Salford made the short trip over the to the dark side last night to play Huddersfield, hoping to carry on the second half form against Wigan last Saturday, where they nailed the champions in the second half.
I was given a ticket for the Huddersfield end and before the game started I managed to catch a few words with Salford coach Ian Watson. He said that the lads had been training hard and had a game plan to work to; if they see out the sets he was confident they would come up with the points. Then the fun and games started...
In true Salford Star style, I had blagged my way into the Salford dugout to interview the coach; the stewards had got onto it and came from all over. Ian asked what was happening and I said 'Don't worry I am a Salford lad'... I had never seen him move so fast - if he was playing nowadays he would have scored more points than Gaz O'Brien, the speed he moved.
It was one of my funniest ever moments in rugby. Okay, the stewards threw me out but I had the chance to get close to the coach and talk all things Salford, if only for a couple of minutes. It was worth it for the laugh.
So, your Salford Red Devils rugby reporter had to, er, watch the match today on SKY for the report, and here it is, if a bit late and a bit virtual...
For the record, Gareth O'Brien, who saved Salford from relegation at the end of last season, helped the Red Devils get off the mark in 2017 with a 22-point haul in a thrilling 30-20 win.
The full-back scored two of the Red Devils' four tries and kicked seven goals from as many attempts to almost single-handedly condemn the Giants to defeat in this rearranged round 11 fixture in the Betfred Super League. Huddersfield only had themselves to blame after dominating the game for long spells without demonstrating the patience to make it count.
O'Brien gave the Red Devils the lead with a ninth-minute penalty but Huddersfield bossed the opening quarter and scored the first try of the game through England winger Jermaine McGillvary, who profited from Ryan Hinchcliffe's cut-out pass to grab his third touchdown in two matches.
However it was a rare clinical moment for the Giants, who failed to apply the finishing touches to some promising build-up and lost much of their momentum when impressive starting front rowers Sebastine Ikahihifo and Ukuma Ta'ai went off for a rest.
The visitors enjoyed the better of the second quarter, with centre Junior Sa'u taking O'Brien's pass to scythe through for a 22nd-minute try and O'Brien adding a penalty on the stroke of half-time to extend his side's lead to 10-4.
That became 16-4 within two minutes of the restart when O'Brien cut through for a try after Michael Dobson's 40-20 kick had set up the perfect attacking position. It might have been worse for Huddersfield when Salford winger Greg Johnson had a try disallowed for a foot on the touchline. But they responded with two tries in three minutes from centre Alex Mellor, who found a generous chink in Salford's right-sided defence.
Danny Brough was able to convert only one of his side's three tries, to leave them trailing by two points, and the decisive moment came on 62 minutes when Salford's debutant centre Kris Welham swooped on a wayward pass from Brough twenty metres from his own line to race upfield. He was eventually brought down by Huddersfield's scrambling defence but O'Brien had the final say when he cut through for his second try on the last tackle.
O'Brien's fifth goal made it 22-14 but, with Ikahihifo and Ta'ai back on the field and replacement hooker Kruise Leeming causing all sorts of problems with his runs from dummy half, Huddersfield gained their second wind. The gap was back to just two points on 69 minutes when Brough got Ta'i powering over for a try and kicked his second goal, and Salford were grateful for a timely interception from Sa'u when the Giants went for the winning try.
However, the Yorkshiremen were powerless to stop second rower Josh Jones forcing his way over for a solo try five minutes from the end to clinch the victory, with O'Brien adding a late penalty to round off the scoring.
When the game ended I tried to find out what had happened after spending eighty minutes on the coach with the drivers and the few other Salford fans who had been escorted out of the ground. It seems every time we play Huddersfield there is an incident or two, with over-zealous stewarding towards the Salford fans
David Platt from Winton said "Gaz O'Brien was amazing and Dobbo has really stepped up his game"... Craig Piggot from Weaste said "A brilliant win, cannot wait for Leeds next Friday...and Ryan Wilde from Langworthy said "I am doing The Sounds of Salford Radio's Straight From The Fans' Mouth this week, because neither you nor Dennis seen the full game..."
This was one of my funniest games ever, for the right reasons...got to interview Ian Watson and, erm, heard about a great Salford win...