Rugby League: McAvoy's stirring hat-trick revives Salford

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The Independent Online
Salford staged a rousing second-half comeback, scoring 23 unanswered points, for a 37-18 that prevented their opponents Halifax jumping above them into sixth place in the final Super League table.

Halifax were in control before the break and were full value for their 18-14 interval lead but had little answer to the home side.

The visitors made a fine start with a try from Martin Pearson which he converted after Martin Moana's kick enabled Chris Chester and Freddie Tuilagi to combine and send the centre over.

Salford drew level in the 10th minute when Scott Naylor took advantage of a Kevin O'Loughlin dropped ball to race 30 yards for a try.

O'Loughlin made amends with his inside pass putting Moana over after 21 minutes to make it 12-6 for Halifax.

Salford then went ahead for the first time when Paul Forber bulldozed his way over and Steve Blakeley's three first-half goals made it 14-12, only for Halifax to regain the lead in injury time when Chester finished off a move involving Pearson and Paul Rowley.

The second half belonged to Salford and especially their centre Nathan McAvoy, who scored a hat-trick.

The 20-year-old grabbed two tries courtesy of passes from centre partner Scott Naylor with a third from Mark Lee's kick.

Blakeley converted all three to make it 32-18 before Naylor put Fata Sini over and Lee's late dropped goal was the icing on the cake for the rampant Reds.

Relegated Oldham signed off from Super League with a 20-14 win against Warrington but it was too little too late at the end of a traumatic season.

Tries by Howard Hill, Paul Davidson and Ian Russell, plus four goals by Francis Maloney were enough to send the fans home satisfied, if not exactly happy at the club's future prospects.

Neither side had much to play for but Oldham showed far more commitment than in certain other games this season.

Warrington were hardly in contention in the first half when Oldham adapted far better to the driving rain and slippy conditions.

Oldham led 10-6 at half-time, Willie Swann having reduced the home lead on the stroke of half-time when he slid over in the corner.

Oldham's Ian Russell pushed through tackles by Tony Tatupu and Warren Stevens to score the home side's third try which Maloney converted to push his team into a 16-6 lead.

Warrington hit back with two tries by winger Salesi Finau but a couple of penalty goals by Maloney kept the relegated side in front.

STONES SUPER LEAGUE PREMIERSHIP Preliminary round draw: Leeds v Oldham; Salford v Paris St-Germain; Halifax v Castleford; Sheffield v Warrington. (Ties to be played on 7 Sept. Bradford, London Broncos, St Helens and Wigan receive byes into the quarter-finals 14 Sept).

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