Widnes Claim Hard Fought Win Over Salford

The opening exchanges were an arm wrestle from the word go, Salford enjoying the majority of metres made, using simple plays with big men to grind out metres, Widnes seemed to have the gameplay set early, peppering Super League debutant Derrell Olpherts with high kicks.

Widnes would receive a dubious penalty to relieve pressure after Hanbury was caught on the back of the head by Hauraki as he was rising from the deck, Widnes building on the territory and once more sending the kick high and towards Olpherts who would return the kick with ease making 15 metres on top.

Krisnan Inu gave away a penalty 30 metres from the Vikings line, the penalty taking them to the 10 metre line, Salford throwing big man after big man at the line, the Vikings defence refusing to bow to the pressure. Inu would then throw a loose offload and Mark Flanagan would take advantage and steal the ball, on the final tackle Salford would send it through the hands.

Olpherts squeezing into the corner and giving the video referee a real head scratcher, the decision sent up as a try but a question mark as to whether there was a boot on the line. The video ref deciding there was enough evidence to deny the winger a debut try. Salford wouldn't have to wait long for the opener, just 2 minutes later Robert Lui would hoist a swirling high kick, Hanbury allowing it to bounce and Kopczak would take advantage of the situation and race over from 10 metres out, Lui extending the lead to 6 points after 19 minutes.

Widnes giving away yet another penalty to relieve the pressure on Salford coming off their own line, piggybacking them up to the halfway line, Salford unrelentingly besieging the Widnes defence. Salford milked a penalty after Chris Houston was caught in the line and Logan Tomkins appeared to throw the ball into him, a cheap but effective play from the Salford hooker.

Widnes would make their first trip to the Salford 20 metre line, Tomkins giving away a penalty for a high shot on Chapelhow, giving Widnes a try scoring opportunity as Chapelhow would be held no more than an inch short of the Salford line, however, Widnes would only need one more play to score as an organised line play would put Chris Dean through a hole to stretch out and put down, Inu adding the extras to level the scores after 28 minutes.

Hanbury would once more find himself under the high ball, Robert Lui firing a high shallow kick skyward, the Widnes fullback losing the ball and giving Salford another crack at the line. Lama Tasi would find himself on the receiving end of a second go from Chris Dean, Salford taking the 2 points on offer from 10 metres in front, Robert Lui converting with ease, Salford leading 8-6 with 32 minutes gone.

Robert Lui had clearly picked a target for his kicks, once more firing the ball into Rhys Hanbury's area, once more Hanbury unable to gather and the ball travelling forward off him and into another Widnes man forcing a penalty for offside, Lui would once more take the easy points on offer, taking Salford out to a 10-6 lead. From the restart Olpherts unable to gather and the ball bouncing out and giving Widnes possession with a minute left to play of the half, Widnes hammering the Salford line but unable to come away with points.

Salford started the second half the way they played most of the first, on the front font and charging down field, only denied a try with their first attack after some scrambling goal lone defence. Lama Tasi would make contact with the head with his shoulder after just 2 minutes of the second half, resulting in him going to the sin bin, Chapelhow forced off the field for a HIA, Widnes would squander the possession and throw a pass to touch, their 5th handling error in 43 minutes.

Widnes would come up with a huge play, Olpherts on the receiving end of a 1 on 1 strip that would be judged as a penalty to the Vikings taking them to Salford's 10 metre line, after 4 tackles, Krisnan Inu would be on the end of a line move, Inu putting his head down and forcing his way over. The centre adding from the sideline to give Widnes the lead for the first time in the game after 50 minutes.

On the 57th minute Weller Hauraki would be the grateful recipient of a Jake Bibby bat-back from a Robert Lui kick to the corner, Hauraki muscling his way between two defenders from close range to get the ball down, Lui skewing the kick across the front of the posts to leave the score at 14-12 to Salford. Widnes' discipline was letting them down time and time again, this time a high shot on Greg Johnson 10 metres from his own line once more relieving pressure.

Salford turning the field position into another set of six, forcing a goal line drop out from a smart kick, Widnes attempting a short drop out but the ball not going 10 metres resulting in an easy 2 points for Robert Lui to take Salford out to a 16-12 lead over the Vikings with 15 minutes left to play. Lama Tasi would once more make contact with the head, many players and fans calling for him to be given his marching orders, the referee shrugging the calls off and giving the penalty. Widnes once more failing to turn possession into points close to the line and instead turning the ball over on the 10 metre line.

Olpherts would give away a silly penalty at such a crucial point in the game, shepherding Charly Runcimann off a kick, Widnes only needing one play to get Greg Burke over the stripe from 10 metres out and next to the posts, Inu pushing the Vikings ahead by 2 points from the conversion with less than 10 minutes to play setting the score at 18-16.

Niall Evalds would be trapped in goal after a smart Craven kick would drop just short of the in goal area, Widnes starting to really force Salford to dig deep to find a win. Widnes would force yet another repeat set from drop out with another intelligent kick. Aaron Heremaia looked like he had won the game for the Vikings, Craven putting a grubber through which was fumbled, the sharp hooker the quickest to react and putting the ball down, Inu keeping his 100% record from the boot to give Widnes a 24-16 lead.


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