Salford Red Devils 24-16 Toronto Wolfpack: Dan Sarginson and Niall Evalds deny newcomers first Super League win
Last Updated: 08/02/20 5:28pm
Late tries from Dan Sarginson and Niall Evalds left Toronto Wolfpack still looking for their first win in Super League following a 24-16 defeat away to Salford Red Devils.
The Canadian outfit were beaten by Castleford Tigers in Round 1 of their debut season and although they again took the lead in this match at the AJ Bell Stadium through Gary Wheeler, last year's Grand Final runners-up ultimately proved too strong.
Toronto handed marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams his first start, having played off the interchange bench against Castleford, while new man Connor Jones made his Super League debut for the Red Devils at hooker.
But Williams and the promoted side were unable to secure their maiden victory in the top flight, despite an improved performance.
Salford were winning the yardage battle early on, but Toronto almost scored first because of a Rhys Williams error as he spilled Josh McCrone's bomb. However, centre Sarginson was there to stop last week's try-scorer Liam Kay going over in the corner.
In the sixth minute the Red Devils forced a goal-line drop-out off the boot of another of their off-season recruits, Kevin Brown, but a stray offload from Tyrone McCarthy in the next set coughed up possession.
Joe Mellor was forced off for Toronto in the 16th minute for a head injury assessment after a strong tackle and replacement Wheeler came on to score with his first touch of the ball, breaking through the defence off Ricky Leutele's pass to score an unconverted try.
However, Salford hit back in the 26th minute through Brown when Tui Lolohea's grubber was accidentally bounced towards his halves partner, who dived on it. Lolohea then converted it to give the home team the lead.
The Red Devils were lifted and surged forward in search of another try, but tempers flared four minutes from half-time after Wheeler collided with Kris Welham as they chased a kick. Welham and Hakim Miloudi were both sin-binned following a fracas.
Brown got over the line soon after for a what he thought was his second try, but it was ruled out for a knock-on in the build-up to leave the match evenly poised at half-time with the home side 6-4 in front.
Early in the second half Pauli Pauli was held up over the try-line, but Salford were not to be denied and in the 46th minute Lolohea dotted down and converted after Sarginson went on a mazy run and found the half-back in support.
Toronto needed to be the next side to score but it was not to be as Williams found himself in space 60 metres out from the kick-off and raced away through some weak defence for a sensational solo try which went unconverted.
Five minutes later, the Wolfpack responded through Wheeler as he grabbed his second of the afternoon on the back of Miloudi's grubber kick and subsequently added the extras himself to cut the lead to six points.
Brian McDermott's men searched for an equalising score and it dramatically came in the 70th minute when Brad Singleton steamed over and Wallace nailed the conversion to tie it up at 16-16.
But then Sarginson crossed to restore the hosts' lead and Evalds put the seal on the win in the final seven minutes to get the Red Devils off the mark in 2020.