It was another bitterly cold afternoon as the Super League season gets ever closer. The big news of the close season was the Ben Murdoch Masila transfer between the two clubs and the question on most supporters lips was would Ben play today after being named in the Wolves Squad.
The Red Devil’s were still without the injured Kris Brining (neck) and the suspended Ryan Lannon. Warrington set a really good pace early as they had much of the territorial advantage. Robert Lui came up with a superb cover tackle to keep the Salford line intact. The wolves seem to target Derrell Olpherts peppering him with kicks but he was equal to the test again showing huge potential.
Salford was very patient in the opening quarter of the game but was rewarded in the 24th minute when Lui’s crafty grubber kick hit the post only for the star man to regather and dive over the line.
Gareth O Brien added the goal 0-6. Olpherts couldn’t take a pass close to the line from centre Jake Bibby as a try chance went begging.
Josh Wood played the first 30 minutes at hooker and was excellent again. The youngster seems to have improved so much in the close season. His tough tackling and crisp accuracy of his passing being a real eye-catcher.
The wolves came close through Matty Russell as Manu Vatuvei gambled going for the interception only for centre Junior Sau to put the speedy winger in to touch with a tremendous tackle.
Four minutes from the break Ben Murdoch Masila hit a good line and his offload sent Joe Philbin over.
Young scrum half Harvey Livett levelled the scores at 6-6. The wolves seemed to up the tempo at the start of the second half and two minutes in Ben Currie sent another former Salford star Stefan Ratchford over.
Livett’s goal extended the home sides lead to 12-6. The Red Devil’s almost hit straight back when a lovely looping pass from Weller Hauraki sent Olpherts over in the corner.
Referee Chris Kendall adjudged the pass forward to deny Salford. Ryan Atkins then put breathing space between the two sides when Manu Vatuvei got stuck under a high kick.
The wolves centre scoring in the corner. Livett faultless with the boot made it 18-6. Salford continued to battle hard with all 24 players in the squad getting a runout. For Ian Watson attention now switches to Wigan Warriors on the 2nd of February.
Speaking after the match Watson was pleased with the runout and the defence for long stages of the game.
Photo credit: Salford Red Devils
Article written by: Paul Whiteside
Additional by: Simon Williams