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.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH:  LEIGH V SALFORD (2)

Even with a fully fit squad from which to select, it would have been regarded as a considerable achievement for the Salford Red Devils to have gone to the Leigh Sports Village for the second time in only two months, and come back with a victory, for, in the meantime, their hosts have been busily building up quite a reputation for themselves throughout Super League, with impressive victories over a number of sides including current Super League, and World Club, Champions, St Helens.

That, however, was far from the case, since the Red Devils’ squad had been so decimated over the interim period that, to an extent, the team had virtually picked itself, primarily on grounds of availability, thus making this Rivals Round success all the more impressive, and the sweeter.

Even the manner in which the game unfolded presented a number of significant adversities for them, not least the sin-binning of fullback, Ryan Brierley, on 48 mins, and it could not have come at a worse time with the Leopards having returned to the fray, following the half time interval, refreshed and ready to take the game to the Reds, at full steam.

So, as Brierly reluctantly trekked his way across the width of the field, there must have been many hearts in mouths, among the Salford Faithful, many of whom must have been expecting the very worst.  Damage limitation was about as much as one could expect, with the home side’s job having been made all the simpler, with the Reds, as a result, having to hold out for as long as possible against the numerical superiority facing them.

Yet, when the Salford fullback eventually returned to contest it was to an actually increased lead of two extra points, at 10-22, having eradicated Briscoe’s 53rd minute try, and expanded upon it with a Tyler Dupree special under the posts on 58 mins, from Marc Sneyd’s shrewd short pass, which he then converted.

Indeed, apart from hitting the post with his first, touchline attempt, Sneyd’s goalkicking was to prove crucial in the final result, and had they chosen to do so, they could have made their winning margin somewhat greater, with them deciding to run the ball on two late penalties close to the posts, rather than electing to take the kicks.

As might have been expected the Leigh side to took the field, most determined in manner, and although the Red Devils matched them in the opening arm wrestle, a misunderstanding between Danny Addy and King Vuniyayawa presented Leigh with their first attacking opportunity, which they clinically took by opening up an overlap on the left flank for Charnley to cross in the corner for a try, which was eventually increased to six points, five minutes later, with a penalty goal.

As was later to happen on a number of occasions, however, the game began to swing to the opposition, this time towards the Reds with their gaining three back-to-back sets from a combination of a Leigh handling error, penalty, and set restart giving them great field position and ample possession to attack the home line, culminating with a try from Ken Sio, from a typical Brierley kick into the corner.

That proved to herald one of those attacking purple patches which Salford fans had come to enjoy so frequently at the climax to last season, with the Red Devils enjoying plenty more possession to tease Leigh’s line-defence, before some fabulous footwork from second rower, Sam Stone, put him through to score his first points for Salford, against his former club. 

So often, in those halcyon days of summer 2022, it was the back-to-back tries, which sorely hurt opponents back then, and that is just what they served up on this occasion, with what certainly many Salford fans will have thought to be the try of the match.  

It started with man-of-the-match, Chris Atkin, not for the first time this season filling in at three separate positions over his time on field, dummying his way through a gap before handing on to the supporting Shane Wright, who went thirty metres up the field to set up Brodie Croft to sprint the remaining twenty to the posts, with his outpacing all despairing attempts to overhaul him.

Leigh’s second half recovery did narrow their deficit first to 10-16, and later 14-22, and kept them in the game, but the ascendency was, in the main, with the Red Devils, who, with a two-score winning margin could afford to keep their calm, run the clock down and keep the pressure on the Leopards.

Leigh’s final, last minute try, came far too late for it to make any difference to the outcome, with a mere eleven seconds left, at the final restart.  They had, nevertheless, contributed to an enthralling contest, which had ebbed and flowed from one to the other, and there is clearly little between the two sides, as the results of both encounters show. This is all to the good for both clubs and their fans, engendering a greater interest, and degree of competitiveness, in the locality, which will be continued once more, as the intensity of the competition for top six places hots up, just in time for their visit to the Salford Stadium, in mid-July.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V HUDDERSFIELD

Not for nothing is it known as an arm wrestle – that locking of horns of two evenly matched sides, going head-to-head and set-for-set with each other, as they battle for ascendency over each other, with no quarter asked nor given.  Winning an arm wrestle can be hugely advantageous, giving one of them a foothold in the opposition’s red zone, complete with a set of possession with which to launch an attack.

So evenly were the Red Devils and their visitors, Huddersfield, matched, last Sunday, that the whole game seemed like a series of arm wrestles with precious little respite for the participants as each side completed their sets error-free for what seemed like swathes of time, at any one go.

All of this became apparent as early as the first set, which, with only the slightest of interruptions on five minutes following the forming of a scrum after a Salford touch-in-flight, otherwise continued for a full ten minutes, until a wayward pass on the Red Devils line gifted the visitors the opening try.

The lack of handling errors was most pleasing to both coaches, with Salford coach, Paul Rowley, praising his side’s completion rate, and by the very nature of an arm-wrestle, one can feel confident that the Giants’ will have been somewhat similar. 

As a result, the breaks in play inevitably came from lapses in defence, predominantly via penalties.  Indeed, it was from a pair of back-to-back, Huddersfield, defensive indiscretions that the Red Devils opened their account on thirty minutes, not from a flamboyant, slick handling move, but from a direct, Brodie Croft carry, from which he fed the supporting Shane Wright, who shrugged off a couple of attempts to tackle him, to score to the right of the posts, from where Marc Sneyd the extra two points to reduce their arears at 6-8.

If only the Reds could have kept the half-time score differential to those two points, the eventual outcome might have been quite different, for they had had a period of domination following the introduction of fresh legs from the bench between the twenty to thirty minute mark, and this was followed up at the start of the second half with Matty Costello going over, on 48 mins in the corner for a try which would then have put them in front, after the ball had been moved along the line to the left through five pairs of hands, following a penalty which had given them an additional set.

As it was though, they had been caught out, three minutes before the interval, by Huddersfield’s change of tactic on the final tackle, when, instead of the expected end-of-set kick, they decided to run the ball, and created an overlap on their right flank to score between the posts for what could, arguably, be considered to be the match-determining try.

With the advantage of having been first to score, the Giants had the option of being able to turn kickable penalties directly into points, by going for goal as a means of increasing their lead, having already done so once, mid-way through the first half.  Consequently, on 54 minutes, with a four-point advantage, at 10-14, they took the opportunity from their second, to extend their lead to six. 

With an ever-increasing injury list, and the absence of a number of key players, it is unsurprising that the level of intensity began to take its toll on the Reds, in terms of both mental and physical tiredness, thus enabling the visitors to take advantage of one of Salford’s few handling errors on 65 mins, to double their lead to twelve points and then ten minutes later turn it into sixteen.

It is much to the credit of the Salford players, that despite there being only five minutes remaining, they continued to battle to the bitter end and were successful in narrowing the score to 16-26, with what was probably their most adventurous and clinical attacking move of the afternoon, which ended with skipper Kallum Watkins going over towards the right-hand corner, and Sneyd converting.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: HULL V SALFORD

Just over twelve months ago, in Round 3, after an encouraging, winning start to the ’22 season, the Salford Red Devils were brought down to earth with a bump by a comprehensive defeat at Hull, which consequently made it all the more gratifying to return there over this weekend, and repay them, and with considerable interest.

On the back of two disappointing defeats, both of which had been in encounters they could have won, their travelling faithful might have been forgiven for expecting something similar, as they made the journey over the Pennines, but, on this occasion their anxieties were to prove totally unfounded.

Although caught cold in the opening exchanges, with Hull scrum half, Clifford, deploying a show-and-go to cross for four points after just three minutes’ play, this proved a mere hiccup, as the Red Devils simply set-to to stamp their authority on the game, and within only three minutes they had actually got in front.

