A week can be a long time in Rugby League as we’ve seen so far in round two of the new season. Toronto Wolfpack arrived for this fixture on the back of a defeat to Castleford last Sunday.
The pressure was slightly on Salford to bounce back from last Friday’s thumping at St Helens. Ian Watson brought Connor Jones in to the starting line up with Joey Lussick on the bench.
The opening stages were fairly edgy with both sides trying to feel their way into the game. Tui Lolohea tested the Wolfpack with some clever kicking. The swirling wind round the AJ Bell Stadium gave Toronto full back Blake Wallace all kinds of problems.
Salford came close to opening the scoring when Kevin Brown offloaded close to the line but referee James Child ruled a knock on.
After a slight delay for a Toronto injury the visitors brought on substitute Gary Wheeler. The former St. Helens and Warrington player scored a try off his first touch of the ball showing great determination to touch down.
Joey Lussick’s introduction in the 25th minute seemed to push Salford through the gears. Another lovely Lolohea kick this time found Kevin Brown who scored a well deserved try much to the delight of the home supporters.
One or two strange decisions took the shine of a really good half of Rugby League. At first Ken Sio intercepted but the referee had already blown for a Toronto obstruction. Salford were awarded the penalty but would much rather have taken the advantage.
Kris Welham was sent to the sin bin for what looked like a 50-50 Challenge with Wheeler off yet another superb Salford attacking kick. Hakim Miloudi was also sin binned after a fracas in the aftermath.
The Red Devils found another level after the break. Some great play from the all action raw boned Dan Sarginson. Lolohea took the try to extend the lead.
It soon became back to back tries, from the re start Rhys Williams pouched the kick off and ran the full length of the field taking the full back on the outside to score a thrilling try.
At 16-4 down the Wolfpack showed tremendous spirit to keep battling away and they were rewarded when Wheeler touched down for his second try from a neat kick through. Brad Singleton stormed over with ten minutes remaining. Wallace converted to level the scores at 16-16.
Salford though showed great character and punished the Wolfpack with two late tries. Brown put Sarginson over for a well deserved try. The former Wigan centre put in a man of the match display of real quality. Full back Niall Evalds was Johnny on the spot in the right place at the right as usual to put the game to bed with a try three minutes from time.
Speaking after the match Salford coach Ian Watson said, “ I think it’s a really good performance, you’d say not your best in terms of playing style and everything else, getting the wins the most important thing. Today was about starting to build again and stick with those processes going forward.
Watson was also very happy with the half back partnership that is developing between Lolohea and Brown. “Their starting to figure out each other and starting to learn about where they need to be for each other and at what times.” Speaking about star Welsh winger Rhys Williams’s wonderful try, “dragon is deceptive in the way he looks, he likes his food, he’s very quick, he doesn’t look the quickest but you saw today you put in him space and he’s gone!”
Salford are back in action on Friday in another home match against Huddersfield Giants. This promises to be another intriguing game.
Salford 24 Toronto 16.