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|Easter Monday 6th April 2015|
|Salford Red Devils 24 Wigan Warriors 18|
|AJ Bell Stadium, Salford|
|First Utility Super League 20 - Round 9 of 23|
|Kick Off 3:00pm|
|20||Ryan Hampshire||T||G3||19||Niall Evalds||T2|
|27||Lewis Tierney||2||Ben Jones-Bishop||T|
|3||Anthony Gelling||3||Josh Griffin||G4|
|4||Dan Sarginson||4||Junior Sa'u|
|5||Joe Burgess||T||5||Greg Johnson|
|6||George Williams||6||Rangi Chase|
|7||Matty Smith||7||Michael Dobson||T|
|24||Taulima Tautai||8||Adrian Morley|
|9||Michael McIlorum||9||Tommy Lee|
|14||John Bateman||31||Corey Paterson|
|12||Liam Farrell||12||Weller Hauraki|
|25||Larne Patrick||T||11||Harrison Hansen|
|17||Tony Clubb||10||Lama Tasi|
|26||Logan Tomkins||15||Darrell Griffin|
|28||Ryan Sutton||24||Liam Hood|
|31||Connor Farrell||26||Carl Forster|
Personally I wasn't too disappointed with this defeat at Salford on
Easter Monday. I know its another game added to a run of eight away
games without victory on the road but given it followed Friday's
gruelling battle against St Helens, I didn't think it was too bad a
After playing on a heavy pitch in rain on Friday, the stark contrast of playing on a hot sunny day wasn't helpful and whilst I appreciate Salford had a similar turnaround, their is a whole heap of difference between playing in front of 6,000 at Huddersfield to playing in front of 24,000 in an emotional and frenetic derby.
Salford are improving as well and the fact we've played second and third in the after Easter league table suggest we've had the toughest run of anyone over the period.
Generally though I'm just more contented and mellow because Ryan Hampshire is in the side. He showed with his try in this game what he can do and I think we should sit on the current line up of full back and half backs and see how they develop.
I see the arguments still suggesting our current halves aren't working but I think we should see how it goes with Hampshire being the option at Full Back. If that doesn't work then maybe a change will be necessary but it's too early to say on that yet I'd say. I'm not convinced Matty Smith was fully fit at Salford either, maybe in hindsight he shouldn't of played?
Things look better going forward as well. Dom Manfredi and Joel Tomkins missed this game at Salford but are expected to be available for Catalan along with Dom Crosby. Then for Warrington we're told Sean O'Loughlin and Josh Charnley will be in contention for that with Ben Flower obviously back from his suspension for that game. So all that contributes to my glass being more half full rather than half empty on this performance.
The game started well for Wigan with a 7th Minute try from Larne Patrick opening the scoring. It was a nice dash and finish under the posts and Ryan Hampshire's conversion made it 6-0.
Salford had begun to get into the game over the next few minutes and for that reason I actually didn't think, at the time, it was the wrong option to "take the two" on 21 minutes for 8-0.
But it proved wrong because Salford came back towards half time. I know it's a bit churlish with Salford having lost both Corey Paterson and Tommy Lee to match ending injuries in the first half but our loss of Tony Clubb (hip) off the interchange was a blow.
Salford hit back on 26 minutes with good combination between Rangi Chase and Michael Dobson getting Niall Evalds over near the posts for an easy Josh Griffin conversion to make it 8-6.
Then on 35 minutes they cut us up left from half way and Dobson finished the move. My biggest memory of that try, from commentating on the sideline, was Logan Tomkins having a huge struggle to get anywhere near Dobson on that break. He wouldn't have been off the bench long but seemed to have concrete boots in attempting to chase.
So that was 12-8 at half time and Salford had probably deserved that. The start to the second half was pretty even and the next try was always looking crucial and it went Salford's way unfortunately.
It came from a poor kick from George Williams being collected by Rangi Chase. Salford quickly got on the move and eventually Ben Jones-Bishop broke to score. Near the posts, so an easy conversion made it 18-8. Disappointment for Williams who early had been unlucky to not find Ryan Sutton for a try with a nice chip but I actually think Chase deserves some credit for defending his kicks at times.
I suppose another reason for my glass being half full about this game is because Wigan never gave up at 18-8. After an incident had seen both John Bateman and Weller Hauraki sin binned on 66 minutes, Rocky Hampshire scored a great try under the posts on 68 minutes to make it 18-14 after he converted.
The disappointment was that Wigan had two sets to pressure after that but Larne Patrick knocked on both times off memory. One I'd blame him, the other I'd blame the pass but that lack of composure stopped a late rally.
Salford found the match winning try with four minutes to go and it was a kind of repeat of Good Friday. Lewis Tierney had no choice but to defend a kick into touch and Salford had got the ball in the right position, just like we had done in the Saints match.
You sensed the try would come and Evald's second made it 24-14 and game over. Yet in the final two minutes their was still time for the returning sin bin men Hauraki and Bateman to get sent off with red cards this time. "Toddler Biff" (that's an all pile in with no punches thrown) had broken out but considering no punches, it was strange to remove them. Their subsequent discipline charges have come from the sin bin incident rather than the red card by the way.
After than Wigan did get a consolation try from Joe Burgess but it was too late with just 40 seconds to go. It finished 24-18 and although our worst run of away form since the 1979-80 relegation season continues, personally I think we should fully judge easter on where we lie after the Warrington game on April 16th.
First Utility Super League 20 - Round 9 Results
|Mon 6 Apr||Warrington Wolves 14 Castleford Tigers 22||8,518|
|Mon 6 Apr||Hull Kingston Rovers 20 Huddersfield Giants 16||7,827|
|Mon 6 Apr||Leeds Rhinos 48 Wakefield Wildcats 22||17,608|
|Mon 6 Apr||St Helens 20 Hull FC 28||11,088|
|Mon 6 Apr||Salford Red Devils 24 Wigan Warriors 18||6,561|
|Mon 6 Apr||Catalan Dragons 32 Widnes Vikings 16||7,000|
First Utility Super League 20 Table - After This Round
|3||Salford Red Devils||9||5||1||3||204||228||-24||11|
|4||Hull Kingston Rovers||9||5||0||4||230||220||+10||10|
Top 8 Qualify for "Super 8s" after Round 23 / Top 4 Qualify for Play Offs