On only the second play from the restart, an incredible break by Marc Sneyd saw him hand on to the supporting Ryan Brierley who was stopped close to the left touchline fifteen metres out, and from his quick play-the-ball five pairs of hands propelled the ball to Deon Cross who grounded for the try, ten metres in from the right touchline. 

Sneyd’s successful conversion, from a highly similar position to Clifford’s earlier, failed attempt, put the visitors in front, and in that fifteen second period of play we had microcosm of what started to unfold as the game.

First, we had Sneyd’s unexpected, but telling break, which was to be the first of many he, in particular, and other play-makers, Brodie Croft, Andy Ackers and Chris Atkin made to wreak havoc in the home side’s defensive structures.  Indeed, Sneyd later turned this into a solo effort, when, in the 51st minute, he cut through from 15 metres out, to score under the posts.

Then we had the excellent support play of fullback, Brierley, in which he excels regularly, but to be joined in so doing, on this occasion, by many others to keep the second wave of attack in evidence and so frequently leading to tries.  He was soon among the try scorers, himself, as a result of getting alongside Croft, on the initial break, to score under the posts, in the eighteenth minute, crucially putting Salford three scores ahead, at 4-18.

Those five pairs of hands which accurately, and tellingly, got the ball to where the space was, on that first occasion, was to be replicated in many other attacks, and with such considerable variation in the form they each took, that the Hull defenders began to look completely bewildered by what was going on around them, seemingly unable to stem the flow of attacks and waves of tries which were mounting up.  Spectators could but marvel at the incredible display served up for their entertainment.

The fact that it was Cross, rather than Ken Sio, who got over for that first grounding was to herald something of a dearth of try-scoring opportunities, for both wingers, throughout the afternoon.  They contributed much in other aspects, however, particularly in diffusing high bombs to the corners and returning the ball up field on collection, without any errors.

As for the tries, so effective was the passing and support play throughout, that the try line presented itself to the inside strike players so quickly that it was the players just inside, who took the lions’ share, with Cross and co-centre, Tim Lafae each notching up a brace, as did second rower, Shane Wright.  Fellow second rower, Kallum Watkins, also crossed for one, on 45 mins. Lafae’s first, on 53 mins, must surely have ranked as the try of the game.

Finally, Salford went in front from that first try thanks to Sneyd’s accuracy with the boot, and this continued throughout the game, with his slotting over ten out of twelve shots, which compared most favourably with Hull’s solitary one from three.

Muted fears, during the interval, that the second half would see a turnaround in fortunes never materialised, for the simple reason that, unlike at Warrington where the Wolves received the ball direct from the second-half kick-off to generate some momentum, on Saturday it was the Red Devils who received it, and within fifty seconds had extended their lead even further, courtesy of Cross’s second try.

And so it continued for the following twenty minutes as their score was ramped up to fifty, but it was not only their attack which flourished.  They backed this up with some excellent defence, the highlight of which was the twenty-second minute, try-saving tackle by Sio and Brierley, both of whom seemed to fly across from nowhere to bundle Swift into touch, when he looked for all the world a certain scorer.

Hull just could not match the Reds in any of this.  Much has been said of their defence, and Tyler Dupree’s rampaging try, immediately after this incident, has been held up as evidence.  What this ignores, however, is that Tyler, most shrewdly, had picked a small gap to run at, and through, and the mismatch in size against other one-on-one challengers enabled him to brush them aside with ease.

So much, therefore, for the fans who had made the journey there, to revel in, on their return.  For the team, it was not only a return to winning ways, but also a return to the amazing form they had last shown in the final third of last season, and this coming Sunday’s visit from Wakefield gives them an opportunity to showcase their many skills to all their home fans.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD (2)

It seemed like a cup-tie, it felt like a cup-tie, and it certainly was as important as any cup-tie, yet when watching Bank Holiday Monday’s final away fixture of the regular season, it was anything but that, for cup-ties are usually tight, closely fought encounters, with both sides overly wary of making mistakes.

