TURBULENT TIGERS | Wests Tigers' 2016 season was... interesting.
From the demotion and eventual dep...
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Salford full-back Karl Fitzpatrick grabbed a superb hat-trick as the Reds made light of some horrendous conditions at the Willows to continue their excellent start to the season with a 36-18 win over Huddersfield.
Ian Sibbit, David Hodgson and Luke Robinson also crossed over the whitewash for the home side while John Wilshere kicked six goals from eight attempts.
Huddersfield fought hard for an hour, with tries from Michael De Vere, Robbie Paul and Martin Aspinwall, but they were just found wanting in the latter stages of each half.
Both defences held firm under spells of intense pressure early on as the opening 10 minutes passed by without a point being scored.
The deadlock was then broken in fine style, however, when Fitzpatrick burst onto an offload from Sibbit to go over under the posts and Wilshere made no mistake with the conversion.
Huddersfield soon hit back though when De Vere pounced on a neat kick through and Chris Thorman converted superbly from the touchline.
The Giants followed up almost immediately when huge forward Eorl Crabtree broke through the Salford line and fed Paul to scamper over the whitewash.
Thorman again added the extras to make it 12-6 to the visitors after 20 minutes, and they almost extended that lead further when winger Mat Gardner just failed to ground the ball in the corner.
The Giants were made to pay for that missed opportunity, though, when Fitzpatrick grabbed his second touchdown of the night, backing up well after Andrew Dunemann had waltzed through the Huddersfield defence.
Salford then went in front again when some superb defensive work from the Reds on Huddersfield?s line forced an error and Sibbit pounced on a loose ball in the in-goal area, with Wilshere successfully converting both tries.
Huddersfield?s plight worsened when Stuart Jones was sin-binned for a late hit on Luke Robinson and Salford made the extra man tell when Dunemann produced another moment of magic to put winger Hodgson in for his seventh try of the season.
Wilshere made it four from four with the boot to give the home side a 12-point lead at half-time.
Huddersfield dominated the early exchanges after the break, though, and the pressure told when Aspinwall breezed through some weak defence to score under the posts.
Thorman comfortably added the extras but Salford gradually found their feet again and the lead was back up to 12 when Fitzpatrick picked up a blocked kick through and danced round the Huddersfield defence to complete his hat-trick.
Huddersfield were thrown a lifeline when Salford forward Andy Coley was sin binned for deliberate obstruction but they failed to capitalise as the rain worsened and the Reds? defence went into overdrive.
Fitzpatrick was instrumental again as he produced a try-saving ankle tap on Aspinwall as the winger looked set to race over for an interception try.
Wilshere missed one penalty chance and Robinson pushed a drop goal wide, but the former quickly made amends when Huddersfield were penalised for a high tackle.
Robinson rounded off an impressive display when darting over in the corner with Huddersfield?s defence stretched once again.
Tries: Robinson, Hodgson, Fitzpatrick 3, Sibbit
Goals: Wilshere 6
Tries: Paul, De Vere, Aspinwall
Goals: Thorman 3
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Wilshere, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Stringer, Brocklehurst, Sibbit, Finnigan. Replacements: McGuinness, Charles, Clayton, Baldwin.
Huddersfield: Donlan, Aspinwall, Nero, De Vere, Gardner, Thorman, Paul, Crabtree, Drew, Jackson, Smith, Jones, Wild. Replacements: Snitch, March, McDonald, Raleigh.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens)