Salford Red Devils 16-26 Wigan Warriors

Gildart injury


Champions Wigan got their title defence of to a strong start with a 26-16 win away at the AJ Bell Stadium over the Salford Red Devils. The Warriors raced into a 26-0 lead at the break before a resurgent Salford side hit back in the second half.

Salford gave a starting birth to debutant and former Warrior Lee Mossop, while other new recruit Kriss Brining and the returning Lama Tasi occupied the bench. Also in the starting 13 were last season’s million pound game heroes Greg Johnson and Gareth O’Brien. Weller Hauraki and Ben Murdoch-Masila missed out through injury while Todd Carney was unavailable due to issues acquiring a visa.

Wigan also included a raft of new and returning figures, with Morgan Escare deputising for the injured Sam Tomkins, and second debuts for Tommy Leuluai and Joe Burgess. Tony Clubb also returned after suffering a neck injury in May last season.

A knock on by Robert Lui near the Wigan line allowed Burgess a 50 metre break, leading to an opening Warriors try. A Sean O’Loughlin kick to the corner produced a Burgess knock back for Oliver Gildart to grab the score after 4 mins.

The Red Devils wasted precious possession on the Wigan line and on 13 mins, another kick towards the corner by George Williams found Burgess again, who re-opened his Wigan account with a try. Escare converted to put the Warriors 10-0 ahead.

Wigan increased their lead to 14 with a superb passage of play on 25 mins. Gildart made a break, passing to the supporting Liam Farrell, who found Gildart again to glide over in the corner for his second.

On the half-hour mark, Williams was able to waltz his way over for a try following a strong run from Clubb, with Escare’s conversion pushing the game further from Salford’s grasp. The Red Devils luck looked to be out with Justin Carney missing two chances after dropping the ball with the line begging after a bone-rattler of a tackle from Leuluai, and not being able to take a looping pass a few minutes later.

The Warriors ended the half with a flourish with Joel Tomkins taking a pass from Leuluai to crash over, with the sides leaving the field at half time at 26-0 to the visitors.

Salford started the second half brightly, with former York City Knight Kriss Brining catching the Wigan defence napping and darting over from dummy half on 48 mins. O’Brien’s conversion made the score 26-6.

After a lively first half, the second appeared scrappy with both sides coming up with errors and few clear chances, but Salford looked most likely of the two to score, with a 50 metre Niall Evalds break being chased down by Burgess and Dobson being held up over the Wigan line.

It was Salford that broke the stalemate on 71 mins as Junior Sa’u powered his way over from close range. O’Brien missed the extras, with the scores at 26-10 to the away side.

The home side scored again 5 mins later after a kick was spilled on the Warriors line, with Dobson taking advantage and diving over to make it 26-16.

A much improved second half performance by the Red Devils brought respectability back into the score line, however the home side left themselves with a mountain to climb after conceding 5 tries in the opening half.

Written by Nathan Okell.

Salford Red Devils

# Player Position Tries Goals Drop Goals Yellow Red Star Man
1Gareth O’BrienFull Back020000
2Justin CarneyWing000000
3Josh JonesSecond Row000000
4Junior Sa’u 16Centre100000
5Niall EvaldsCentre000000
6Robert Lui 20Stand Off000000
7Michael DobsonScrum Half100000
8Craig Kopczak 14Prop000000
10George GriffinSecond Row000000
13Mark FlanaganLoose Forward000000
14Lama Tasi 8Interchange000000
16Olsi Krasniqi 4Interchange000000
17Adam Walne 23Interchange000000
19Josh WoodHooker000000
20Kriss Brining 6Interchange100000
21Greg JohnsonWing000000
23Lee Mossop 17Prop000000
 Total 320000

Wigan Warriors

# Player Position Tries Goals Drop Goals Yellow Red Star Man
3Anthony GellingCentre000000
4Oliver GildartCentre200001
5Joe BurgessWing100000
6George WilliamsStand Off100000
7Thomas LeuluaiScrum Half000000
8Frank-Paul Nu’uausala 15Prop000000
10Ben Flower 19Prop000000
11Joel Tomkins 13Interchange100000
12Liam FarrellSecond Row000000
13Sean O’Loughlin 11Loose Forward000000
15Tony Clubb 8Interchange000000
16Sam PowellHooker000000
17Taulima Tautai 20Interchange000000
19Ryan Sutton 10Interchange000000
20Willie Isa 17Second Row000000
21Lewis TierneyWing000000
22Morgan EscareFull Back030000
 Total 530001

Match Details

Date Time League Season Match Day
February 11, 2017 1:15 pm Super League 2017 Saturday


Team1st half2nd halfFinal score
Salford Red Devils01616
Wigan Warriors26026