A youthful-looking Salford Red Devils side were beaten 14-32 by Warrington Wolves in Round 27 of the Betfred Super League.
Paul Rowley handed Betfred Super League debuts to six members of the clubs’ reserves side, as some regular starters were able to rest and recuperate ahead of their play-off eliminator next Saturday.
The Red Devils started on the front foot and almost got off to the perfect start. Morgan Escare – playing in the halves – stabbed a grubber kick into the right corner, but the onrushing Myles-Dalton Harrop just couldn’t catch up to the bobbling ball.
Warrington were aiming to finish the season on a high and fielded some of their most experienced players, but it was the young Josh Thewlis who opened the scoring in the 4th minute. The visitors created an overload on the left and allowed the winger to stroll over the try-line unopposed.
The Wire were finding some joy down the centre and doubled their lead through Oliver Holmes. Their number 12 twisted and turned past a number of Salford bodies and stretched over to the right of the sticks.
On his return to the side, James Greenwood fired Salford back into the game just minutes later. The prop found space to jink past two Wire defenders and ground the ball on the turn – with Livett converting, on kicking duty for the afternoon.
But Daryl Powell’s side were building momentum and squeezed further ahead in the 33rd minute through Luke Thomas, who again, broke through the centre and grounded to the right of the sticks.
There was still time for Livett to cut the gap with a penalty goal 30 metres out, but Salford went into the interval behind.
Half-time: Salford 8-14 Warrington
Warrington started the second forty the quickest and Leon Hayes’ neat grubber kick allowed Gregory Minikin to collect and ground in the right corner.
Then, on the hour mark, a moment Betfred Super League debutant, Myles-Dalton Harrop will never forget. The winger was patient with his intent and allowed the ball to bobble his way before making a late dart for the line – much to the delight of his teammates and the Salford faithful.
It gave the Reds a much-needed boost, but it was soon taken away when George Williams broke the lines, dummied his man and raced to an unguarded try-line.
Thewlis added to his tally on the full-time hooter, intercepting a loose pass and strolling over the line, but the young Salford side certainly held their own.
It was still a mystery before the game, but we now know we’ll be taking on Ian Watson’s Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium next Saturday, with kick-off scheduled for 1 pm.
Full Time: Salford 14-32 Warrington
Salford: Rourke, Williams, Akauola, Coope-Franklin, Harrop, Livett, Escare, Luckley, Bourouh, Burke, Greenwood, Lannon, Vuniyayawa, Stevens, Spencer-Tonks, Davies, Dupree.
Warrington: Dufty, Minikin, Mata-utia, Wardle, Thewlis, Williams, Hayes, Harrison, Walker, Bullock, Holmes, Nicholson, Clark, Mikaele, Clark, Whitehead, Thomas.
Salford tries: Greenwood (15′), Harrop (60′)
Salford goals: Livett (2/2)
Salford penalty goals: Livett (1/1)
Warrington tries: Thewlis (4′, 80′), Holmes (12′), Thomas (33′), Minikin (51′), Williams (64′)
Warrington goals: Hayes (3/5), Clark (1/1)
Image credit: Steve McCormick
Referee: Robert Hicks
Half-time draw results:
1st prize – 2981
2nd prize – 2429
Lucky number winner – 4298