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Pre Season Match Report: Salford 10 Wigan 16
Posted by cherryandwhite on January 25 2012 - 00:11

Salford City Reds v Wigan Warriors - Pre Season Friendly.
Tuesday 24th January 2012
. Kick Off 8:00pm at Salford City Stadium.

Match Report

Just as I start to write this I notice the official club twitter state that this contest "certainly wetted the appetite for the return of Super League!" - Now it wasn't a poor game I didn't think but it was hardly a game that "wetted the appetite", unless defence dominated stuff is what your looking for week in, week out? That's the thing with following or reading any official stuff, they will always spin a negative into a positive, that's their job! Stick with me, I can tell it like I see it! :)

For me I'm a little disappointed that we didn't kick on in this game considering it was our last big run out of the pre season. The number of substitutes were reduced but this game lacked the intensity of a normal Super League game. I mean I didn't see a step up in intensity from the Hull KR game, in fact it was almost a carbon copy. A pretty tight defensive battle for 60 minutes before Wigan scored two tries to seal the result. Salford though gave a very good account of themselves, and a try four minutes into stoppage time saw the final score offer a much fairer reflection of the game.

The biggest issue I see us having off the back of pre season evidence is still the lack of any last tackle kicking game. We saw very little from Brett Finch and Thomas Leuluai tonight and I still think Tommy should not be in the Scrum Half role. I mean Salford bombed and bombed and bombed Sam Tomkins all night and to be honest we were pretty fortunate he was outstanding in dealing with those kicks time and time again. Our kicks were pretty garbage in comparison and I'm not sure who the answer is. Finch never seems to take control in that department, whilst you can look back at my match reports for the past five seasons and you'll see my constant moans which are enough to tell you Leuluai isn't the answer either. I might just be fussing on that too early but I'll be keeping an eye on it for sure because that could be the difference this year between trophies and being runners up, especially now Paul Deacon is retired.

On the positive side we looked very solid again. Salford barely made a clean break on us all night. We were very sloppy in possession during the first half of the second half I felt but defensively we look like we will once again be difficult to break down. I still question mark whether we'll get enough out of Mike McIlorum if he is to be an 80 minute hooker. The lack of alternative in that position could be an issue, but time will tell.

Now this stadium was best described by my mate Dan on our arrival. "It's a bit of a bike shed", that sums it up really. It has one big stand which houses the corporate facilities, tv gantry, reception area etc etc, but the other three stands (two end terraces and one seated along sideline) are very bog standard. I was reading a tweet which read "It's as if they built one stand, then realised they'd blown 90% of the budget already". That one stand dwarfs the rest of the stadium.

Our away end had a massive concourse with plenty of pissers in the male toilets.......

Which reminds me, whoever left a massive vat of sick in one of the men's bogs, seriously, Tuesday Night? Pre Season? Vomiting off the ale? You are an absolute embarrassment. Go to your room! - (Disclaimer: Apologies if someone was actually genuinely sick lol)

........and a bar that actually stayed open for the full 80 minutes. Yes I saw you, whoever you was old man, buying a pint with 2 minutes to go! The terrace itself has a roof but it doesn't look like it will protect you much from wind and rain blowing in. Luckily it wasn't a cold night tonight!

It's a very thin terrace with only 24 steps in depth. That could be a tight squeeze when the league game comes round. The grounds car park was pretty dire. It was half tarmac, half waterlogged gravel. Not good considering the club charged a fiver! Despite fears by the way, getting in the ground was pretty easy. Their is a little ticket office right next to the away entrance which didn't have any queues formed at it.

Anyway onto the game and the first thing to notice was at the first scrum. A ton of steam rose up from the players. Wigan took the lead with their first real attack on six minutes. Sam Tomkins footwork attracted defenders towards him and he just sent Pat over in the left corner. He couldn't convert off the touchline - so the lead was just 4-0.

Salford's first attack came on 11 minutes with them having a full set inside our 20 metre area. We defended well but Matty Smith hit a neat grubber on the last towards the in goal. The bounce could have easily beaten Sam but he almost bent over backwards in not only defending it, but also managing to avoid a drop out.

As time ticked on towards 20 minutes, both sides had a full set on each others try lines. First Josh Charnley was a bugs dick away for Wigan before we defended out some Salford pressure created by our own knock on.

Wigan then had two further chances, with Leuluai going closest to scoring, but Salford levelled the score on 27 minutes. Not sure who it was by, but a long cut out pass gave Danny Williams a huge overlap to take advantage of in the right corner. Daniel Holdsworth couldn't convert however, so the score was left at 4-4.

The score was pretty fair at this point but Wigan finished the first half strongly. They forced a drop out before a neat grubber from Sam was almost touched down by Pat, but he couldn't ground the football. Then a kick to the right corner by Sam just evaded Charnley's out-stretched arms. He would have scored had he taken it in!

Into the second half and Wigan had two further chances to score, either side of a three minute injury delay which saw Salford's Vinnie Anderson leave the field. First Sam was held up over the line, then Pat tried taking on defenders out wide with a toe poke towards the line but they dealt with that well.

