Rugby League: McAvoy lifts Salford

Salford 26 Warrington 14
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The Independent Online
Salford returned successfully to domestic business as Warrington chalked up a new and unwanted club record with their ninth successive defeat in all competitions.

Much will depend over the next few weeks on which sides recover best from the various pummellings they have taken in the World Club Championship and it was Salford last night who showed the greater ability to bounce back.

If Salford were weary after their long journey back from Australia this week, it did not show in the early stages, especially when Nathan McAvoy took a long pass from Mark Lee and managed to force his way over the try line. Steve Blakeley, who had already kicked a penalty, put over the conversion via a post.

Warrington would have been in deeper trouble had it not been for a try- saving cover tackle on Phil Coussons by Lee Briers, but it was they who looked the jet-lagged side.

Although there were flashes of the brighter attacking play they showed in their defeat by Auckland on Monday, Warrington always contrived to lose the ball at crucial moments and they made the task harder for themselves when Falesi Finau was sin-binned for holding down in the tackle.

Just before Finau came to the end of his 10-minute exile, a clever dummy from Paul Forber sent McAvoy over for his second, Blakely this time adding the goal from the touchline.

Warrington needed to start the second half with a score to convince themselves that they could still retrieve the situation. They got it when, after concerted pressure, Briers kicked to the wing, picked out Nigel Vagana to cut cleanly and touch down.

Warrington should have been a man short permanently when Kelly Shelford was merely placed on report for a spear tackle on Forber.

Instead, they came right back into contention when Paul Sculthorpe launched a high kick, Gary Broadbent and Coussons got in each other's way and Mark Forster swooped on the lose ball for a try which was improved by Briers.

Coussons soon made amends, taking Daren Rogers pass after Richard Henare had dropped the ball to put Salford back in command. They sewed it up 11 minutes from time when, after Rogers had been held up over the line, McAvoy stood in the tackle to send in Fata Sini.

Blakeley completed a tally of five goals from as many attempts and Sculthorpe's try came too late to affect the outcome.

Salford: Broadbent, Sini, Rogers, McAvoy, Coussons, Blakeley, Lee, Platt, Edwards, Eccles, Savelio, Faimalo, Burgess. Substitutes used: Martin, Watson, Forber, Southern.

Warrington: Penny, Roper, Finau, Vagana, Forster, Shelford, Briers, Mann, Swann, Stevens, Hulme, Tatupu, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Henare, Wainwright, Geritas, Thorniley.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).