RUGBY LEAGUE’S QUALITY STREET GANG 14 – JOHN TAYLOR (PT2)

Part 2  His Memories Of His First Time At Salford

John’s arrival at Salford coincided not only with his brother, Mark’s, coaching appointment to the ‘A’ team, but also coincided with the appointment of Cliff Evans as coach to the first team, whilst Les Bettinson was brought in as his assistant.

“The Salford team I had joined was absolutely fantastic, and I knew from the very outset that I had got a really big job on even to get into the first team.  I knew that I had to work with both the players and the coaches even to put myself in the position, ever, to play for them.

“As a half back, ahead of me, and in possession of the two first team half back positions, were Peter Banner (RLQSG#4) and Kenny Gill (RLQSG#10), which was the most incredible challenge for both Dave Harris, who was my half back partner, and I to have to face. 

“In the early days of my time there I was being selected at fullback, centre, and even loose forward on one occasion, in order to see where I settled in best.  I think that that is a good thing to do anyway, because it gives you an insight as to the demands of each position.  If you are a winger, for example, you want that ball, but you want it at the right moment, and in the right conditions where you can make something of the chance.”

Despite, however, the seemingly almost impossible task of unseating the pair of future internationals, currently occupying the half back roles, John did make it into the ranks of the first team on many occasions, but one, in particular, he recalls with great pride.

“Owing to an injury to Kenny Gill, I played at stand-off in the Lancashire Cup Final, at Central Park, Wigan, when we lost 6-2 against Widnes.  It was a cracking game, despite the fact that there was only one try scored, which proved to be decisive in the result.

“After the game Kenny came up to me and congratulated me on my performance, which he claimed would keep me in the side for the following week.  I knew that I had played well but it was also pleasing to have had it acknowledged by him, so, right through the next weeks’ training sessions, I was hopeful of being called up to join the first team, but it never happened.

“That was really quite deflating because it had been such a great occasion the week before.  I had especially enjoyed being greeted by all the supporters when I arrived at the ground, asking whether I was playing, and being able to say that I was and then receiving their best wishes for it, all of which sets you up to give of your best.  It was, in fact, the pinnacle of my career at Salford, and I believe it should have got me an extended run in the team.”

There are many who might have been so discouraged at this turn of events that they might have done something they later regretted, such as demanding a transfer elsewhere.  John, however, is made of sterner stuff than that, and also with a love for the club, so he just continued to work hard at his own game, being rewarded with a number of other occasional call-ups.

“Just walking out onto that field with over ten thousand fans generating so much noise in such a relatively small space, gave you the greatest high you could imagine.  The greater the noise the more you wanted to do your best for them all, and that feeling would spread right through the team.  The greatest aim was always to entertain – even possibly above winning – because it was the entertainment value that people especially wanted.  Even on the occasions we ended up losing, we always felt that we could walk off with our heads held high.

“Going into the Social Club after the game, though, was for me rather overpowering and I can’t say I really enjoyed it probably because I find being the centre of attention difficult to handle.  We had a truly magnificent team, and to be part of that squad was the main thing of all for me, and I did eventually force my way into the game day squad on a regular basis, usually as substitute.

“I really felt an actual part of the team one night after training, when Chris Hesketh invited me to join them in their regular visit to a pub in Boothstown, which I quickly accepted.  When we arrived, I was absolutely astounded to find none other than George Best sitting there; I nearly passed out.  Not only that, but alongside him were Peter Reid and Mike Summerbee.  I just felt as though Chris had taken us to the stars.

“That was around the time we won the First Division Championship for the first time, in 1972/3, and I was involved in quite a few of the games throughout that season, even if it were only a case of being on the bench.

“Every time I got an opportunity to step up to first team level, I told myself that this time I was going to nail it and secure a regular place in the side, but it just didn’t happen.  Then, much to my dismay, in 1975, they signed another player, whom I thought an average union player.  Had he been anything more than that, it would not have upset me so much when he was promptly put into the first team.

“Consequently, I handed in a transfer request, and, within two weeks, Leigh had come in with an offer.  I signed for them and went there, after having been at The Willows for a period of five years.”

Catch up on previous parts.

Part 1  His Early Rugby Career

Part 2  His Memories Of His Time With With The Team Of Stars

Part 3  He Remembers His Former Salford Teammates

TRIBUTE TO GRAHAM JONES

Everyone connected with Salford Red Devils is extremely sorry to have learned of the passing of former Salford player, Graham Jones, on 4th November, aged 91. Graham played for Salford between 1954 and 1962, making his debut on 27th November 1954, against Leigh.

