The word on the street billed this match as ‘a must win game’. Another very blustery afternoon would go on to hamper the kicking games of both teams who got more cautious as the match went on.
It was Wakefield who started the brighter of the two sides. Salford handed the visitors early attacking opportunities but Trinity failed to capitalise. Despite being under the cosh Ken Sio and Tui Lolohea combined brilliantly after some good work from Pauli Pauli. Lolohea scored the try but failed to convert. 4-0 after fourteen minutes.
Rhys Williams and Dan Sarginson worked hard for Salford returning the ball with a steely determination. Niall Evalds put in another accomplished display at fullback.
It was the home sides pack that was struggling though as Wakefield began to dominate up the middle. Another defensive clock off allowed Trinity half back Max Jowitt to burst through and level the scores.
Jowitt converted to put the visitors into a deserved lead. Another break threatened to extend the advantage but Salford breathed a huge sigh of relief when Alex Walker knocked on. 4-6 at half time the game was in the balance.
Substitute Mark Flanagan tried his best to stamp his authority on the game and it was his pass that helped work a nice try for Ken Sio. This nudged Salford back in front, Lolohea missed the conversion. 8-6.
The Red Devils lead didn’t last long. More mistakes allowed Trinity to get back on the front foot. After keeping the ball alive with some enterprising play winger Tom Johnstone crossed to score. Jowitt’s conversion edged Wakefield ahead again at 8-12.
Jacob Miller and Jowitt were bossing the game and pulling the strings. After forcing a drop out Reece Lynne set up the next try with a superb offload for Bill Tupou.
Salford’s contact in defence seemed soft at times and the next Trinity try certainly highlighted that. Kelepi Tanginoa walked through some shoddy tackling to put daylight between the teams.
Ken Sio scored his second try with eight minutes remaining but that’s as good as it got for Salford. Another disappointing performance left coach Ian Watson very down beat at full time. “We lacked it straight from the off, we looked flat. That’s not good enough.”
Looking ahead to next week Watson spoke of making changes, “some people are still believing the hype from last year. At the moment I think people are lacking. Their has got to be changes on the back of that because we can’t keep rolling with that group.”
Salford travel to France next weekend when they face Catalans Dragons next Saturday.
Salford 12 Wakefield 22.