RUGBY LEAGUE: Moran steps into Wigan breach

Wigan 15 Salford 4
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The Independent Online
WIGAN have plenty of time to adjust to the loss of captain Andy Farrell, whose move to rugby union is likely to be confirmed next week. The injured Farrell was nowhere to be seen on a miserably wet night at the JJB Stadium as his side earned a hard-fought victory.

The first reaction of many Wigan fans is one of sad resignation, though some feel it is a good business deal if Wigan can realise a transfer fee and free up considerable revenue from his sale.

Farrell's absence threw greater responsibility on the shoulder's of Wigan's new scrum-half Dennis Moran, signed from London during the winter. He began in the ideal way, collecting Danny Sculthorpe's off-load and scampering over from 20 metres for a seventh-minute converted try.

But despite dominating large portions of the first half in fast deteriorating conditions, Wigan failed to build on that breakthrough and went in only 6-0 ahead at the interval.

Salford defended doggedly and with impressive resolution, notably in one intense 10-minute spell of Wigan pressure when they conceded three goal-line drop-outs.

However, Luke Robinson, their scrum-half signed from Wigan, got few attacking platforms to show his skills, though he went closest when hauled down by the alert Sean O'Loughlin inches from the line midway through the first half.

Wigan continued to pound the Salford line after the resumption but had only an O'Loughlin drop goal to show for their dominance. The visitors, growing in confidence, got back to within three points when their captain, Malcolm Alker, drove over for a try just before the hour.

Wigan's unbeaten home record, stretching back to July 2003, was now under threat, but the home anxiety was quelled when David Allen went in for his first senior try from Terry Newton's short pass with eight minutes remaining.

Wigan: Radlinski; Dallas, Wild, Vaealiki, Aspinwall; Orr, Moran; Seusue, Newton, Sculthorpe, Hock, Tickle, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Brown, Godwin, Hansen, Allen.

Salford: Fitzpatrick; Stewart, Littler, McAvoy, Hodgson; Beverley, Robinson; Highton, Alker, Rutgerson, Sibbit, Jonkers, Charles. Substitutes used: Haggerty, McGuiness, Brocklehurst, Coley.

Referee: A Klein (London).