Salford Red Devils secured a statement 24-32 victory over Warrington Wolves in Round 17 of the Betfred Super League.
After a record-breaking win against Wakefield last Sunday, the Red Devils continued to build some valuable momentum at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. Despite going behind, the visitors produced a stunning comeback with three tries in the last ten minutes.
The Red Devils started the game on the front foot – with plenty of energy – and a neat passage of play almost saw Deon Cross break the Warrington line, but was denied just 10 metres out.
Salford did make the breakthrough moments later, with Marc Sneyd’s high kick on the last plucked out of the air by Rhys Williams to stroll over unopposed.
Paul Rowley’s side were showing their usual attacking flair and got what they deserved in the 13th minute. The ball was worked right after a period of Salford pressure and Brodie Croft’s flick found Ryan Brierley, who moved it onto Cross to power over in the corner.
There was some heroic defending on the try line throughout the half, with a combination of Salford bodies keeping up substitute Thomas Mikaele on one set, but Daryl Clark did find a gap a few minutes later, darting through and opening the Wire’s account for the afternoon.
On the half-time hooter, Salford were reduced to 12 when Kallum Watkins was shown yellow, but another sensational piece of defending from Sitaleki Akauola on the left nudged Josh Thewlis out of play when he looked certain to score.
HALF-TIME: Warrington Wolves 6 – 8 Salford Red Devils
The hosts made their one-man advantage count after the break, however. Joe Bullock gained valuable metres on the first and a few tackles later, Stefan Ratchford bundled the ball over from close range – converting his own kick.
Warrington scored another try in quick succession, with a quick break stopped momentarily by Brierley, before Gareth Widdop found space in the middle to slide under the sticks.
Watkins returned to the field for the Red Devils, but moments later, Thewlis collected his own grubber kick on the left wing to acrobatically dive over.
Salford got back into the game in the 55th minute with some excellent interplay. Croft found Watkins on the right and his no-look pass allowed Chris Atkin to power over.
The Reds continued to pile on the pressure and cut Warrington’s lead to just four with ten minutes to play. After multiple Wire penalties, the ball was worked to Sneyd in the centre and his offload allowed Jack Ormondroyd to crash over.
It was the same source who pulled Salford level. Some quick and incisive play gave the prop the chance to slide over to the left of the sticks, in front of the ecstatic travelling faithful.
They were even louder minutes later, with an electric Salford break cutting the Warrington centre wide open. Atkin was at the heart of the move; breaking the lines and slipping in Brierley to confirm a stunning victory.
FULL-TIME: Warrington Wolves 24 – 32 Salford Red Devils
Warrington: Widdop, Minikin, Wrench, Wardle, Thewlis, Mata’utia, Ratchford, Mulhern, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Holmes, Davis, Bullock, Walker, Harrison, Mikaele.
Salford: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Williams, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Gerrard, Livett, Watkins, Akauola, Atkin, Costello, Luckley, Dupree.
Warrington tries: Clark (27′), Ratchford (41′), Widdop (46′), Thewlis (52′)
Warrington goals: Ratchford (4/4)
Salford tries: Williams (6′), Cross (13′), Atkin (55′), Ormondroyd (71′, 74′), Brierley (77′)
Salford goals: Sneyd (4/6)
Referee: R. Hicks
Image credit: Steve McCormick