SALFORD KEEP TOP 8 HOPES ALIVE

Salford kept their top 8 hopes alive with a confidence boosting 22-18 win over a struggling Castleford Tigers on a wet and windy Friday night at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In what was a poor game of rugby league, in terrible conditions. An inspired Gareth O’Brien kicked his side to victory with 3 late penalties. The game was lacking real quality throughout, and needed someone to just grab the game by it’s ends and create some magic, but it never came.

Salford wont mind about the performance, but more about the win. It was a much needed win for a side that will find out next week if they are gaining any of the 6 points back that where deducted from them a few months ago by the RFL.

If Salford succeed in their appeal next week it puts them in a great position, while Castleford will be hoping for a different outcome to keep their top 8 place. Tigers have lost 4 games on the spin now, and with injuries creeping in, it could be a long final stretch of the season for the Tigers.

TIGHT ENCOUNTER

Before this game, it would’ve been near impossible to try and predict a correct result and winner. Both sides have a terrible defensive record and with injuries for both sides, it was so unpredictable.

Salford had the best of the ball early on, however it was Castleford who scored first through Webster, after Dorn produced probably the best moment of the match, with his assist. Salford responded well and went in front through tries from O’Brien and Dobson.

It was a struggle for both sides, with errors and poor discipline setting into the game. As I’ve already said, conditions didn’t help this game, however, you still expect much better from professional players, the handling was poor at the best of times.

GREAT SALFORD COMEBACK

Castleford came out strong in the second half, continuing on from the end to the first. It didn’t take long before the soon retiring, Luke Dorn got on the scoresheet and put his side 18-10 up early in the second half. Tigers looked in control at this stage and looked to finish the game.

However, the Tigers started to struggle with injuries and had too many players playing out of position. At one point, they had forwards playing in the centres. Salford looked to exploit this, and did so.

Caron-Brown started the comeback by finishing off great move in the corner. What followed was some poor game management and ill discipline from the Tigers as they gave away too many penalties, 3 in which Salford and Gareth O’Brien chose to kick at goal and did so with ease. Salford wrapped up a great comeback as the hooter sounded to mount more pressure on Castleford.

VIEW OF THE MANAGERS

Salford coach, Ian Watson was pleased with his sides performance and talked about their top 8 chances. Watson said:

“They’re a great bunch of guys and they work hard, they give us a chance in every game, we’ve just needed to improve our game management.”

“Gareth O’Brien is a great character, he beats himself up some times about small errors but when you need him he comes up with the goods.”

“It’s always been our aim to reach the top eights and whilst thats still possible we’ll keep trying to get in there.”

Castleford coach, Daryl Powell talked about confidence, injuries and Rangi Chase. Powell said:

“It’s important that we stick together in tough times. The effort shown tonight shows we are not far away”

“The medics couldn’t put Joel’s shoulder back in so he has gone to hospital it could be a bad one”

On the Rangi Chase rumours. Powell said: ‘I haven’t got anything to say about it. If anything is going to come out it’ll come out when it needs to.”

IN THE SHEDS

No incidents put on report during the game.

Early in the game, Tigers’ Monaghan left the field with a dislocated shoulder. He didn’t return.

Castleford also lost Jake Webster as he was helped from the field with a twisted ankle, early in the second half, he didn’t return.

There where no injuries to report for Salford.

FINAL SCORE

Salford Red Devils: (10) 22

Tries: O’Brien, Dobson, Caton-Brown

Goals: O’Brien 5

Castleford Tigers: (12) 18

Tries: Webster 2, Dorn

Goals: Gale 3

MATCH DETAILS

Salford Red Devils: O’Brien; Caton-Brown, J Griffin, Sa’u, Johnson; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Tomkins, G Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Flanagan.

Replacements: Hauraki, J Walne, Kenny, A Walne.

Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Flynn; T Holmes, Gale; Tickle, McShane, Patrick, Moors, McMeeken, Massey.

Replacements: Milner, Millington, O Holmes, Springer.

Referee: James Child

Attendance: 2,275

Venue: The AJ Bell Stadium, Salford

Date/Time: Friday 1st July 2016 – 20:00pm GMT