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Super League: Huddersfield Giants return to form with win at Salford Red Devils
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Winger Aaron Murphy scored a hat-trick of tries as Huddersfield Giants halted their four-match losing run in emphatic fashion to put a dampener on Iestyn Harris' first home match in charge of Salford Red Devils.
Huddersfield, the 2013 league leaders, dominated their Good Friday fixture at the AJ Bell Stadium from start to finish, running in seven tries to five to secure a 42-22 victory in the First Utility Super League.
The only disappointment for the Giants was the loss of hooker Shaun Lunt with a knee injury 11 minutes from the end.
Salford winger Francis Meli also scored a hat-trick but the highlight for the home side was a storming first try for skipper Adrian Morley.
Huddersfield looked a rejuvenated side from the kick-off and made a quick start with three tries in the first 12 minutes, all converted by skipper Danny Brough.
Lunt forced his way over from dummy half for the opener, after prop Eorl Crabtree had been hauled down short by Salford captain Adrian Morley, while the second came from deep, with centre Joe Wardle breaking from his own half to get Murphy over for his first try.
Lunt then re-gathered his own kick over the Red Devils defence and the supporting Scott Grix kicked ahead for Brough to touch down.
Harris' men were all at sea in the opening quarter and the coach was forced to shuffle his side when winger Greg Johnson was forced off with a badly-cut mouth.
They finally got on the scoreboard on 25 minutes when left winger Francis Meli collected a long pass from Rangi Chase that was touched by a defender to grab his sixth try of the season.
Play was then unusually halted for groundstaff to turn off the sprinklers that soaked a section of fans and began to make the surface slippery but the Red Devils quickly picked up from where they had left off as they added a second try to get back into the game.
A month shy of his 37th birthday, Morley rolled back the years when got up a head of steam and proved unstoppable from 20 metres out to score his first try for his home-town club.
Jake Mullaney's first conversion of the match cut the Giants' lead to just eight points but Murphy scored his second try six minutes before the break after accepting Grix's neatly-timed pass.
A touch of magic early in the second half from Chase kept Salford in the hunt as he picked up a loose ball and conjured a try from nothing for Meli.
There was another lengthy stoppage as Salford forward Shannon McPherson received treatment for a head injury, sustained charging down Brough's kick, before being carried off on a stretcher.
The rest appeared to be beneficial for the visitors who immediately extended their lead upon the resumption.
A powerful burst from substitute forward Ukuma Ta'ai set up the position for England centre Leroy Cudjoe to get his winger Jermaine McGillvary over for his seventh try of the season with a superb overhead pass.
Brough kicked his fourth goal from the touchline and was also on target six minutes later when substitute Chris Bailey was put through a gap by the Huddersfield skipper for the Giants' sixth try.
Salford substitute Matty Ashurst pulled a try back on the hour after great work from second row partner Gareth Hock but Brough put over a penalty and then converted Murphy's hat-trick try.
The Red Devils finished a well-beaten side but they had the final say when Meli completed his hat-trick four minutes from the end.
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First Utility Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||3||2|
|10||Salford Red Devils||3||2|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull FC vs Leeds Rhinos|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield Wildcats vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield Giants vs Widnes Vikings|
|20:00||Castleford Tigers vs Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:30||Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils|
|Sunday 8th March|
|15:00||Warrington Wolves vs Hull K R|
|Thursday 12th March|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Castleford|
|Friday 13th March|
|20:00||Warrington vs Leeds|
|20:00||Wigan vs Hull|
|20:00||Widnes Vikings vs St Helens|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Widnes Vikings 58 - 16 Wakefield Wildcats|
|Hull K R 22 - 20 Wigan Warriors|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Salford Red Devils 32 - 28 Hull FC|
|Catalans Dragons 38 - 18 Warrington Wolves|
|Friday 27th February|
|St Helens 21 - 14 Castleford Tigers|
|Thursday 26th February|
|Leeds Rhinos 28 - 24 Huddersfield Giants|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
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