Super League: Warrington Wolves stun Salford Red Devils with second-half comeback to win 36-20
The Red Devils led 20-6 at half-time, but the Wolves produced a dramatic turnaround after the break to secure their third win in as many games in the 2023 Betfred Super League season; Salford were not helped by Ryan Brierley's yellow card and conceding two eight-point tries
Last Updated: 02/03/23 11:49pm
A stunning second-half comeback saw Warrington Wolves make it three wins from three in the Betfred Super League as they overcame Salford Red Devils 36-20 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Thursday night.
The Wolves went ahead through Ben Currie's try, but the Red Devils hit back with 20 unanswered points through tries from on-loan debutant Ellis Longstaff against his parent club, Ryan Brierley and Marc Sneyd, who converted all three and slotted over a penalty.
Trailing 20-6 at half-time, the hosts hit back just after the break as Matty Ashton dived over for a spectacular one-handed finish, sparking a turnaround in fortunes which continued after Salford full-back Brierley was sent to the sin-bin.
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Tries from Thomas Mikaele, Josh Thewlis, George Williams and Matt Dufty - two of which were deemed to be eight-point tries for foul play in the act of scoring by Salford - saw Warrington surge back in front and complete the fightback.
Story of the game
The Red Devils started the game much the brighter and it was very much against the run of play that the Wolves took the lead when Currie touched down a Williams kick and Ratchford converted.
But the rest of the half belonged to Salford as they scored 20 unanswered points with some enterprising play.
A Joe Burgess break was finished off by Longstaff and then as the Wolves threatened, Ken Sio intercepted a Williams pass and his quick thinking allowed full-back Brierley to race 90 metres for a spectacular try.
Warrington made just one change from the 17 that defeated Huddersfield as Tom Whitehead came into the side for Adam Holroyd.
Salford made two alterations from the side that were beaten by Hull Kingston Rovers as Ellis Longstaff and Adam Sidlow replaced Sam Stone and Alex Gerrard.
Sneyd then got in on the act with Salford's third try and with the half-back on target with all three conversions and a penalty, the Red Devils were good value for their 14-point half-time advantage.
However, the ruthless Wolves fought back in the second half as they set the early pace at the top of the Super League table.
A spectacular finish two minutes after the restart from winger Ashton started the comeback before Brierley was sin-binned after a series of ruck infringements by the visitors.
The Wolves claimed three tries while he was off the pitch, starting when forward Mikaele crashed over from close range and then Thewlis snaffled a kick from England international Williams to level the match at 20-20.
Warrington Wolves 36-20 Salford Red Devils score summary
Warrington Wolves: Tries - Ben Currie, Matty Ashton, Thomas Mikaele, Josh Thewlis, George Williams, Matt Dufty; Goals - Stefan Ratchford (6).
Salford Red Devils: Tries - Ellis Longstaff, Ryan Brierley, Marc Sneyd; Goals: Marc Sneyd (4).
Video referee Liam Moore then adjudicated the winger was fouled by Tyler Dupree while scoring, allowing Stefan Ratchford two shots at goal but he only successfully kicked one after his first effort hit the posts.
Williams followed that up by scoring a fine solo try as he took a pass and burst through the defence to finish just before Brierley returned and full-back Dufty went over for the hosts' sixth try of the night two minutes from time.
Again, the video referee deemed there had been foul play, this time by Kallum Watkins, and this time Wolves captain Ratchford kicked both goals to take him past 500 in his Super League career.
What they said
Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell
"The second half showed a fair bit about our character. We showed we can find our way back into a game.
"I think we were feeling a little sorry for ourselves at half-time and we just had to find some pressure, and I thought we did that in the second half."
Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley
"I feel a bit sorry for [Salford's players], actually. I'm very proud of them - they left everything out there.
"We would have been good in the second half if we could get the ball, but unfortunately we couldn't - and credit to Warrington for that."
Player of the match George Williams
"We were in a tough spot there. Credit to Salford, they throw the ball around well, but defensively we needed to fix it up. That's what we did, and our attack flowed off the back of our 'D'.
"When we went 20-6 down it reminded us a bit of last year, but I've got to show gratitude to the boys in the middle - they dug really deep."
Warrington travel to Hull Kingston Rovers for their next match on Friday, March 10 (8pm kick-off). Salford are in action again the following day when they too make the trip to the east coast to face Hull FC (3pm).