A Welshman by birth, Graham was signed from Penarth Rugby Union Club, initially as a stand-off half, but, three years later, his exceptional pace was deemed to be better utilised on the wing, where there was more space, in which for him to run.  This proved to be an inspired move because he became a quite prolific try scorer, over the years, going on to complete a total of 119 touchdowns, bringing 357 points, over 239 appearances.  The first of these came against Whitehaven, exactly one month after his debut.

The pinnacle of his time here came in the 1959/60 season, when he equalled the club’s post-war try scoring record of 27 tries for the season, which had stood for eleven years, and was only broken in 1971/2, by Maurice Richards.

Over his eight seasons, Graham played in a number of high-profile matches for the Reds.  In November 1955, he played against New Zealand, at The Willows, in one of their tour matches.  Four years later, he was in the Salford team which took the, then, Australian tourists right to the wire, in an incredible game, before being pipped at the post, 22-20.  He, it was, who had put the Reds 10-7 in front, at the interval, with the last score of the first half.

Sadly, his chances of international honours were thwarted by the lack of a Welsh international side, throughout that period.  He did, however, pull on the red jersey of Wales, when he was selected at stand-off, alongside three other Salford players, in an unofficial game against France, in Toulouse, on 1st March 1959, which he celebrated with a try in their 25-8 reversal.  Because the match had not been recognised as a full international none of the players who took part received international caps for it.

Despite its being his final season in the game, 1961/2 continued in similar vein to all its predecessors, with Graham registering a further 18 tries in 39 appearances, before hanging up his boots, following his final game, which was, remarkably, against Leigh, once more, on 4th May 1962.

His love for Salford, however, never diminished and he continued to live in the region, taking a keen interest in the club’s results and progress. In later years, he was a regular attendee at the Lance Todd Trophy Presentation Dinner, in company with his great friend from that team, Welsh, former centre to him, John Cheshire.

Our sympathies and condolences go out to all his family and friends, at this sad time. His funeral will be held, this coming Wednesday, 22nd November, at St Michael’s Church, Flixton, at 1pm.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Graham Morris – Club historian, and author of ‘100 Salford Greats’

RUGBY LEAGUE’S QUALITY STREET GANG 12 – ELLIS DEVLIN PT 4

Part 1  His Early Rugby Career

Part 2  His Memories Of Playing At Salford

Part 3  He Remembers Some Of His Former Teammates

Part 4  His Experiences Of Playing In France & Return To Salford

Part 4 HIS EXPERIENCES PLAYING IN FRANCE & RETURN TO SALFORD

Ellis’s time at Salford, came to a temporary halt in 1975, when he uprooted himself to move to France  for a season, to continue his rugby career, there, playing for Roanne, following a direct invitation from the French club to join them.  He had come to their attention in Salford’s aforementioned 1971 match against the French international side.

“I had gone on the transfer list at my request, in late ’74, and Roanne came in for me.  I was allowed to go there, on loan, for the season, while still being retained on Salford’s playing register.  I really enjoyed my time with Roanne, and was pleased to be playing in their team every week.  In addition, it was a real novelty living over in France.

“I settled in really well, and they seemed pleased with me, so much so that they contacted Salford to ask for a further one year’s extension to the arrangement.”

“The setup there was very different from everything I had experienced in England.  Before the match everyone met up for a meal, which would immediately strike most people as being rather stupid before a game, but you had to remember that there was a lot of travelling for teams and individuals to be able to get there.

“Away matches were a considerable trek, particularly for Roanne, in the centre of France.  It was over ninety kilometres to Lyon, which was the nearest other club, with the rest of them being much further south.  Winning away from home was a rarity, because if you hadn’t been worn out by the journey, the refereeing there in those days would determine the outcome.

“On one occasion when we did win, and, after a lengthy journey by plane, we arrived back at eleven o’clock at night and then promptly held an impromptu party to celebrate the fact that we had won an away match, so unusual was it to have done so.

“There was an occasion, I remember, when the referee had awarded a goal-line drop-out because we had made the ball dead by grounding it over the line, and, as we were going to collect it, an opponent came and dived on it, to which, unbelievably, the referee immediately awarded a try.

