Wakefield 18 Salford 36: Drinks all round as Salford quench thirst for victory

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The Independent Online

Salford pulled out of their recent slump in form as they rediscovered the energy that made them the most improved side in Super League in the early stages of the season.

In hot, draining conditions that were recognised by the innovation of drinks breaks in each half, it was the Reds who had the enthusiasm to make the extra effort required.

With their forwards rolling their sleeves up, players like Luke Robinson and Karl Fitzpatrick were able to show their sparkle once more, as the visitors took an early command they were never to lose.

Robinson did superbly to get a perfect pass to Ian Sibbit for the first try after only two minutes and he scored the second himself from Andrew Dunemann's defence-drawing cross-field run.

Whenever Wakefield turned over possession or conceded a penalty, they were punished and that was the case again after 24 minutes when Andrew Brocklehurst forced his way over in the corner.

After Paul Highton had claimed the fourth Salford try, Wakefield, who on this form could be the best chance Wigan have of avoiding relegation, finally got on the board through Ryan Atkins.

"That first half was our worst 40 minutes of the season," said the Wakefield coach, Tony Smith. "Some players need to take a look at themselves, because it just wasn't acceptable."

The half ended with Salford scoring again, a perfect training ground move from Robinson to Fitzpatrick, before Wakefield came out strongly after the break to get one back through Monty Betham.

Briefly, they threatened to make a game of it, but that was snuffed out when Luke Adamson set up a try with his first touch of the ball as a first-team player, breaking the line and releasing Fitzpatrick.

Jamie Rooney capitalised on a rare moment of lucidity from the Wildcats, but Stephen Myler's penalty completed a convincing victory - the first in 13 visits for Karl Harrison's side.

"It's the first time I've felt confident coming over here for quite a time," he said. "We've done quite a lot of soul searching this week and gone back to basics."

Those basics could be enough to keep Salford in a play-off position, while for Wakefield, with a number of difficult away games to come, it could be a nervous end to the season - even with Wigan still six points behind them.

Wakefield: Halpenny; White, Atkins, Demetriou, Tadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Watene, March, Griffin, Solomona, Catic, Betham. Substitutes used: MacGillivray, Korkidas, Applegarth, Saxton.

Salford: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Langi; Dunemann, Robinson; Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Brocklehurst, Sibbit, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Myler, Haggerty, Highton, Adamson.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

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