A week is a long time in Rugby League. So much can change, teams can be on a huge high one week and seven days later can hit a real low.
Salford know that only too well this season having posted some breath taking victories so far but struggled to back them up. Consistency is definitely the key in Super League.
You have to go back to January 1980 for Salford’s last victory at St Helens. Ian Watson’s men were definitely under dogs going in to this clash knowing that every player needed to be on their game. The travelling Salford supporters have already seen two very unexpected and convincing wins at Catalans and Warrington in recent months so could tonight see yet another Watson master piece?
Early Salford pressure was sniffed out by Saints before a thrilling break from Regan Grace turned Salford’s defence inside out. Lachlan Coote backs up to score the opening try of the match.
Shortly after the lead was doubled when Theo Fages neat kick bounced kindly for Coote to touch down for his second try. Coote’s second conversion giving Saints a very strong start. 12-0 after ten minutes.
On the very next set another try follows. Fages drops his shoulder to ghost through the gap feeding Tommy Mackinson to score.
Robert Lui produced a wonderful forty twenty kick to give Salford some light relief and a try came through an unlikely scorer in Gil Dudson.
Krisnan Inu converting 16-6.
Derrell Olpherts came close but his squeeze in the corner was denied by the video referee.
With Saints on the attack smelling blood Salford managed to hold their line. Inu with a very brave but sensational offload sent Niall Evalds racing eighty yards to score 16-12.
The hosts launch another torrid attack but Salford’s defence holds firm before they cross the try line at the other end to the delight of the travelling supporters. The video referee was again called upon and this time Olpherts is not denied. Inu converting to give Salford a half time lead after a remarkable comeback.
Both sides began to trade sets at the start of the second half and Salford were certainly holding their own. Huge back rower Pauli Pauli adding real size to the pack on his debut looking quite a useful acquisition to the squad.
The first points of the second half went to Salford, Robert Lui powering through the defence showing great strength, with Evalds in support . Inu’s conversation extending the lead to 16-24.
Salford’s confidence continued to grow with them trying offloads and neat play they perhaps wouldn’t in normal circumstances.
Inu came close after some individual brilliance but from the resulting scrum Lui grabbed a well deserved try. Thirty unanswered point from Ian Watson’s side giving them a 16-30 lead. Salford were great value for their lead as well. Playing some outstanding attacking rugby.
Saints continued to attack throwing everything they had at a Salford side who defended so bravely at times.
The hosts grabbed a huge slice of luck when Coote scored his hat trick and on the very next set Tommy Mackinson burst through showing all the power and pace a world class winger should possess to touch down. 26-30.
As this fantastic match reached a climax in the final few minutes Saints received a penalty which put them in a great attacking position. Salford and their supporters knew this was the set they had to defend. James Bentley crashed over but looked to have lost the ball. The video referee was called upon for a match deciding decision. Heart wrenching for Salford the decision went the way of St. Helens and the try was awarded to tie the scores at 30-30.
Coote kicked the goal to snatch the victory.
After a fantastic effort from his team Salford coach Ian Watson couldn’t hide his disappointment after the match but knew their were so many positives his side can take from the match. “That’s the effort and the attitude we need to have every week. We’ve got a lot of good players in that group and we just want them to believe”.
Salford head to Liverpool next Sunday for a clash with Hull Kingston Rovers at the magic weekend.
St. Helens 32 Salford 30.