Onto the 50 minute mark and I think Wigan had a sloppy ten minutes here. For this spell it was looking like Salford would take the lead - they had two or three good sets on our line, forcing a drop out at one point, but a bit of class allowed Wigan to take the lead.

It came on the hour. Sam Tomkins will get, and looking around is getting, the plaudits for finishing the try off but bugger that, this was all created by a break down the left. Quick hands swung towards Pat got him breaking from his own 20, past halfway. Excellent support play from the "Ginger Pearl" Liam Farrell, who for a weird running forward is a great support player. He was tackled but a quick play the ball allowed us to swing right and Sam just took advantage of Salford's defence being unable to recover from that break by Pat. It was rounded under the sticks, giving Pat an easy conversion for 10-4.

In fairness to Sam, for long periods he was the only one showing any sign of class in attack but like I said, it was his defence which should be getting him plaudits, not so much his attack. His neat jinking step makes him stand out but he certainly wasn't cutting up Salford with anything. They were pretty solid in defence themselves until that break by Pat broke their resistance.

Wigan had a good last quarter after that try but lacked patience when in good position. We knocked on close the line and forced a forward pass out left before finally sealing the result in the 77th Minute. I mentioned Farrell's support play and he showed it here by hitting Finch's pass with some decisive pace from 15 metres out. Pat converted from the left side to make it 16-4.

I think Wigan's last couple of seasons highlight how hard work can get rewards in Rugby League and Salford's hard work was rewarded with an deserved consolation at the death. The injury to Anderson earlier left plenty of injury time and they scored in the fourth minute of it with a close range barge over from ex Warrior Feka Paleaaesina. He looked pretty fit to me, and on that evidence, he looks set for a big season with Salford after what seemed like a pretty non event first season with them. Holdsworth's conversion left the final score at 16-10 to Wigan.

So like I said, it wasn't poor but neither was it a performance that got your fist pumping. A pretty standard pre season run out I suppose, just bring on the proper stuff a week Sunday!

Reaction to the Action

Shaun Wane: "It was a good blow out, we tried to stay to ten interchanges, Salford used a lot more, we put ourselves under pressure with some unforced errors which we need to fix, overall it did the job and we will be ready for Huddersfield. Salford had a real dig at us, I knew Phil (Veivers) would have them fired up for this, the conditions were very greasy, we needed to keep hold of the ball, in spells we didn't and that is what we need to fix up. The players will be in on Wednesday and we will look back on the game, talk straight about it, obviously things to fix and we will fix them. I thought when we did get our plays on I thought we looked effective and I was pleased with us defensively. It's all about now preparing for Huddersfield mentally and we have 10 days to be ready."

Team Sheets

- Salford Position Wigan 1
1 Luke Patten Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
2 Jodie Broughton Winger Josh Charnley 2
18 Ashley Gibson Centre Darrell Goulding 3
4 Joel Moon Centre George Carmont 4
5 Danny Williams Winger Pat Richards 5
6 Daniel Holdsworth Stand Off Brett Finch 6
7 Matty Smith Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
21 Jordan James Prop Epalahame Lauaki 21
9 Wayne Godwin Hooker Mike McIlorum 9
8 Lee Jewitt Prop Lee Mossop 10
16 Luke Adamson 2nd Row Harrison Hansen 11
27 Vinnie Anderson 2nd Row Gareth Hock 12
13 Stephen Wild L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
-
14 Chris Nero Substitute Jeff Lima 14
17 Iafeta Paleaaesina Substitute Liam Farrell 16
20 Ben Gledhill Substitute Chris Tuson 17
24 Stuart Howarth Substitute Ben Flower 23
25 Josh Veivers Substitute Joe Mellor 25
- Phil Veivers Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Salford City Reds 10 --- Wigan Warriors 16
Tries (2):
Danny Williams
Iafeta Paleaaesina
--- Tries (3):
Pat Richards
Sam Tomkins
Liam Farrell
Goals:
Daniel Holdsworth 1/2
--- Goals:
Pat Richards 2/3

Scoring and Incident Pattern

6th Minute Salford 00 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- Salford 00 Wigan 04 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
27th Minute Salford 04 Wigan 04 Try: Danny Williams
- Salford 04 Wigan 04 D.Holdsworth Missed Conversion (0/1)
Half Time Salford City Reds 04 Wigan Warriors 04
60th Minute Salford 04 Wigan 08 Try: Sam Tomkins
- Salford 04 Wigan 10 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/2)
77th Minute Salford 04 Wigan 14 Try: Liam Farrell
- Salford 04 Wigan 16 Conversion: Pat Richards (2/3)
80th Min +4 Salford 08 Wigan 16 Try: Iafeta Paleaaesina
- Salford 10 Wigan 16 Conversion: Daniel Holdsworth (1/2)
Full Time Salford City Reds 10 Wigan Warriors 16

Referee

Richard Silverwood

Penalties Conceded

Salford 8 Wigan 7

Match Attendance

2,732

Weather

Not too cold but a slight mist hung over the stadium.

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