadlock was broken in France on Friday it was a penalty which opened the scoring and I can see something similar happening here while we wait for the defences to spread and allow the tries to flow.
Salford have one of the best kickers in the league in Marc Sneyd so anything that is in kickable range he’ll be having a go at while Tui Lolohea isn’t exactly a mess with the boot so he might well follow suit. I would imagine both packs will be looking to impose themselves on the opposition early and the referee will probably want to keep control of things early doors too so the best way to play this one could be splitting stakes on the first scoring play being a penalty.
Back First Scoring Play – Huddersfield Giants Penalty for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Betfair
Back First Scoring Play – Salford Red Devils Penalty for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Betfair