There certainly was no evidence of that from the Red Devils as they took on Castleford at the Jungle, in what was effectively a preliminary round, play-off, of their own, with both sides needing to win to be certain of a place in the actual play-offs, which start next week.

Throwing the ball around with a seeming carefree abandon, the Salford players, for around fifty-five minutes, ripped into their hosts, in a manner which absolutely stunned them.  Looking back on the game, the thing that is imprinted on the mind, as it so often has been recently, is the avalanche of tries they scored, and the exceptionally high quality of them, yet there were many other aspects of the performance, without which the victory would have been far more difficult to achieve.

Not least of these were the heroic efforts of Marc Sneyd and Ryan Brierley in chasing back, shortly after the start of the second half to overhaul Olpherts, as he hared down the left wing, after having intercepted a Salford attacking pass.  Delicately balanced as the game was, at that point, how it might have unfolded thereafter, had they not brought his progress to an early finish, thankfully does not need to be considered.

The, at times, valiant defence of the whole team, particularly, but not solely, during the latter stages of the first half, was imperative in retaining their lead into the break.  Tries were thwarted, even on occasions when the would-be scorer had crossed the line, a double dose of which came on the 23rd minute, when first Jack Ormondroyd, Shane Wright and Ryan Brierley, and then from the resultant play-the-ball, with the help of King Vuniyayawa, and Shane Wright again, Andy Ackers managed to get his body under the ball to prevent it from being grounded between the posts.

It was not always a tackle which was required.  Sometimes, just the pressure being put on an opponent by a Salford player racing at him, as he was receiving a pass, was enough to force an error from him.  The inside backs have become most adept at this now, and there were a number of these in evidence yesterday, the most notable being the way Eden was rushed into sending out an over-zealous pass to his left wing, which again deprived Olpherts of this opportunity to open his account.

The immaculate kicking of Sneyd, whether it be from the tee or at the end of sets, is something we now take for granted, just as we do with the energy put into the chases by his teammates.  Life is so much easier for the Red Devils, who usually progress at six points at a time, whereas other teams have to be content with a larger proportion of four points only.

It was good to see his slotting over a couple of early penalties in each half, firstly to give the Reds an early lead, and then later to kick-start the acquisition of points, after a near thirty-minute drought before half time.  In all he was successful with seven attempts out of eight, the one miss coming from a sixty metre attempt post first-half hooter.

Alongside all this there remains the hard yardage made by the forwards.  Alex Gerrard has been most reliable and  unshirking in this throughout the season and was in evidence again yesterday, while Ormondroyd capped one of his forward charges with a try and was unfortunate to have a second disallowed for a forward pass.  Tyler Dupree has made great progress since joining us earlier in the season, and Ackers was irrepressible in sparking attack after attack with his scoots from dummy half, or the speed and accuracy of his distribution from the play-the-ball.

It is from the combination of these, therefore, that the platform is laid for those wonderful, slick attacking moves, with the magnificent Brodie Croft the architect of so many of them.  In the few months he has been with us he has cemented the team around him, and must now strike fear into the hearts of any other club which has to face him.

He is fortunate, it is true, to have a volley of strike players around him who can capitalise on so many of his insertions into the opposition’s half.  These are the players whom we so often name, week after week, for scoring the tries, and absolutely thrilling us in so doing.  They also contribute much that might not be as readily recognised, as might have been the case with Kallum Watkins’s wide right to left pass, which ensured that Ken Sio’s interception resulted in a try, despite his being stopped, short of the line.

Finally, there are our fabulous, fans, many of whom travel to the farthest flung outreaches of the league, and make their presence felt on each and every occasion.  Your contribution is so important to the players, and they respond so magnificently to your encouragement, and in recognition we celebrate this by means of our banner photograph, with a player’s eye view from Monday’s game.

Putting this altogether, one can only rejoice at the outcome of having it all, so far, and that is in  an assured place in this season’s top six play-offs.  Who, back in March and early April would have predicted that – yet it is there to be looked forward to –  and, once they take the field in the first actual play-off, the team might well find, rather as they did recently against Hull, that, whoever it is against, they will have to rely more and more on all of the elements above, because the encounter might well be much more of a cup tie than this one was.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V HULL KR

A markedly improved second half performance brought the Salford Red Devils close, but not quite close enough, to stealing the game from the resurgent Robins, who had dominated the first forty minutes.