“If you did win away from home, you then had to protect the referee because they would get not only considerable verbal abuse but also, on occasions, physical attacks by the odd person with an umbrella.  I’ve seen referees knocked to the ground, and one referee had to be surrounded by his family to shepherd him off the pitch.

“There was, despite this, a much more casual attitude to the game in France, because it was still in need of development.  Having said that, it was extremely enjoyable and we had an absolutely great time whilst we were over there.  It is hardly surprising therefore that now top English players, when coming towards the end of their careers, move to France to join Catalans Dragons, or even Toulouse.  It is likely that had we stayed for a further year, we might never have come back.”

“While we were there I became great friends with Robert Fassolette, an ex-international referee. We still meet annually.  In fact, back in November, he was interviewed by the BBC,as part of the World Cup event, as it was he who had ‘invented’ wheelchair rugby league.”

There are times when circumstances just conspire to provide the most unexpected outcomes, either for better or for worse.  Unfortunately, on this occasion, it turned out to be the latter, with Roanne’s request for a further twelve month extension coinciding with Salford’s, on yet another occasion, finding themselves without a first team hooker, and consequently calling him back to Salford whilst removing the possibility of his staying there,.

What actually made this seem all the more dejecting, however, was that before he could get back in time to stake his claim for the vacant place, another well-known hooker became available to them.

“They had signed Colin Clarke and he became Salford’s next hooker for a couple of seasons, so I went back to being called upon whenever they needed me, which, by this time, was wearing thin, especially after having had such regular first team recognition while playing in France.

“Things came to a head, in September ‘76, when after being recalled to the first team for a BBC Floodlit game, away at Leigh, in which I had had a particularly good game, setting up one try and scoring another even though we still ended up losing 22-18.  I was the one player who was dropped for the following week, and so decided that it was time to finish, which I did, even though Swinton got in touch with me and attempted to get me to go there.   I had made my decision and I stuck with it.”

Looking back, from the vantage point of hindsight, there are many people of Ellis’s generation, including players, who regret that Ellis did not get the opportunity of a lengthy run of games, in order to cement his place into the team.  Had he done so, outcomes could have been considerably different, but sadly that was not to be.

When he finished with Salford, he also finished with rugby league, and although he does watch the occasional game on TV, he has not really been involved in any other respect.  He was, nevertheless, part of the wonderful Salford side of the early to mid-seventies and had a career here equal in length to many other players who became household names, all of which is something in which he can take considerable, pride, which nobody, who knew him as either a player or as a person would deny him.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: MAGIC WEEKEND SALFORD V HULL KR

Salford victories at Magic Weekend, have, over the years, been few and far between, with the last one coming with their 36-22 triumph over Leigh, back in 2017, so for the Red Devils to come away with the league points against a higher placed opposition was a most satisfactory outcome.  That it also came over a team, which had succeeded in notching up five successive wins against the Reds, made it all the more enjoyable.

The scoreline of 26-16 may appear to point to a closely fought battle, but, as occasionally happens, actually disguises the story behind it, for the Reds were by far the better of the two sides, and thoroughly deserved their win.  They dominated possession throughout the game, and whilst not at their best in so doing, respected possession better than the Robins.  Their discipline was far better, and they most sensibly sought to take advantage of many of their opponents’ indiscretions with the trusty boot of Marc Sneyd, who thereby added eight points to their tally, at a most crucial middle period of the game.

The combination of lengthy periods of possession, particularly in the opening spell, coupled with additiional penalties in their favour, meant that they held superior field position for great swathes of the game, to the extent that the Salford contingent behind the goals must have been most thankful when half-time came, and they then had the chance of seeing the game at much closer range.

For once, in recent encounters with the Robins, it was Salford, with Brodie Croft returning to his best form of the season, who had the match winner on their side, his break on 18 minutes setting up Joe Burgess for the try which cancelled out Hull KR’s opener which had come very much against the run of play.

The reduction in the number of players on the field between the 61st and 75th minutes was of somewhat unnoticed benefit to Salford, for even though it involved the loss of Deon Cross,, the extra space available to the pacey, slick Salford backs was exploited to the full, leading to two converted tries from Sio and Atkin to compensate for their earlier disappointments, as compared with one four-pointer from Hall.

It was, however, the missed chances which, had they gone Salford’s way would have opened up a far more commanding lead, that were, apart from the result, the most prominent feature of the game, with a succession of opportunities, for a variety of reasons, going begging.

