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A win by a margin of twenty-six points or more would move Wigan Warriors to the top of the table with a game in hand, all that stood in their way was the unpredictable Salford Red Devils who have the chutzpah to beat anyone on their day.

Salford needed the win to maintain their push for the top of the table and to ensure that they spend more time in the top six, defying critics and pundits alike as they continue to make the most out of a small budget and ever smaller playing staff.

Wigan were the favourites for the win with a ten point handicap on the coupon, Salford the clear underdogs, a position that they thrive on.

The opening try was a long-range effort as Abbas Miski broke the Salford line on his own twenty and made it to the halfway line before passing to the supporting Adam Keighran to run round the last man and dive in by the eft upright. Keighran added the conversion to his try for a 6-0 lead.

On fifteen Junior Nsemba battered away the Salford tacklers, stepped out of an angle grab and ran the angle to score the second Wigan try. Keighran hit the mark again for 12-0, too easy for the Warriors in the opening minutes.

It was becoming all one-way traffic as Wigan got their third, Brad O’Neill breaking free of three tacklers and sliding over the line to score. The video referee was consulted and agreed with the on field official. Keighran was on target with the conversion for 18-0.

On Salford’s first real attack on thirty-one, Kallum Watkins was held up over the line and Wigan survived to regain possession, Wigan taking an 18-0 into the break.

It was a great start to the second half for Salford and they were first to register points when Oliver Partington took the ball at first receiver to go in from two metres out and give the Wigan defence no chance. Marc Sneyd added the conversion for 6-18 on forty-seven minutes.

The heavens then opened as the crowds ran for the back of the stands, but the downpour only lasted for five minutes.

On sixty-three Keighran kicked a thirty-metre penalty goal to extend the lead to fourteen points, back came the rain, with the added interest of hail.

Harry Smith attempted a drop goal on seventy-seven but the ball came back off the right had post. Salford collected the rebound but then lost the ball and from the back of the resulting scrum Bevan French was on hand to go around Joe Shorrocks and score in the right corner. Keighran was again on target from the touchline for a 26-6 win, Wigan level on points at the top of the table with St Helens.

Wigan were never in any danger of losing this game as they put in another professional performance to beat a workmanlike Salford side who were never going to roll over and die. Keeping the margin down to twenty points was of some credit to the home side but they will look at the Wigan tries and wonder whether they could have done even better to restrict the scoring.

Saford Red Devils: Brierley, Ryan, Macdonald, Lafai, Cross, Atkin, Sneyd (1/1 G), Singleton, Shorrocks, Wright, Stone, Watkins, Partington (T).  Subs: Foster, Hankinson, Mellor, Dudson. 18th Man: Vuniyayawa.

Wigan Warriors: Field, Miski, Keighran (T, 5/5 G), Wardle, Marshall, French (T), Smith, Cooper, O’Neill (T), Thompson, Nsemba (T), Farrell, Havard. Subs: Hill, Mago, Leeming, Dupree. 18th Man: Eckersley. 

Half-Time: 0-18.

Full-Time: 6-26.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12, 0-16, 0-18 : HT: 4-18, 6-18, 6-20, 6-24, 6-26 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Wigan.

Referee: Tom Grant.  



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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 26th May 2024 4:48 PM | Views : 4415 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES