O’Brien impresses in Salford’s first Super League 2017 Victory

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A 22 point haul from fullback Gareth O’Brien helped Salford secure their first win of the 2017 Super League season, with a 30-20 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s stadium.

The difference had stood at two points entering the final 10 minutes, but an impressive try from Josh Jones and penalty kick from O’Brien saw the visitors close the game out.

The Red Devils could have sealed the result in the 47th minute, when Gregory Johnson had a try disallowed. This would have put his team three scores ahead, but instead the Giants narrowed the gap, thanks to a brace of tries from Alexander Mellor within the space of three minutes.

The boot of O’Brien was the only thing which separated the two teams in the first half. Both had scored a single try, but only Salford were able to add the extras and their fullback also took advantage of two penalty opportunities.

It was nip and tuck in the opening exchanges. O’Brien opened the scoring with a penalty, then Jermaine McGilvary scored in the corner for the hosts.

O’Brien then turned provider, as he put Junior Sau through to regain the lead for Salford, before adding the conversion and another penalty to set the score at 10-4 as they entered the interval.

Salford had extended their lead within two minutes of the re-start. A 40/20 from Michael Dobson granted them field position. Then Robert Lui showed good decision making to send O’Brien through from close-range.

A knee in touch for Johnson saw his try disallowed by the video-referee five minutes later and this ignited the contest.

Huddersfield began to dominate as Danny Brough took control of the match. He fooled the Red Devils’ defence with a dummy, then fed the ball to Mellor for the 22-year-olds first try since his move from Bradford.

Mellor’s second try came off the back of a Lee Gaskell break, but it was Brough again with the assist. A cut out pass which put his teammate clean through.

Brough attempted the same feat a second time, but this time Kris Welham was wise to it and made and interception, the break from which put Salford in the right territory to mount an attack.

Dobson found O’Brien entering the line late and the fullback completed his brace with Mellor wrapped around him, but Brough hadn’t given in and soon got the Giants back within touching distance. His short ball allowed Ukuma Ta’ai to cross and the conversion made the score 20-22.

The next five minutes were nervy for Salford, but in the 75th Josh Jones Bounced off four defenders in a great show of strength and unbelievably was able to ground the ball to seal the result. O’Brien then further rubbed salt into the wounds of the hosts with a penalty in the final minute.

Teams

HUDDERSFIELD: Gaskell, McGillvary, Cudjoe, Mellor, Murphy, Brough, Brierley, Ikahihifo, Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai, Lawrence, Ferguson, Rapira SUBS: Wakeman, Leeming, Roberts, Clough.

SALFORD: O’Brien, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, J. Carney, Lui, Dobson, Kopczak, Tomkins, Mossop, Jones, Griffin, Flanagan SUBS: Krasniqi, Tasi, A. Walne, Wood.

Referee: James Child

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