It was early as the fourth minute that Chris Atkin was denied a try under the posts from a dummy-half scoot, by Hull’s defence, which turned out to be their greatest asset.  Without that they would have been in quite serious difficulties as they time and again turned up, and in numbers, to thwart Salford’s scoring opportunities, as further exemplified in the ninth minute, by their preventing Ken Sio from grounding in the corner, in a situation where we all would normally expect him to have scored.

Even Kallum Watkins’s much discussed effort, on seventeen mins, was prevented from being awarded as a consequence of the number of defending bodies being around him thus seemingly making his actual genuine grounding of the ball more questionable to the referee, while the same could also be said of Tim Lafai’s overturned score, because of issues around Burgess’s keenly challenged take of the ball in the air, with this time the video-referee making the call.

Perhaps the most surprising disappointment of all was when, in the 55th minute, Cross completely in the clear and with the unmarked Sio in support, was called back as a result of a collision in back field, which was determined to have affected his break.

Indeed, Salford looked the more dangerous from further out mid-field, than close up to the line, where they seemed to struggle to find the telling pass to unlock the well-drilled goal-line defence of the Yorkshiremen.  They looked more likely to find the key to doing this when moving the ball to the right flank, which was where most of those early, close calls came.

So yet again, the Red Devils were successful with the outcome, maintaining their march up the table to fourth, at the end of the weekend, and extending their number of wins, in all games, to six out of the last seven.  This latest one, however, could have further beneficial effect for their forthcoming visit to the home of the Robins, for the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup.  Success breeds success, and having now broken the winning run of their hosts-to-be, they can travel over there in some confidence to test their metal in the Challenge Cup.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CASTLEFORD

Despite another short turn around after their victory over Leigh, the previous Saturday, Salford Red Devils, yet again in front of the television cameras, on Thursday evening, cemented their place in the current top six, with a hard-fought victory over the improving Castleford Tigers.

It is a notable tribute to the team that on the back of their tremendous performances in the later stages of last season, the SKY Sports team have targeted showing the Red Devils’ matches with some quite considerable regularity over the start of this season, and although it was an evening with both defences on top, the team did not disappoint in terms of dedication, effort, and, above all, winning.

True, the scoreline was on the low side, but on a cold evening, in a biting wind, the players did extremely well to produce a performance full of attacking ideas and handling ploys, which on a summer’s day may well have brought about a rather higher return in terms of points.  No-one could deny the quality of their slick inter-passing, which tested the Castleford defence, time and again. They just needed to have retained possession in attack for longer than the solitary sets they produced in order to wear the Tigers’ defence down.

It was therefore down to their defensive effort of limiting the visitors to a solitary try in the third minute and thereafter holding them pointless for the remaining seventy-seven, which brought them the two league points.  It was not necessarily their midfield line-defence which was most noteworthy, more their scrambling defence which brought some absolutely valiant efforts from a number of individuals. 

As early as the 17th minute a magnificent triple effort, started by Sam Stone, and quickly supported by Andy Ackers and Ryan Brierley, prevented a Cas try being scored by Milner thanks to their holding him back, a whisker from the line.  Two minutes from the interval the timely arrival of Tyler Dupree, at full pace, was enough to force Eden onto the touchline, thereby making his considerable athleticism in the subsequent grounding, irrelevant.

Similar efforts continued into the second half, when first, Marc Sneyd’s last ditch tackle on Evalds caused the fullback to lose control of the ball has he sought to ground it between the posts on 49 mins, followed up some 14 mins later by another tackle on Milner just short of the line, this time by Wright, followed by the intervention again of Brierley to prevent his endeavours to roll over and ground the ball over the line.  

There were also some significant pieces of individual skill, which might on occasions go unnoticed, or which we sometimes take for granted.  Joe Burgess’s 8th minute, high level take of the ball in the air, which, on landing, he followed up with a half break through the visitors’ defence to clear the danger, was one such of these, likewise, Kallum Watkins’s midfield sideways run and offload, under pressure, to free up Brierley to continue the build up to Brodie Croft’s try under the posts, on 36 minutes.

Probably most eye-catching of all however was Brierley’s feat of collecting the ball on 52 minutes, behind his own line, to then turn the speedy Eden inside out with some incredible footwork and then cap it all with an offload to Ken Sio, as another Castleford player bore down on him.   Everything about it had the hallmarks of absolute class.

Even Salford’s two-try total could well have been double that, had they been just a little more fortunate.  The referral of Sneyd’s 23rd minute grounding to the video-ref saw it disallowed as it became apparent that, after his short kick through, the ball had bounced up to touch his arm, thus being adjudged as a knock on.  Similarly, 44 minutes into the second half, Sam Stone was denied a try with, this time, Chris Atkin having fumbled a loose ball forward in his attempt to gather it up.

Nevertheless, there was to be no denying the Red Devils for the two tries which were to count.  In what had been their best period that far, spanning the second quarter, it culminated in Brierley racing down the right wing, from Watkins’s pass, to put in the best, and most rewarding, kick of the half, for Croft to take a grasp of it as it stood up beautifully for him to go over for his team’s opener.

Shane Wright has been growing in notoriety over recent weeks having already notched up three tries against Hull (2) and Leigh.  With 56 minutes on the clock, he latched onto Sneyd’s beautifully timed short pass to surge over the line, between the posts and with Sneyd then having converted both tries, he had the opportunity to open up a two score, eight-point, match-winning lead, when Milner was penalised for tackling Ollie Partington without the ball, ten minutes from the end.

TRIBUTE TO JOHN CORCORAN

 

Salford Red Devils have been saddened to learn of the passing of former, back row forward, John Corcoran, on the 2nd August, following a short illness.

John (pictured second from left, above) joined Salford from Wigan St Patrick’s, in 1974, and, although he might have appeared to have been lacking in size for a position in the pack, he more than compensated for this with his energy and endeavour; his hard running and zealous tackling ensured that he played well above his weight.

He made his first appearance from the bench, on the 13 August 1974, in the annual, pre-season charity match against Swinton, for the Red Rose Cup, which he followed up, a few weeks later on 8th September, once again as a substitute, in a home game against Huyton, in the Lancashire Cup.

Although he remained with the club for four years, because of the intensity of competition for places in the team, at that time, John played most of his rugby in the A team.  Nevertheless, he turned out in the first team for a total of forty games, starting in eighteen of them, coming off the bench in the remaining twenty-two, and scoring three tries.  In addition, in September 1975, he went on loan to Leigh, for whom he played a further three games.

His final first team match was against Dewsbury, at The Willows, on the 11th January, 1978, and later that year, during the close season, he transferred to Blackpool Borough, where he became a mainstay, and later captain, of their team.  He featured most regularly at loose forward, making the starting line-up on seventy-five occasions, with a further four as a substitute, and scoring five tries.

His final move came in September 1981 to Rochdale Hornets, and during this, his last season, he played a further fourteen games, starting in thirteen of these, and scoring a try.

Our sincere sympathy and condolences go out from everyone connected with Salford Red Devils, to his family and friends, at this particularly sad time.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday, 16th August, at St Saviour’s Church, Preston, PR5 6EP, at 2..00 pm.

Acknowledgement:  Graham Morris, Club Historian

TRIBUTE TO DAVID STEPHENSON

DAVID STEPHENSON

It was with the deepest of regret that Salford Red Devils learned of the passing of their former centre, David Stephenson, on the 16th March, 2022.

David signed to join Salford, from Fylde Rugby Union Club, in December 1978, and made his debut on 23rd January, 1979, in a home match against Rochdale Hornets, which Salford lost 4-13.  Nevertheless, David acquitted himself well, and he became a regular presence in the team for the following three years.

During that time, he was involved in two key matches, during his first year.  The first was the Centenary Celebration Match, at The Willows, on the 14th October, in front of a crowd of almost twelve thousand.  The game was intended as a replication of the club’s very first match, the previous century, with the team discarding their normal red shirts for their original strip of red, amber, and black hoops.  That first match had been against Widnes, and it was they who provided the opposition, on the day, a hundred years later.  Most remarkable of all was the fact that both games ended in a draw, this second one finishing 16-16.

Three weeks later, the two teams met in the semi-final of the John Player Trophy, at Warrington.    This time, Widnes went on to reach the final, with a 19-3 victory.

Such was David’s s skill and talent on a rugby field that, whilst at Salford, he was twice selected to represent Lancashire, against Cumbria, at Barrow, in 1980, and the following year against Yorkshire, at Castleford, both of which encounters were won by the home sides.

