Salford Red Devils won a passionate encounter with Wigan Warriors 24-18 today in front of 6,561 spectators at the AJ Bell Stadium to leapfrog their opponents and go third in the Super League table.
Salford’s Weller Hauraki and Wigan’s John Bateman had a running battle during the game and both were sinbinned after 65 minutes before both being shown a red card after they returned to the field.
When Wigan went in for the first try through Larne Patrick after seven minutes, with Ryan Hampshire converting, few could have expected the drama that was about to unfold. And that impression was reinforced when Hampshire kicked a penalty after 23 minutes when Hauraki was caught offside.
The game came to life in the 28th minute, when Niall Evalds, in at fullback for the injured Kevin Locke went over from a smart Rangi Chase pass, and Josh Griffin kicked the conversion to narrow the margin to two points.
And the home fans erupted three minutes before the break, when Josh Griffin made a break and found Michael Dobson in support for the touchdown, with Griffin adding the goal to make it 12-8 at the interval.
With tension mounting, and the next try crucial, it was the Red Devils who scored it through Ben Jones-Bishop, who showed tremendous pace to evade the Wigan defence. Griffin’s conversion gave Salford a ten-point lead. But tensions continued to rise, and it was no surprise when the game boiled over and Hauraki and Bateman were sinbinned.
And when Ryan Hampshire touched down and converted his own try after 69 minutes, Salford supporters were biting their fingernails.
But their hero was Evalds, who scored his second try on 77 minutes, to general acclamation from the home fans, with Griffin’s conversion settling the result, but not before Hauraki and Bateman had the set-to that saw them dismissed, while Joe Burgess scored a late consolation try for Wigan.