Ken Sio hat-trick sees Salford go joint second – talking points & player ratings

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Salford went joint second in the Super League table with a 22-6 win over Warrington at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Warrington, Wigan, Hull FC and Salford are now all on 30 points in joint second.

Salford’s victory saw them win six on the spin for the first time in the top-flight since 1979.

Steve Price made seven changes to his Warrington squad that beat St Helens in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley on Saturday. Toby King, Josh Charnley, Ben Currie, Dec Patton, Chris Hill, Mike Cooper and Matt Davis were rested.

Luther Burrell, Matty Smith, Danny Walker, Lama Tasi, Harvey Livett, Ben Westwood and Luis Johnson came in for the Wolves.

Salford coach Ian Watson made two changes to his Salford outfit that beat Hull FC last time out. Gil Dudson and Tyrone McCarthy replaced Ben Nakubuwai and Ryan Lannon.

The first half was riddled with errors from both sides and a penalty goal from Salford’s Krisnan Inu was the only thing to separate the teams at half-time.

Sio scored a hat-trick in the second half, while Jake Bibby also went over for the Red Devils. Danny Walker crossed for a late consolation for the Wolves but the Red Devils ran-out 22-6 winners.

Three talking points

Salford to make the top five

It was a rusty display from Salford and Warrington in the first half – both teams conceding uncharacteristic errors and penalties.

But the second half performance from the Red Devils was simply sensational. Watson has got them playing some fine attacking rugby which is easy on the eye.

They are level on points with Warrington, Wigan and Hull now in third and the race for a spot in the top three is on – nevermind the top five. It will be a surprise if the Red Devils don’t make the five now.

Hastings shows his class

It was another stellar performance from Jackson Hastings. He ran everything for the Red Devils and when he’s in this kind of form then most teams struggle to stop him.

The Australian will surely be there or thereabouts when the Steve Prescott Man of Steel is announced in October. He’s been an absolute delight to have in Super League so far.

He has built up a good combination with Tui Lolohea in the halves at Salford, too. They bounce off each other and work well together.

Warrington energy low

Without trying to make excuses for Warrington, they looked much less sharper than what Salford did and that was probably down to playing at Wembley just five days before.

Price rung the changes for the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium which obviously disjointed the team and then the players who were on a short turnaround looked tired.

Who can blame them either? If I won the Challenge Cup final at Wembley then I’d be on the pop for a few weeks, not a few days!

Line-ups and ratings

Salford: Evalds (7); Sio (8), Welham (8), Bibby (7), Inu (7); Lolohea (7), Hastings (8); Mossop (7), Tomkins (7), Dudson (8), Jones (8), McCarthy (7), Burke (7). Subs: Lussick (7), Johnson (7), Walker (8), Flanagan (7).

Tries: Sio (3), Bibby Goals: Inu 3/5

Warrington: Ratchford (6); Lineham (6), Goodwin (6), Burrell (5), Mamo (5); Hughes (6), Smith (5); Philbin (7), Walker (7), Tasi (5), Livett (7), Murdoch-Masila (7), J Clark (5). Subs: D Clark (6), Akauola (6), Westwood (5), Johnson (5).

Tries: Walker Goals: Ratchford 1/1

Attendance: 4,879

Drew’s views

The second half performance from Salford was one of the best 40-minute displays that I have seen from any team in Super League this season. They were on fire.

The Red Devils are one of my favourite teams to watch because the rugby they play is superb. Niall Evalds is quick out the back and he is worth paying the ticket money alone.

As for Warrington, they just looked tired. They looked like they had played in a big game less than a week ago. They weren’t half as energetic as they were on Saturday and that’s understandable.

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