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Wigan hold off tenacious Salford to book trip to St Helens

Ross Heppenstall
George Williams goes over to score Wigan's third try - REX

  • Wigan Warriors 18-12 Salford Red Devils

With a raucous 2,000-strong away support and a performance befitting a team which had won its last eight matches, Salford showed their mettle once again.

Sadly for Ian Watson's side, it was not enough to maintain a winning run which has helped them emerge as the story of this Super League season.

Defending champions Wigan did just enough to take the spoils and book a trip to arch-rivals St Helens next Friday, while Salford will get another chance to progress further when they host Castleford 24 hours earlier.

Watson's men will draw confidence from this tenacious, skilful display after taking the game to Wigan from start to finish.

By finishing third and reaching the play-offs and enjoying that eight-game winning streak, Salford are enjoying their best season for over four decades.

Watson has taken the unwanted and inexpensive, stirred in a little overseas spice, and blended the Red Devils into a well-balanced and highly-motivated force.

Inspired by the intricate probing of Australian playmaker Jackson Hastings, the Man of Steel favourite who is bound for Wigan next season, the Red Devils were not fazed in the slightest by taking on the in-form Warriors in their own backyard.

Although Oliver Gildart finished clinically in the left corner to put the hosts in front, Salford replied when George Griffin dived over the line from close range to make it 6-6 at the break.

Thomas Leuluai capitalised on a Krisnan Inu error to put Wigan in front and then George Williams finished off Joe Burgess' break to put Wigan 18-6 ahead.

Yet Hastings, playing like a man possessed against his future employers, replied with a converted try to cut Wigan's lead to six points.

Salford pushed hard for an equalising try which did not quite materialise but they will fancy themselves on home soil against Castleford next week as they bid to move a step closer towards a maiden Grand Final appearance.

Wigan Z Hardaker; L Marshall, C Hankinson, O Gildart, J Burgess; G Williams, T Leuluai; T Clubbb, S Powell, L Byrne, W Isa, L Farrell, M Smithies Subs: B Flower, B French, J Greenwood, S O'Loughlin

Salford N Evalds; K Sio, K Welham, J Bibby, K Inu; T Lolohea, J Hastings; L Mossop, L Tomkins, G Dudson, J Jones, G Griffin, T McCarthy Subs: J Lussick, A Walker, M Flanagan, R Lannon

Referee Robert Hicks