Another week has raced by in the World of Rugby League and yet again the Super League table is more compact than ever. Most teams have a couple of wins separating them from a playoff spot or a relegation battle.
London Broncos made it three wins on the spin last night in a classic match against Hull kr. The Robins are now bottom of the table.
St. Helens continue to set the pace at the top playing some fantastic rugby and look like they will take some stopping.
Salford are just four points above bottom place but a win tonight would see them into the playoff places. Tonight was probably the biggest game so far this season for The Red Devils who were looking to make it back to back wins after last Sunday’s much improved performance against Wakefield.
George Griffin missed out through injury with Ryan Lannon starting in the second row following his loan move from Hull kr.
Both sides traded sets early on with Salford matching Castleford’s big aggressive pack. The Red Devils were beginning to dominate with Jackson Hastings and Robert Lui working behind the platform laid by their pack.
Gil Dudson was unstoppable at times running his blood to water.
Good work from centre Krisnan Inu set up Niall Evalds to score the opening try of the match. The Salford fullback in the right place at the right time as usual.
Shortly after The Red Devils doubled their lead when Hastings sent Lee Mossop crashing over off a superbly timed pass.
Despite Salford’s dominance, individual errors kept Castleford in the hunt. Jake Bibby’s error deep in his own half gifted The Tigers good field position and a try followed from Daniel Smith.
Hastings hard work was rewarded with a try when the Australian showed wonderful determination to smash his way through the Castleford defence leaving Liam Watts in a heap. Hastings copped a high shot for his troubles but the sheer determination of the man continues to delight the Salford supporters.
It wasn’t the best half of rugby league for Salford’s wingers Derrell Olpherts and Jake Bibby. Poor ball handling a knocks on led to another try for the visitors. Greg Minikin touching down to reduce the deficit 18-10 three minutes from the break.
To round off the first half a real bizarre patch of play unfolded. As the hooter sounded Salford decided to take the two points on offer from a penalty they were awarded. Inu’s goal kick attempt hit the post with The Tigers regathering possession. A fumble from the visitors handed the ball back to Salford and surely they would take the tackle? Instead The Red Devils played panic rugby as if they were chasing the game. A real comedy of errors followed which led to a Castleford try from Cheyse Blair. A passage of play that would go down well on A Question Of Sports ‘what happened next’ round!
If Salford ever needed a forty minute performance now was the time. Ian Watson’s men produced exactly that, a half of grit, determination, courageous defence and superb game management.
Robert Lui came close to extending Salford’s lead but was tackled just short.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that the next points were scored. Joey Lussick with a thrilling break, then on the next play neat work from Kris Welham put Olpherts over for a vital try. Inu’s conversion extended the lead to 24-16 and Salford were certainly good value for it.
Castleford continued to press throwing a lot in attack but Salford’s resilience was admirable. The whole team worked for each other desperately covering and scrambling in defence.
Salford were seeking a knock out punch as the clock counted down. It never quite came but a monumental second half effort in defence had won a huge two competition points.
Inu landed a penalty goal as the hooter sounded for full time.
Salford coach Ian Watson was in good spirits after the game and rightly so.
His side move into fifth position with a trip to sixth place Wigan next Friday.
Watson saluted man of the match Gil Dudson and was very pleased with Ryan Lannon on his return to Salford.
The Red Devils are building momentum and growing in confidence at a crucial time in the season.
It’s all to play for in Super League for every single club. Who knows how far this Salford side can go in 2019! One things for sure it’s going to be an exciting journey to find out.
Final score Salford 26 Castleford 16.