Salford City Reds 34 Castleford Tigers 30 match report: Brian Noble shaken before Chase gifts Reds victory
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.
salford city stadium
Sunday 28 April 2013
Brian Noble began life as Salford's new coach with a win to lift them off the foot of Super League, but, as a coach who prides himself on his teams' defence, he saw how much he has to do.
In a game of breathless attacking rugby and some awful tackling, the Reds edged out a Castleford side for whom Rangi Chase set up all five tries, before presenting Salford with the one that won the game. It was that sort of match.
Noble, Super League's most experienced and successful coach, acknowledged that this is not going to be an easy or relaxing job. "I haven't got any nerves left. I'm done for," he said. "What a way to win a game of football."
Noble's reign started inauspiciously when Rangi Chase opened up the Salford defence too easily with a short pass that put Nathan Massey over for the first try.
The Reds' reply was equally simple. Keith Mason gave them field position with a high tackle and the former Castleford utility man, Ryan McGoldrick, slipped the scoring pass to Matty Ashurst.
It was a mediocre contest in front of a sparse crowd – except when Chase had the ball in his hands. He missed out three team-mates with a long pass to Justin Carney to put the Tigers back in front. Then his sidestepping run and pass to Jordan Tansey set up Adam Milner for the third Castleford try. It was one of those evenings when one player was playing a different game from everyone else.
Salford stayed in touch by exploiting their visitors' own defensive failings. Danny Williams took Martin Gleeson's pass to go over for one try and the French teenager, Theo Fages, put through a subtle kick for the converted Andrew Dixon try that put the City Reds ahead at half-time.
Vic Mauro extended that lead with his first try for the club, after Adam Walker had lost the ball straight after the interval.
Predictably, it was Chase that brought Cas back into it, with a perfectly timed pass for Oliver Holmes to score, but Fages sneaked over to keep Salford in the driving seat.
That man Chase continued to torment the Reds, sliding through the kick which Jamie Ellis touched down to make the margin two points once more. Yet again, it was Chase's burst and pass to Jordan Thompson that put the Tigers in front with 13 minutes of a fluctuating contest to play.
With an almost absurd twist, though, McGoldrick intercepted Chase's pass for the lead to change hands again.
Kirk Dixon did his best to snatch it back, but Salford hung on to a symbolic victory.
Salford Sneyd; Broughton, Gibson, Gleeson, Williams; McGoldrick, Fages; Griffin, Godwin, Emmitt, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild. Substitutes used Foran, Mauro, James, Walne.
Castleford Tansey; Dixon, Shenton, Thompson, Carney; Chase, Ellis; Mason, Milner, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Massey. Substitutes used Walker, Clark, Gilmour, Boyle.
Referee T Alibert (France).
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