Warrington Wolves savaged the Salford City Reds running in eleven tries, nine in a frenzied second half, with former GB winger, Brian Carney, claiming his first touchdown for the club and Chris Bridge racking-up 22 points from a try and nine goals.
Certainly Lee Briers was in no mood to play second-fiddle as he masterminded the Wolves second half fightback despite the fact that Salford halfback and (alleged) Warrington target, Richard Myler, played a pivotal part as the visitors rallied from 12-0 down to snatch a 20-12 half time lead.
“We’ve seen a side just fold. It was disgraceful”
Briers took the game by the scruff of the neck at the start of the second period to ensure an emphatic home victory. ghosting through a huge hole in Salford’s midfield defence to send Paul Johnson over with minutes of the restart, with Bridge’s conversion reducing the deficit to 2 points.
And although Salford responded almost immediately – only a superb Ben Westwood tackle prevented Myler scoring by the posts – Briers was soon harrying the Reds goal line, with Grix pouncing on a grubber kick for a touchdown; Bridge’s goal putting the Wolves 24-20 ahead.
When Briers crossed and Bridge goaled to extend that lead to 30-20 on the hour mark, the Salford resistance crumbled.
Westwood, Riley, captain Adrian Morley, Bridge and finally Chris Hicks all chimed in with tries in a brutal second half.
The result will be tempered for the Wolves however, with news that prop, Paul Wood, is likely to be ruled out ‘for some time’ if fears of a break in his leg are confirmed by x-rays.
The first half started in sensational style and true to the script, Myler was instrumental in the first score, but not in a good way. His chip kick being collected and returned 95 metres by Warrington centre, Matt King. Sadly for King he needed to go 96 metres, with Malcolm Alker hauling him down a long metre short of the touchdown and Wolves players either side of him tearing out their hair in frustration. Still it didn’t matter much as Briers punched his way through a gap moments later with Bridge converting.
And the game looked effectively over as a contest when Carvell plundered a try on 10 minutes, with Bridge again converting.
The Reds had other ideas though Stefan Ratchford and Wilshere raiding down the left flank to send Mark Henry in at the corner.
They edged closer when Myler’s superb inside reverse pass enabled Stuart Littler to crash through at right centre, with Wilshere’s conversion closing the gap to two points.
Salford stunned the home crowd with a counter-attacking score on the cusp of half time, Henry scooping up a loose pass near his own line and breaking down the left to link with Wilshere and Smith to send Myler romping over.
And Salford’s first half turnaround was complete when Smith crossed for a try on 39 minutes leaving Wilshere an easy conversion. But from thereonin it was all downhill for the boys from Lowry-ville.
19 Riley, 23 Hicks, 25 Bridge, 4 King, 32 Carney, 20 Grix, 6 Briers, 8 Morley, 7 Monaghan, 16 Carvell, 11 L Anderson, 24 Harrison, 12 Westwood Subs: 15 Wood, 18 Cooper, 2 Johnson, 22 Mitchell
Tries: Briers (7, 53), Carvell (10), Johnson (44), Grix (49), Westwood (58), Riley (61), Morley (62), Bridge (68), Carney (69), Hicks (79)
Goals: Bridge 9/11
2 Wilshere, 24 McGilvray, 15 Littler, 19 Ratchford, 3 Henry, 6 Smith, 7 Myler, 8 Cashmere, 9 Alker, 10 Stapleton, 20 Adamson, 23 Sidlow, 13 Swain Subs: 17 Paul, 11 Sibbitt, 16 Leuluai, 22 Nash
Tries: Henry (17), Littler (30), Myler (36), Smith (39)
Goals: Wilshire 2/4
7 Briers try, Bridge goal 6-0
10 Carvell try, Bridge goal 12-0
17 Henry try, Wilshere miss 12-4
30 Littler try, Wilshere goal 12-10
36 Myler try, Wilshere miss 12-14
39 Smith try, Wilshere goal 12-20
44 Johnson try, Bridge goal 18-20
49 Grix try, Bridge goal 4/4 24-20
53 Briers try, Bridge goal 5/5 30-20
58 Westwood try, Bridge miss 5/6 34-20
61 Riley try, Bridge goal 6/7 40-20
62 Morley try, Bridge goal 7/8 46-20
68 Bridge try, Bridge goal 8/9 52-20
69 Carney try, Bridge goal 8/10 56-20
77 Phillip Leuluai sin-binned (interference)
79 Hick try, Bridge goal 9/11 62-20
Referee: Ben Thaler
Men of the match
Wolves: Ben Westwood (for the try saving tackle that in all probability turned the game on its head)
City Reds: Malcolm Alker
Salford coach, Shaun McRae:
McRae was scathing about the performance of his team, despite trying to inject some humour into the post-match press conference by quipping: “
Don’t take this game too seriously or it’ll kill ya!”.
He went on to condemn his teams effort as disgraceful: “
“I’ve never ever seen a turnaround in 40 minutes like that, there’ll be all kinds of explanations and excuses but at the end of the day we’ve seen a team fold in that second half and it was disgraceful.
“Whilst I applaud a lot of what we did in the first half I’m very critical of everything we did in the second forty.
“We looked stronger than them at the end of that first period but we failed to take two legitimate scoring opportunities at the start of that second half and Warrington grew from there. I counted 12-13 sets where we had just 2 tackles, we were unable to get hold of and control the ball”.
Warrington coach, Tony Smith:
In contrast Smith was his usual calm self, saying: “
“We started positively and blew a few more chances in the first ten minutes, we made some errors that invited the opposition back into it. They were very enthusiastic and tried hard.
“Our decision-making was poor in some instances but I thought we got smart in the second half and played some attractive stuff especially in the (wet) condition.
“We knew the opportunities would be there and we just needed to get some stieadiness about our game. So I’m pleased the boys showed that in the second half.”Carvell was tremendous with the ball and Westwood was outstanding for the second week in a row; he’s back to his best after perhaps a dip in his form. And Monaghan showed some classy touches at times – even to send Morley over.”
On a down note, Smith revealed that Paul Wood looks like he’s picked up a break to his leg:
“We’ll need to get him x-rayed, but it looks like we’ll be without him for some time.”