A half-time analysis of the situation, and their performance to that point, though, was sufficient to galvanise the team together for an onslaught on their eighteen points deficit, which almost came off in paying the highest of dividends.

As has been said before, eighteen points is not an insurmountable lead, particularly with a full forty minutes in which to do so.  Starting the half, as they were doing, however, with only twelve players on the field – Ryan Lannon having been sin-binned for the second successive week just before half – was not the ideal way.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils made light of the handicap, after only two minutes, with slick passing from a scrum fifteen metres out from the Hull line, putting Ken Sio in at the corner.  With Sneyd’s conversion from out wide, they were on their way, and only a couple of scores behind.

A much more energised competitive lead was now being given by the pack who were suddenly making great inroads, and good metres, into the visitors’ defence.  The whole approach to their attack consequently appeared much more confident and assured, and out of the blue the Robins found themselves on the back foot.

When, eventually on fifty-five minutes, Shane Wright won the race to touch down Sneyd’s kick-in-goal it came as little surprise.  What was more of a surprise was that the angle proved somewhat awkward for Sneyd’s conversion attempt, and the deficit remained at two scores.

Sneyd certainly made up for the miss, five minutes later, with an interception from within his own twenty metre area, from which he set up Joe Burgess with a clear run to the line, and there was no mistake this time with the extra two points.

The problem was that Salford were still in arears.  It might have been by only two points, but those two points gave Hull the little bit of cushioning they needed to be able to slow the game down, steady themselves, and build pressure of their own, whilst the Reds, on the other hand, were still having to play ‘catch-up’ football.

The hammer blow, though, came ten minutes from the end, when full back, Ryan Brierley, repeated an error he had made towards the end of the first half, misjudging and then failing to take, a high kick from Jordan Abdul, which, on both occasions led to tries from the irrepressible Mikey Lewis.  The eight-point deficit now possibly appeared larger than it was, because the Yorkshiremen then controlled the game so well, and it was they who added further to their score with a late penalty goal.

The damage though, had been done in the first half, when the Red Devils were below par in their overall performance.  Hull certainly showed their intent and determination from the outset, while Salford were slow out of the trap, and made too many handling errors on attack, which promptly gifted the visitors additional possession and field position.

Even the defence which had been so commendable the week before, was well below the standard they had shown then, as was exemplified by the gap left for Storton to slip through for Hull’s second try.

Whether all of this was caused by the significant amount of energy they had had to expend at Huddersfield, and followed by a short turnaround, or attributable to some other reason, is unknown, but it was encouraging to witness the considerable upturn in their performance in that first thirty minutes of the second half, the quality of which will undoubtedly be beneficial in this coming Friday’s fixture with Leeds Rhinos.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: HULL V SALFORD

For just over fifteen highly encouraging minutes, the Salford fans who had made the journey over to Hull filled with the confidence that their  hopes and expectations were well-placed, revelled in an opening stanza, which had their hosts well and truly on the rack.

Indeed, all the firepower in those initial exchanges lay with the Red Devils, who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, and who were, consequently able to pen Hull on their own line for the bulk of this time.

They ran strongly, spread the ball swiftly and accurately, and when called upon to, tackled with energy and desire. In fact they did almost everything they could have done, except score.

Not that they were without opportunities, for they created three, but unfortunately without success, the first coming when Shane Wright was stopped by a last ditch tackle, extremely close to the line;

Soon afterwards, Brodie Croft’s kick-in-goal was just a little too strong for the chasing Ken Sio, who was unable to repeat his similar try-scoring feat from last week, and the ball had cleared the dead-ball line, before the winger got his hands to it.

Their final chance of taking the lead came with Joe Burgess’s scoot from dummy-half, only for him to be held up over the line, and shortly afterwards the whole game changed far more dramatically than anyone would have predicted.

