Salford Red Devils pulled off a shock win on Friday night, to defeat in-form Wakefield Trinity at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Salford Red Devils climbed above Wakefield Trinity in the Super League table with a comfortable 38-4 win.
Wakefield were totally outplayed throughout while Salford were excellent, particularly considering the loss of key man Robert Lui to injury in the first half.
Salford led 8-0 at the break, with the one try coming in a great first few minutes. They won a penalty in their first set for Justin Horo’s high shot, and moved the ball nicely for Junior Sa’u to score.
Lui added the conversion and, after some great Salford defence kept Wakefield at bay, added a penalty to extend the lead into the break.
Then, Trinity fell apart at the start of the second half to put Salford in full control.
Reece Lyne was sent to the bin for holding Niall Evalds down too long after the Salford full-back almost raced the length of the field. In the absence of Lui, Tyrone McCarthy kicked the first goal of his career with that penalty.
McCarthy then got himself a try too, powering over from close range and converting his own effort, before Ryan Lannon added another score after the Trinity defence failed to deal with Jack Littlejohn’s kick.
Joe Arundel got Wakefield’s first and only points with his try, made by the quick hands of Jacob Miller, but within two minutes Salford were over again as a neat move right ended with Kris Welham putting Jake Bibby in.
The Red Devils didn’t let up with three tries in the final ten minutes. The first came from Liam Finn dropping the ball, which allowed Logan Tomkins to play a short pass to George Griffin who powered over.
Bibby got his second as he finished another good move right, before Scott Grix failed to claim a Littlejohn kick and Greg Johnson pounced to finish a miserable evening for Trinity and a great one for Salford.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
SALFORD MORE THAN CAPABLE WITHOUT LUI
It was a scoreline what would surprise many but what made it even more remarkable was that the second half avalanche was achieved without the talismanic Robert Lui.
Lui went off towards the end of the first half with a calf injury, but it mattered not as the Red Devils ran in six tries in a very impressive second period.
So often they have relied on him this season, but every Salford player put in 110% in his absence and in the end it was a fantastic team performance that got them a comprehensive victory.
WAKEFIELD NOT AT THE RACES
The same could not be said of Wakefield, and Chris Chester was rightly livid after the game at the performance of his troops.
He stayed faithful to the 17 players who got the win against St Helens last Sunday, but they looked tired as Salford punished them repeatedly down the middle and they failed to create when they did have good position, particularly in the first half.
It’s a big game this week with the short trip to rivals Castleford on Friday, and Chester may believe that changes are necessary to avoid another woeful performance.
Man Of The Match – Tyrone McCarthy (Salford)
Every Salford player put in a huge effort to earn such a comprehensive win, but no one encapsulated that more than Tyrone McCarthy.
He was brilliant all-round in his first appearance in almost a month, and as well as his own try he even stood up for kicking duties at the start of the second half and scored the first goals of his career.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson
“I’d say that’s probably one of our best performances in the past three years. I don’t think there was a bad player out there.
“The defence and the character impressed me, the strength of the group really to face a little bit of adversity and come through the other side and not let it disrupt us or take us away from our game plan.
“The players all nailed their jobs tonight. We had to work hard as a group as we don’t have as big a squad as everyone else.”
Wakefield Trinity Head Coach Chris Chester
“I’m really disappointed. That’s probably the worst performance I’ve seen from a Wakefield side in a long, long time.
“We got taught a real lesson tonight on the basics. They kicked the ball well, they ran hard, they defended tough, and they made it very hard for us to come off our own try line. [The sin bin] had a little bit of an effect but there’s no excuse for a dismal performance tonight.
“I stayed loyal to the guys that played last week but some of these guys can’t back up a performance and that is what’s disappointing.”
Salford Red Devils 38
Tries: Sa’u, McCarthy, Lannon, Bibby (2), Griffin, Johnson
Goals: Lui, McCarthy (2), Littlejohn
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford: Evalds; Johnson, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby; Lui, Littlejohn; Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Burgess; Griffin, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Kopczak, Lannon, Wood, Murray.
Wakefield: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Tupou; Miller, Finn; Huby, Randell, Hirst; Ashurst, Kirmond, Horo.
Interchanges: Wood, England, Arona, Baldwinson.
Referee: James Child