After the break for the Challenge Cup final, Salford returned to Super Eight action desperate for a win at home to Wakefield Trinity. The sides had already met three times this season with Trinity victorious in two league encounters, while Salford won convincingly in the Cup quarter final. The Red Devils, on the back of a seven game losing run, were in last chance saloon knowing defeat would probably be the end of any top four ambitions. A win however would see them right back in the hunt.
Visitors Wakefield, also having an excellent season, came into the match in fourth position. Their form of late has been patchy but a super home drubbing of Leeds just a few weeks ago shows the danger they can possess.
Salford and their supporters were rocked this week with the news that Michael Dobson has played his last game for the club. The star scrum half will return to Australia at the end of the season. Unfortunately he can't play again this year due to a thumb injury, leaving coach Ian Watson with more injuries to deal with.
The action got under way with Salford scoring the opening try from Craig Kopzack after a powerful run. Todd Carney kicked the goal 6-0. Wakefield hit back after a real mess in the in-goal area, perhaps a touch of fortune about this one as Jake Miller touched down. Liam Finn converted 6-6.
Another Salford mistake, as Gareth O'Brien and Manu Vatuvei hesitated under a high kick, Trinity re-gathering and floating the ball out wide for Joe Arundel to score. Finn converted 6-12. Manu Vatuvei came close to scoring in the corner before Greg Johnson scored on the opposite side from a set scrum soaring through a huge gap. Todd Carney kicked off the touch line 12-12.
Moments later Wakefield were back in front when two Salford players went for the same ball, gifting the visitors possession. Miller grabbed his second try with Finn converting 12-18. Finn added two penalty goals in the last three minutes of the half both from very similar positions. Half time: 12-22.
Manu Vatuvei came up with a big error at the start of the second half, fumbling the ball dead. From the drop-out Trinity attacked, received a penalty and Finn obliged by taking the two. 12-24. Another Vatuvei mistake deep in his own half cost Salford more points when Tyler Randall raced through from a set scrum. Finn again added the goal 12-30. Trinity were in complete control.
Bill Tupou then scored after another thrilling attack. Finn converted off the touch line 12-36. Tyler Randall grabbed his second try on the 58th minute, Finn faultless with the boot made it nine out of nine: 12-42, with twenty minutes remaining, it certainly was a tough night for the Salford supporters.
Tyrone McCarthy collected his own clever kick in the closing stages to score. Carney converted 18-42. The scoring was rounded off by the excellent Trinity half back Jacob Miller with a drop goal. Final score: 18-43
Another very disappointing night for Salford. Ian Watson was far from happy after the game with his team's performance. Chris Chester head coach of Wakefield said his side dominated for 65 minutes of the match and that was probably a fair assessment on another night to forget for Salford.
It's going to be a tough long week for the Red Devils who take on Huddersfield Giants at home next Saturday.
Report by Paul Whiteside
devil in the detail
Photos by Gareth Lyons