Off the field, things had not been running as smoothly as is normally the case.  The withdrawal of James Greenwood in the warm-up led to the introduction of Ryan Lannon into the side was probably a greater cause of disruption than might be obvious with his inclusion coming not simply onto the bench, but, of necessity, directly into the starting lineup.

Then there was some confusion over an injury to Dan Sarginson, which ended up costing the team two of their allotted substitutions, and meant that players could not be rotated or rested as frequently, or for as long, as normal.  King Vuniyayawa, in particular, played a considerable number of minutes, over and above his scheduled time span.  Fatigue, and occasionally injury, can be an inevitable consequence of that.

Two wayward passes, however, were the cause of the remarkable first-half turnaround, with both leading to Hull tries on their right flank.  These were then followed shortly after by two others the first of which came down that same side of the field, and within that second period of fifteen minutes, the Humbersiders had taken a twenty points, unanswered lead.

To be fair to the Salford players at this stage, they galvanised together, and returned to producing the better aspects of their play which had been so noticeable in the first fifteen, and this time it brought benefits.

A high bomb from Marc Sneyd looked to be well-covered by the Hull defence, only for Tim Lafae to pounce from nowhere, and rob them of the possession, with a try close to the Hull posts.

A half-time deficit of fourteen points is not insurmountable, but one always had the sense that Salford had to be first to score in the second half.  They certainly seemed to be up for the task, upon the resumption, but little more than five minutes had elapsed, when they were reduced to twelve men with the sin-binning of Sneyd, after a disagreement with Hull’s Connor.

If the second period of fifteen minutes had been a game-changers, this ten minute spell was to more or less finish off the contest, for by the time Sneyd had returned, the Hull tally had ratcheted up from twenty to thirty-six points, and there was to be little way back for the visitors, thereafter.

In fact it was Hull, who further extended their lead to forty-two points, with the second of two extremely cruel bounces of the ball.  Fullback, Ryan Brierley, it had earlier been, whose attempt to deal with a low Hull kick-through, to the posts, had been so thwarted, while for this latest score the bounce prevented Burgess from making the ball safe, and on both occasions Hull chasers were on hand to take advantage of the luck which had come their way.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils  once again regrouped to share the scoring in the final twenty minutes with two of their own to match this latest, and one further final one from the home side.

The first of  Salford’s could, arguably, make claim to have been the try of the match, starting as it did with a sideways kick to hand, and the ball then passing through six pairs of hands before Sio crossed in the corner.

Tim Lafae wound up proceedings for the visiting Reds, with the second of his brace, touching down a kick through, but it was all little more than cold comfort for those connected with Salford.

Bad days at the office come round to everyone, at times.  The important thing is to learn from each, put it behind you, and in Salford’s case produce a quick and effective response, preferably at Huddersfield next week.

Salford bolster pack with NRL forward

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce the signing of Australian second-rower Shane Wright on a two-year deal.

Wright arrives at the club from NRL outfit North Queensland Cowboys, where he has played for the last four years, and is an exciting addition to the squad for 2022 and onwards.

The 25-year-old, who has also had a spell on loan at Mackay Cutters during his time at the Cowboys, was named Cowboys’ Rookie of the Year in 2019 after an impressive season for the Queensland side.

In 2020, Wright was part of the North Queensland side that won the NRL Nines.

“It’s a new chapter in my rugby league career and I’m excited to come over here and get stuck in.

“I’m looking forward to improving my game and buying into the culture at the club,” Wright said.

Speaking on the acquisition of Wright, director of rugby and operations Ian Blease commented: “I’m delighted that we have landed Shane’s signature.

Shane is bringing with him four years of valuable NRL experience and after speaking with Shane and watching him as a consistent performer at the Cowboys last season, he is coming to the Red Devils bringing his workmanlike attitude, strength and agility to the pack for next season and beyond.”

Join Wright in 2022 by purchasing an early bird season ticket HERE.

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