Brian Noble fails to halt Salford's free fall
Salford 10 Wakefield 46
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Monday 10 June 2013
When Salford conceded 68 points at Warrington last weekend, their ambitious owner, Marwan Koukash, promised the club's supporters that it would not happen again. It did not on Monday night, but if a more imposing team had kept their foot on the pedal, it might have been a close-run thing.
Wakefield recorded their biggest win of the season but the reality was they had little to beat. Dr Koukash's money and Brian Noble's know-how have not proved to be a formula for a rapid change in Salford's fortunes.
This week also saw them lose a second chief executive this season – Ed Farish is departing after just a few months – and throw in the uncertainty many players must feel about their future and it is small wonder the instability at the club should be reflected on the field, with early mistakes to invite Wakefield into the game.
They survived that and then cashed in on a Wildcats error, when Paul Sykes kicked straight into touch. One thing Salford can sometimes do is play some decent attacking rugby and they did just that to put Danny Williams over in the corner.
It was a short-lived lead as they quickly conceded two penalties and a hole in their defensive line allowed Paul Aiton through for the equaliser, Lee Smith adding the goal. More woeful tackling allowed Danny Kirmond to break through, as Salford stood shrugging. Dean Collis was next to take advantage of a sorry lack of commitment in defence, after Ali Lauitiiti forced a goal-line drop out with a clever kick.
Six minutes before half-time, a craftily disguised kick from Tim Smith froze the Salford defence for Richie Mathers to stroll through and touch down. There was still time for Sykes to register the 100th try of his career, after lovely lead-up work by Kyle Amor and Mathers, and Salford were jeered off by a vocal minority of their disillusioned fans. Any comments from them looked mild in comparison with what Noble was dishing out to his troops at half-time. "We looked to lack enthusiasm," said Noble. "There was very little for us to shout about and I can understand the disappointment of people."
After the break Oliver Wilkes trundled over for Wakefield and there was a little consolation in Jodie Broughton's long-range interception for the second Salford try. Ben Cockayne finished a sweeping Wakefield counter-attack to restore normality, before Peter Fox became their eighth different try-scorer.
Salford Gaskell; D Williams, Gleeson, Gibson, Broughton; McGoldrick, Fages; Griffin, Foran, McPherson, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild. Substitutes used A Walne, Mauro, Emmitt, Godwin.
Wakefield Mathers; Fox, Collis, L Smith, Cockayne; Sykes, T Smith; Poore, Aiton, Wilkes, Walshaw, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes used Amor, Mariano, Lauitiiti, Wildie.
Referee R Hicks (Oldham).
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