16th February 2017, 23:09 | super_league
Gareth O'Brien helped Salford Red Devils get off the mark in 2017 with a 22-point haul in a thrilling 30-20 win over Huddersfield Giants.
The full-back scored two of his side's 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.
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.
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.
Great team effort tonight with the brothers good to get our first win for the season on to next week. Thanks to our @SalfordDevils FANS!!!— Junior Sa'u (@junior_sau) February 16, 2017
That became 16-4 within two minutes of the restart thanks to a try from O'Brien but two tries in three minutes from centre Alex Mellor saw the hosts come back into the game.
O'Brien cut through for his second try in the 63rd minute before adding his fifth goal to make it 22-14.
The gap was back to just two points on 69 minutes when Ukuma Ta'ai's try was converted by Danny Brough but Josh Jones forced his way over for a solo try five minutes from the end to clinch the victory.
Huddersfield coach Rick Stone admitted the hungrier team won.
"Any time you lose, it's disappointing," Stone said. "I thought our effort in the second half was great.
"We had some momentum to win the game but probably didn't stay as composed as we needed to be. Sometimes when you're chasing points, there's a bit of panic and I think there was a bit of that.
"We tried hard and kept coming back but the opposition kept firing bullets too. It was a decent contest. We just got beat by a hungrier team, to be honest. Full credit goes to the opposition, they deserved to win."
Tough game that one 😥 buzzin to get the win n that. On to next week 👌— George Griffin (@georgegriffin4) February 16, 2017
Salford coach Ian Watson was delighted with the way his side responded to their opening-round home defeat to Wigan.
"It's really pleasing on the back of the Wigan game because we spoke all week about things we need to learn from it and I think we put a few wrongs right tonight," Watson said.
"We had that toughness about us tonight. We showed great determination and great character."