He was also selected to represent Great Britain, at Under-24 level, on four occasions.  Three of these were against France, all of which were won by the British.  Having beaten the French, 14-2, at Leigh, ,in 1979, David scored a try in each of the remaining two, at Carcasonne, a year later, where they won 11-7, and finally, at Headingley in 1982, where the score was 19-16.

His one reversal, at this level came in 1980, when New Zealand provided the opposition, at Fulham, where they were the winners 18-14.  He did, however, go on to receive further representative honours whilst with other clubs.

Over his three years, at The Willows, he made ninety-seven appearances and amassed a total of one hundred and sixteen points, comprising of thirty-six tries, two goals, and four drop-goals.

Sadly, by now, other clubs had designs on him, and he bowed out on 29th January, 1982, in Salford’s home 7-19 defeat to Carlisle, before moving on to join first Wigan, later Leeds, and finally Leigh, before returning to Salford to play one more match, on the 13th March, 1991, in the home fixture with Chorley Borough, which the hosts won, 46-2.  David came on as a substitute, and celebrated his return by scoring a try, to add to his tally above.

David is fondly remembered at Salford for his allegiance to the club, during his period with us, and our thoughts and sympathies go out to members of his family for their sad loss.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Graham Morris, Club Historian

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD v LEIGH

You just never know how a game is going to unfold, and throughout any match all a team can do is to hang on in with the opposition so that when the decisive moment comes, if it goes in their direction, they will be in a position to take advantage of it and secure the result for themselves.

That philosophy could never have been more aptly fitting than to Salford’s victory over Leigh, on Friday evening, when a finely balanced contest swung completely out of the grasp of the spirited Centurions, and suddenly the scoreboard was working overtime to keep track of the home side’s newfound dominance.

That crucial moment came almost exactly midway through the second half, when a most threatening Leigh attack, via their left flank, was thwarted to devastating effect.  Krisnan Inu it was who produced the most extraordinary feat of ball handling skill, which really has to be viewed in slow motion to be fully appreciated.  He not only blocked what could have been a try-scoring pass, he then one-handedly regathered and flipped out the ball, with unbelievable accuracy to wing partner, Ken Sio, and all this whilst he was tumbling forward onto the ground.

With ninety metres then to cover, Sio’s pace and clever tactical running skills – involving veering first inside and then out to the righthand corner as he neared the try line – prevented him being overhauled by his pursuing opposite number.

Inu’s conversion, from wide out, succeeded in opening up a ten-point gap which had the most profound of effects on the Red Devils.  Gone, suddenly, was all the apprehension that had seemed to have dogged their attack for much of the game, to be replaced by a self-belief, assurance, and confidence that they had lacked recently.

From that point on, the pace of their game went up two gears, the ball was swung about from side to side with an accuracy that they had struggled to produce earlier, support for the man with the ball increased, and holes in the visitors’ defence line were exploited to the full. Marshall’s men enjoyed their ascendency to the full, adding a further three tries in a ten-minute period, which had the Centurions on the rack for the remainder of the encounter.

The Leigh players themselves must have been totally bemused and bewildered by this turn of events, and particularly by the one-sided look of the scoreline, for, in truth, the game hitherto had been anything but that. Indeed, the Centurions had had the better of the early exchanges, as they out-enthused their hosts, winning the battle of the hard yardage with strong running which gave them field position to score the opening try.

It was the Salford kicking game, which, in the first half, troubled Leigh most, with a number of high bombs being dropped, and goal-line drop-outs being forced from others, all of which brought a period of concerted Salford attack, and a converted try, to take the lead.  That lead proved to be quite short-lived, however, as the possibility of protracted home dominance, on the back of it, never materialised.

Rather the reverse, in fact, was the case, with Leigh enjoying their greatest period of pressure, during which they regained the lead to take with them into half time.  It was nip and tuck on the resumption, with Salford regaining a slender lead, which they held right up to that crucial moment of Inu’s intervention and Sio’s finish.

Great as it was to have gained their first league points of the season, there were a number of individual performances to enhance the enjoyment of that. As expected the stalwarts of the side, Mossop, Ikahihifo, Brown, and Lolohea, were the go-to players but a number of others also stood out.

Not least of these were Elliott Kear who was a revelation at fullback, Oliver Roberts who had his best game to date for Salford, Harvey Livett who built upon his personal performance at Catalans with involvement in three tries, one of which he was the scorer, and Chris Atkin whose introduction at dummy-half led to a much more fluid attacking game. Good individual performances from them all, but it was teamwork which won the match.

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