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Salford all but secured their Super League place with victory over  Toronto Wolfpack – but the win came at a price with talismanic half-back Jackson Hastings likely to miss a number of games, not least next week’s visit to Leeds, after a late red card.

The opening 40 minutes belongs almost exclusively to the hosts. Toronto offered no threat and on the few occasions when they did finish a set in their opponents’ 20, it inevitably petered out.

Ed Chamberlain opened the scoring after just five minutes, crossing in the corner after receiving a beautiful Niall Evalds pass and then kicking the conversion from the touchline.

Evalds crossed the whitewash himself just minutes later, but play was called back obstruction and a penalty for obstruction.

But even the sin-binning of Lama Tasi on 13 minutes for a high and off-the-ball tackle on Toronto full-back Gareth O’Brien brought no change in the Wolfpack’s fortunes.

Just two minutes later, stocky Salford half-back Robert Lui barged over in the left corner and Chamberlain made no mistake with the conversion. 

And 12-0 quickly became 14-0. A great break by Darcy Lussick saw Salford storm up field. And although full-back O’Brien brought him down, the Toronto man held on too long in the tackle and gave away a penalty in from of the posts

Five minutes from half time, Salford made it 20-0 with a flowing move on the right-hand side, the ball passing between hands again and again as they advanced from their own 20 to the Toronto in-goal. 

Almost inevitably, the star of their qualifiers campaign, Jackson Hastings was the final player to receive the ball and went over just to the side of the posts, giving Chamberlain the simplest of kicks.

A different Toronto took to the field after the half-time break and scored two quick tries from Adam Sidlow and Matty Russell on 46 and 49 minute, though only the first was converted by O’Brien.

But at 20-10 it was a competitive contest - and the game opened right up when Luke Burgess found himself being shown Salford’s first red-card on 52 minutes for high tackle on Jake Emmett

The numbers told this time and Andy Ackers went over for Toronto on 56 minutes. O’Brien converted to put them just four points behind at 20-16.

But then the Wolfpack had a rush blood and gave away two quick penalties. The second, for a dangerous tackle on Junior Sa’u saw Chase Stanley sinbinned.

With both teams even in numbers on the field, at least for 10 minutes, Salford started threatening the Toronto line and Ryan Lannon went over, converted by Chamberlain to restore a 10-point lead for the hosts with a 26-16 scorelline.

Both sides pressed, but Salford held on for the win - but the game ended on a sour note when Hastings was shown a red card with just 13 second to go, for a bad tackle to O’Brien’s jaw as Toronto full-back gathered a high ball.

SALFORD: Evalds, Chamberlain, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby, Lui, Hastings, Burgess, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Griffin, Lannon. Subs: Kopczak, Burke, Lussick, Flanagan.

Tries: Chamberlain, Lui, Hastings, Lannon

Goals: Chamberlain 6 (2 pen)

Ref: R. Hicks

 

Toronto: O’Brien, Russell, Stanley, Wheeler, Caton-Brown, McCrone, Lussick, Beswick, Sims, Dixon, Paterson, Buchanan. Subs: Ackers, Sidlow, Krasniqi, Emmitt

Tries: Sidlow, Russell, Ackers

Goals: O’Brien 2



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