RUGBY LEAGUE: Salford heads ready to roll

Halifax 34 Salford 6
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The Independent Online
Halifax 34 Salford 6

SALFORD'S WOEFUL performance had the imminent departure of someone written all over it, but their coach, Andy Gregory, insists that it will not be him.

For the second week in succession, the Reds were outplayed and outfought by a side they were well capable of surprising last season. For 40 minutes, they were dreadful and could only be thankful that, like Wigan last Sunday, third placed Halifax lost much of their urgency and direction after the break.

Gregory took little consolation from that. "The game was gone," he said, going to lambaste the players who had waved it goodbye.

"There are certain players who don't want to play for this club. There are players who came for a bus ride to Halifax, not in the right frame of mind to play in Super League," he said.

Rumours have buzzed around Salford for weeks that Gregory's job is on the line and he has a meeting with his chairman, John Wilkinson, tomorrow. But that, he said, is to discuss replacing some of his under achievers with new faces not his own position.

Salford looked a beaten side from the moment they trotted out at The Shay and duly fell behind after 10 minutes when Gary Mercer's quick tap penalty saw David Bouveng score on the right.

The visitors actually enjoyed a sustained spell of possession after that, but fell apart completely as soon as they came under pressure again. First Jamie Bloem beat some weak tackling to score in one corner, then, after David Bradbury had knocked on from the restart, Salford conceded an equally soft try to Daio Powell on the opposite side.

Des Clark's effort, from another tap penalty after Paul Forber had been sin-binned for a late challenge, was just as facile and, had it not been for the loss of Gavin Clinch at half time and a general feeling that they had done enough, Halifax would surely have completed a half century after the break.

As it was, John Bentley came back from injury to score a neat wing man's try with his first touch and Martin Moana's break produced the other touchdown for Paul Rowley.

A late burst of flashy handling yielded a consolation try for Nathan McAvoy, but if Gregory is to be believed that will not be enough to save several jobs.

Halifax: Pearson, Bloem, Gibson, Bouveng, Powell, Chester, Clinch, Harrison, Rowley, Skerrett, Mercer, Clark, Moana. Substitutes used: Bentley, Gillespie, Baldwin, Marshall.

Salford: Broadbent, Russell, Martin, McAvoy, Rogers, Blakeley, White, Platt, Alker, Bradbury, Forber, J. Faimalo, Hulme. Substitutes used: Lee, Edwards, Eccles, Southern.

Referee: R. Smith (Castleford).

n Jon Roper, the Great Britain tour centre, was carried off with a suspected broken ankle in the 52nd minute of Warrington Wolves' 18-18 draw against Sheffield Eagles yesterday. Chris Rudd took over the goal-kicking for Warrington and landed two touchline goals, but Marcus Vassilakopoulos missed a late conversion attempt which would have given the Eagles victory.

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