Salford jump to third following their sixth win in a row, after a 22-6 win over Warrington at the AJ Bell Stadium. Here is what happened…
The first half was an arm wrestle with only two points being scored by the home side off the boot of Krisnan Inu after some poor goal line discipline from the Wire.
Neither side could break their opponents’ defensive line and an uneventful first half ended 2-0.
The second half continued as the first half did, until the 49th minute when a Tom Lineham error off the high ball, fell into the grateful arms of Ken Sio. Inu failed to add the extras.
A couple of minutes later Salford scored again through Sio. This time Jake Mamo dropped a high ball and Salford were given another set. After some slick passing 28-year-old Sio was in for his second. Inu failed again to add the extras.
Salford were able to exploit some lacklustre defence in the middle to score their third try. After Joey Lussick made a break up the middle and after some crafty ball play from Jackson Hastings, the Red Devils were able to find Jake Bibby, who put the game basically to bed. Inu added the extras.
Sio completed his hat-trick after a sloppy grubber kick from Lineham saw the Salford winger run 70 metres to score next to the posts. Inu with the extras.
However, the Cup winners would score a consolation through young Danny Walker after he was able to break through the Salford line with five minutes to go. Stefan Ratchford adding the extras.
The result means that Salford have moved level on points with Warrington. With only two wins in their last eight games, both coming in the Challenge Cup semi-final and decider, it seems that Steve Prices men have thrown second place away and are now in a fight to stay in the top five.
Up next for the Red Devils is an Away trip to Leeds, as they look to make it seven wins on the bounce. Whilst for Warrington they are at home against struggling Wakefield.
Salford Reds are rising
Six weeks ago, saying Salford could have a chance of finishing second looked non-existent. However, since the beginning of July they have been the inform team of the League, going from eighth, to third in a hand full of games. A dark horse for the Grand Final? With Jackson Hastings, Tui Lolohea and Krisnan Inu anything is possible for the Reds.
Ian Watson: “We take each game as it comes”
Salford head coach, Ian Watson is taking his side’s hopes game by game as they fight for one of the four remaining spots in the top five. “It’s a credit to all the players and backroom staff – it has taken us a while to get the right mix of players who want to be involved at this club and compete. As a team going forward we don’t fear anyone. We maybe lacked a bit of belief early in the competition, but we had a bit of a light-bulb moment against St Helens when we showed we could compete.”
Steve Price: “We put the gloves on”
Challenge Cup winning head coach Steve Price was happy with his side, following their short turnaround from last week’s emotional final. After making four changes to his 19-man squad, and then further changes to his seventeen.
“I was proud of the effort. We had some late changes and we put the gloves on and had a good swing at them. It’s disappointing that two top-five teams met when we weren’t at our best. We looked clunky at times but that’s to be expected. Salford were too good for us – they are playing good football. It’s important we don’t let mental fatigue set in.”
Time for a TV Change
One major point to take from this game is this though. Both finalists from last week’s Cup Final were on Sky Sports, with Warrington having their fixture changed from the Sunday to the Thursday with only fifteen days’ notice. Something that could be major issue for the Grand Final chasing Warrington, especially if results go against them this weekend.
Salford Red Devils 22
Tries: Sio 3, Bibby
Goals: Inu (3)
Warrington Wolves 6
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Sio, Welham, Bibby, Inu, Lolohea, Hastings, Mossop, Tomkins, Dudson, Jones, McCarthy, Burke
Interchanges: Lussick, J. Johnson, Walker, Flanagan
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Lineham, Goodwin, Burrell, Mamo, Smith, Hughes, Tasi, Walker, Philbin, Murdoch-Masila, Livett, J. Clark
Interchanges: D. Clark, Akauola, Johnson, Westwood