Warrington Wolves earned their fifth win in a row as they ended their Easter fixtures with a hard-fought 22-6 win over a resolute Salford side at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Josh Charnley and Toby King starred in a first half in which Warrington raced out to a 14-0 lead, yet a Robert Lui inspired Salford side grew into the game and frustrated the wolves for much of the game.
Charnley- on his return to the ground in which he played for the Sale Sharks- wasted no time in getting accustomed, bearing down the right-hand side and offloading to send Toby King over to open the scoring.
Warrington added further tries through Charnley and Roberts, however, Salford hit back before the break as a deft pass from Weller Hauraki sent Lui strolling over.
Salford pressed to level the scores throughout the second half, enjoying much of the momentum in the later stages of the match, yet the Warrington defence held out before extending their lead.
Just eight minutes remained when Stefan Ratchford chimed into the line and grabbed his second assist of the match, slipping Kevin Brown through a huge gap in the Salford line.
The game wasn’t a classic, neither was it Warrington’s best performance, however, Steve Price’s revolution of the Wolves side continues, the final score at the AJ Bell Stadium 22-6.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Robert Lui must stay
Despite being played as a makeshift fullback against the wolves Lui still managed to show the ability that has seen him become Salford’s main man.
The Australian’s running and kicking game make him a huge threat to opposition teams, and whilst a part of that was nullified today, he still managed to produce the goods.
If the Devils side are going to push on and move up the league, keeping hold of players such as Lui- who has been linked with a move away- would be a huge step in the right direction.
Charnley staking his claim
Josh Charnley continued his fine form since rejoining Super League, picking up another try and assist. As he left to join Rugby Union in 2015, he stood as an England International and one of the competitions best wingers.
While he isn’t back to those levels just yet, if his form continues he will be right up there with the leading wingers in the Super League.
As for England? There are contenders galore in our game, yet in just three games Charnley has notched up three tries and two assists, not too shabby by anyone’s reckoning.
Man Of The Match- Robert Lui (Salford)
On the losing side today, yet looked as lively as anyone to produce a try. As previously discussed the changes in the Salford side disrupted their attack, however, Lui showcased his skills throughout to keep his side very much in the game until the final knockings.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Salford Red Devils Head Coach/Manager Ian Watson
“Our quality in the final third wasn’t up to scratch, we struggled with our combinations but the effort was there to see. You can’t fault the players today, Warrington just have the extra quality.”
Warrington Wolves Head Coach/Manager Steve Price
“To be four wins from four games over this tough block is a credit to how the players are working, it was really pleasing. Josh (Charnley has been fantastic for us, he’s a winner and brings a lot on and off the field.”
Salford Red Devils- 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Warrington Wolves- 22
Tries: T.King, J.Charnley, T.Roberts, K.Brown
Goals: S.Ratchford 3/5
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford: Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan, Tasi, Lannon, Burgess, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby, Shorrocks
Warrington: Akauola, Atkins, Brown, Charnley, Clark, Cooper, Crosby, Currie, Goodwin, Hill, Hughes, G. King, T. King, Lineham, Philbin, Ratchford, Roberts, Smith, Westwood.
Referee: Gareth Hewer