Warrington 36-20 Salford: Five takeaways as Wire stun with second half comeback

Josh McAllister
George Williams, Warrington. PA

Warrington came from behind to claim a 36-20 victory over Salford at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to maintain their 100% record to the start of the 2023 Super League season. 

The home side had found themselves 20-6 down at the break, with the Red Devils in control. However, the turning point came when Salford’s Ryan Brierley was sent to the sin-bin in the 59th minute, which saw the home side run in three tries as the full-back was forced to watch on.

Here are our five takeaways…

Warrington fight back

Warrington’s defence had plenty of holes in the first half, with almost an uncountable amount of breaks from the Red Devils through the middle. And Marc Sneyd’s try topped the lot, finding a gap to go over close to the line and extend his side’s lead to 18-6 at the time.

It was, almost, a first-half performance of the 2022 Warrington.

However, they turned things around in the second half, fighting back with five second-half tries and keeping their opposition scoreless.

Mixed bag for Williams

It was a mixed performance for George Williams, arguably overdoing it in the first half and giving away the intercept try that led to Ryan Brierley’s four-pointer.

However, like his side, he turned that around in the second half and ultimately played a big part in his side’s victory, with three try assists and crossing himself on the night.

He also received the man of the match award inside the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Dupree and Partington impress

Salford duo Tyler Dupree and Oliver Partington impressed again for Salford. Dupree’s first stint lasted 32 minutes and was a threat in the middle, making breaks for fun. Although, he gave away a possible eight-point try for sliding in on try-scorer Josh Thewlis.

Partington has impressed early on in his Salford career and he was a machine once again in the middle. He played a solid 52 minutes before his first stint on the bench.

The pair also got the approval of 2019 Man of Steel winner and former Salford star Jackson Hastings, watching on from Australia.

Although the pair were limited in the second half following Warrington’s fight back.

Ratchford’s milestone

Stefan Ratchford kicked his 500th Super League goal in the win with his fourth conversion on the night. He kicked a total of five in the victory.

Sam Kasiano also made his 250th career appearance, while team-mate Josh Drinkwater made his 150th Super League appearance.

Rare double eight-point try

There wasn’t just one, but two eight-point penalty tries awarded to Warrington on the night. Ratchford missed with his first attempt of adding an extra four, but slotted both goals on offer the second time around.

A potential case of Salford losing their cool late on. Dupree at fault for the first, and captain Kallum Watkins for the second.

We’re not sure that’s ever happened before. One to check in the record books.

How it happened

    • 8′ George Williams started the game lively and assisted the game’s first, putting it on the boot for Ben Currie to ground the ball. Stefan Ratchford converting. (6-0)
    • 12′ It didn’t take long for Salford to hit back, with Joe Burgess breaking out-wide and feeding the ball back on the inside to loanee Ellis Longstaff on his debut, playing against his parent club. Marc Sneyd adding the extras. (6-6)
    • 21′ Warrington looked the most dangerous but an interception by Ken Sio stopped any danger and he found a breaking Ryan Brierley to run 60 metres and score. Sneyd converts. (6-12)
    • 27′ It’s a bit too easy as Marc Sneyd finds a gap on Warrington’s line and he crashes over to extend the lead. He converts his own try. (6-18)
    • 32′ Sneyd extends the lead from the boot with a penalty. (6-20)
    • HT: Warrington 6-20 Salford
    • 42′ The home side hit back early to set up an entertaining second half as Matty Ashton finishes in the corner in style. Ratchford hits the post with the conversion. (10-20)
    • 54′ Sneyd misses with a chance to add two more with a penalty.
    • 57′ Salford full-back Ryan Brierley is sent to the sin-bin for holding down at the play the ball.
    • 59′ Thomas Mikaele instantly scores under the sticks, converted by Ratchford. (16-20)
    • 65′ Josh Thewlis levels the scores, collecting a kick to the corner by Williams. And the hosts were awarded an possibly eight-point try, although Ratchford could only convert one. (22-20)
    • 69′ Williams does it all himself to score on the left to extend his side’s lead. Ratchford converting for his 500th Super League goal.
    • 76′ Matt Dufty seals the win in the dying minutes of the game. Another eight-point try, this time both converted by Ratchford.
    • FT: Warrington 36-20 Salford

    How they lined up

    Warrington: Dufty, Thewlis, Minikin, Ratchford, Ashton, Williams, Drinkwater, Mikaele, Clark, Vaughan, Currie, Mata’utia, Harrison. Bench: Kasiano, Walker, Bullock, Whitehead.

    Tries: Currie, Ashton, Mikaele, Thewlis, Williams, Dufty. Goals: Ratchford 6/8

    Salford: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Dupree, Watkins, Longstaff, Partington. Bench: Sidlow, Vuniyayawa, Atkin Wright.

    Tries: Longstaff, Brierley, Sneyd. Goals: Sneyd 4/5

    Attendance: 9,616

    What they said

    Following the defeat, Salford boss Paul Rowley said: I’m proud of the effort.

    “I feel really sorry for the players. I felt they deserved more out of the game. We completed high in both halves, in particular the first half when we had an equal share of possession.

    “I thought we showed how potent we are as an attacking team, 90 odd percent completion and made three clean breaks in the first four minutes and made about 10 overall in the first half

    “The second half, the landslide came. Set restart, penalty, set restart, penalty, et cetera.

    “Territory, weight of possession. They’re a quality team and it all contributed to too much pressure defensively and then at the end it can look a little bit ugly. Sheer weight of possession and numbers always take their toll on you.

    “I’ve got nothing bad to say about our group. Obviously they’ll be bits that we’re not happy with and bits we’ll improve on, but that’s what the early games do for us.

    “We’ve got a good group who will crack on and work hard.”

    Warrington boss Daryl Powell commented: “I thought the boys reacted in a really positive way. There was a real control and composure about the way we played in the second half.

    “I thought at the end of the first, we were just chasing points which led to the intercept try and a couple of errors.”

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