Unhappy Paul Rowley explains defeat to Wigan Warriors

Salford Red Devils have been battling the likes of Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants for play-off places this year.

However, their chances of making the top six as they did in 2022 where hurt on Friday night as they came up short against Wigan Warriors.

It was a day that saw Wigan move top with a comfortable win over the Red Devils.

Speaking after the game, Salford boss Paul Rowley explained what went wrong:

“I think it started when we went in touch right at the beginning, there was a lot of unforced errors from us. We weren’t clinical enough with the ball, took a lot of energy out of us with defence.

“When opportunities did arise. I don’t think we got excited enough at key moments. We looked like a tired team at times, so lacking a little bit of energy, lacking a lot of execution and discipline with the ball. And yeah, well, it’s quite rusty and far from polished as a team. So, really disappointed actually.”

The Jai Field try on half time was particularly important:

“Well I coming down from the box so I didn’t even see it so it took the wind out of my sails at that point. It probably summed up our night, if you like. Last play of the half and we’ve got no bodies in the picture.

“Like I said before, with our boys, when opportunities arose, we should be excited, we should be there. They’re the opposite. Wigan are a good team, they don’t need our helping hands, and we gave them too much.

“They didn’t have to earn a lot. They’re quite capable of earning it, we know that. But I don’t think they needed to earn much tonight. I thought we were giving far too much possession and too much space and probably stood off them quite a bit, so you question the belief in that point from our boys as well, which is a little bit disappointing.”

The Cherry and Whites were gifted a great chance to notch the first points if the evening. A penalty and a set restart gave them two sets within 10 meters of Salford’s line, but a pass from Harry Smith couldn’t find Abbas Miski and the chance went amiss.

A Bevan French tackle on Chris Atkin gifts the visitors the perfect chance to take the lead; and with no Marc Sneyd on the pitch, Ryan Brierley stepped up to put the first points on the board.

A penalty on halfway gave Wigan the perfect chance to get into a scoring position, and they made this count through Liam Farrell. The second-rower broke through a slight gap in the Salford line, and he danced around two other defenders to dive over the line for the first try of the night.

A sloppy error costs the Red Devils a great chance to regain the lead. Danny Addy put in a great carry to take his side within a meter of the Warriors line, but there was nobody at dummy half for the visitors and Wigan jumped on the loose ball.

Another penalty in front of the sticks gives Ryan Brierley a chance to pull his side level, and he duly slotted the kick.

The Lebanese international has been in fine try scoring form this season, and he grabbed another one to give his side the lead again. A flowing move through the hands found the ball in the in-form wingers hands and he dived over in the corner for the Warriors second try of the night.

A fantastic set from the Warriors earns its reward as Jake Wardle crashed over following a bullet pass from Jai Field. Great offloading skills kept the play alive, and they eventually worked it down to the line for Wardle to grab a try on the last tackle.

On the stroke of half-time, Jai Field pulls off a spectacular solo try. A hit and hope kick from Marc Sneyd falls into the hands of Field, and he ran down the pitch to score his sides forth try.

The opening two minutes of the second half provided plenty of entertainment. A fantastic break from Chris Atkin got the Red Devils close to the Wigan line, and then a loose pass fell into Liam Marshall’s hands and he in turn ran 50 meters up the pitch and nearly escaped the chasing defenders.

With Salford down to 12 men, Wigan capitalised as Toby King crossed the whitewash. Field skipped around the defence, and linked up with partner in crime Bevan French, who threw a beautiful out the back offload to King and the centre walked in to score.

A lovely flowing move from the visitors found the ball in Ken Sio’s hands, and the Samoan international crossed out wide; but it was too little too late for Salford at this point.