by | Mar 15, 2024

Salford Red Devils were beaten in heartbreaking fashion by Wigan Warriors in Round 5.

Paul Rowley was forced to ring the changes after mass injuries to his squad. Brad Singleton, Chris Hankinson and Ben Hellewell are the long-term absentees, with Cade Cust following concussion protocols, and Jack Ormondroyd suffering with illness.

That means there were debuts for David Nofoaluma, Matty Foster and Ethan Ryan, with Gil Dudson also set to make his second debut.

Salford started well in the first ten and began applying immense pressure on the Warriors line.

One short side play almost opened the scoring, but Kallum Watkins’ pass to Nene Macdonald was adjudged forward.

The visitors moved forward and tried a short side play of their own, with Marc Sneyd on hand to clean up the ball and prevent the chasing Abbas Miski from scoring.

Moving back upfield, Salford began testing the Wigan try line, once more. A knock-on allowed the Red Devils a full set on Wigan’s 10.

Amir Bourouh scooted from dummy-half and tried to slip-in Watkins, but the back-rower spilled the ball on the turn.

However, nothing dampened Salford’s spirits and they came again via a bit of Ryan Brierley magic. Clutching onto a classy Sam Stone offload, the fullback chipped the ball over the defensive line and went racing towards the sticks. His collision with Harry Smith was waved away by the referee and Wigan restarted on the 20.

Perhaps at a pivotal point in the game, Jai Field came alive and set-up the first try of the contest, sending a neat grubber into the left corner for Liam Marshall to collect and ground.

The second forty was back underway with Wigan back in the Salford half, apply the pressure.

A clean ball from the ruck allowed French to play a cut-out pass for Miski to score through Salford’s right edge. Smith, successful this time when adding the extras.

Salford got back into it when Sneyd earned the Red Devils back-to-back repeat sets.

On the second of them, Bourouh flicked a pass Sneyd, who stabbed another grubber straight through the Wigan line to Sam Stone, who slammed down under the sticks.

Sneyd added the extras to make it six, become Salford’s greatest Super League points scorer in the process.

The Salford faithful could sense their team were back in the ascendency and began slowly creeping back up into the Wigan half.

Sneyd managed to get his team into a strategic position on the field and sent a high ball, swerving over the into the left corner.

Tim Lafai – amongst a host of bodies – rose highest to claim the ball and score, with Sneyd knocking over the extras to put Salford into a two-point lead.

Salford almost had a third chance when another great attack led to the onrushing Sneyd being impeded by Wigan’s Harry Smith, who was sent the sin-bin by Chris Kendall.

The world champions, with five minutes to play, through caution to the wind and forced a drop-out when King Vuniyayawa was powered back by multiple bodies.

Trying to catch the Warriors off-guard, Sneyd attempted a short drop-out that was spilled by Nofoaluma, and Jake Wardle picked up the pieces to all-but win the game.

It was a heartbreaking ending for a Salford team who had performed so well, with French making sure of the two points by crossing in the final few seconds.

Next up for Rowley and co is a trip to Hull KR in Round 6 of the Betfred Challenge Cup.


Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, David Nofoaluma, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Chris Atkin, Marc Sneyd, King Vuniyayawa, Amir Bourouh, Andrew Dixon, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Joe Shorrocks.

Interchanges: Ethan Ryan, Shane Wright, Matty Foster, Gil Dudson.

Tries: Sam Stone, Tim Lafai.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (2/2)

Wigan Warriors line-up: Jai Field, Abbas Miski, Adam Keighran, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Bevan French, Harry Smith, Luke Thompson, Brad O’Neill, Liam Byrne, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Kaide Ellis.

Interchanges: Tyler Dupree, Patrick Mago, Harvie Hill, Tom Forber.

Tries: Liam Marshall, Jake Wardle, Bevan French.

Conversions: Harry Smith (1/2) Adam Keighran (2/2)

HT: 0-4

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

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