Paul Rowley and Ian Watson in agreement after shock Elliot Wallis red card

Two-try Salford star Nene Macdonald ripped Huddersfield apart as Elliot Wallis saw red in farcical style.

Strapping centre Macdonald intercepted Jake Connor ’s pass to race 80m for an eighth minute opener. When he ducked over for an easy second for 12-man Salford in the 47th minute, his side seemed to be cruising at 18-0. It all got too much for Giants winger Wallis who endured a mistake-ridden second half.

When he dropped an easy Connor ball to see a rare chance wasted just before the hour, Salford’s players gleefully rubbed it in. Wallis took exception to Tim Lafai’s celebrations and they briefly faced off with each other. So everyone in John Smith’s Stadium was stunned when referee Tom Grant brandished a red card - for a head-butt.

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Replays showed Wallis, 23, barely even tilted his head. But it spurred Huddersfield on as they staged a thrilling late rally. After Red Devils’ Chris Atkin was sin-binned for a block in the 63rd minute, they blasted three tries in eight minutes at the death.

Winger Adam Swift raced in for his 16th try of the season and Tui Lolohea also crossed, Conner adding a conversion. Jake Bibby added a third in the 79th minute, Connor improving, but Paul Rowley’s side held on. Salford moved joint-top of Super League - fifth, in essence, but you won’t hear their delighted fans mentioning that.

Rowley, who also saw hooker Joe Mellor (broken hand) and forward Joe Shorrocks (knee) go off injured, said: “We scored two fantastic tries: one through brilliant defence and one through fantastic skill. We started getting ascendancy at 12-0 with Marc Sneyd and looked comfortable. We also had a try ruled out which was an incorrect call.

“Credit to Huddersfield. They came back well. There were two sin bins and a red card so it got sort of chaotic. That suits them chasing and they’re a quality side. There wasn’t a lot in it [Wallis send-off], let’s be honest. We weren’t on the end of our seats shouting red card.

“But I’d have been gutted for the players if we’d have lost that as I thought we were the better side. And Nene's been brilliant. He’s fantastic and he’ll get better. There’s more to come from Nene."

On the red card, Giants boss Ian Watson said: “I’ll leave that for the match review panel to look at - because I don’t think he’ll be getting anything for it. Elliot’s looked at the incident with me in there and to say he’s upset or not the right call, it’s there for all to see.”

After back-to-back losses, he added: “I was pleased with the effort and the attitude to dig in at the back end but some stuff led to our own downfall.”