Saints kick off title defence with hard fought victory over Salford

Kristian Woolf's men kicked off the new 2021 Betfred Super League season with a 29-6 victory over Salford at Emerald Headingley Stadium.

Saints came out of the traps flying and went ahead after just two minutes through Tommy Makinson. Saints capitalised on a Salford error and on the last tackle Theo Fages kicked for the corner; Makinson won it in the air and got the ball down. He converted brilliantly from the touchline to give Saints an early 6-0 lead.

Mark Percival looked to have doubled Saints’ lead 13 minutes later, but Jonny Lomax’ pass was deemed forward as he looked to feed our centre on his long awaited return.

Lomax thought he’d scored himself in the 18th minute as he went over three Salford players to dart over, but his try was chalked off for a double movement.

Makinson kicked a penalty on 27 minutes after Salford were penalised for offside to make it 8-0, before Regan Grace scored an acrobatic try in the left corner after Saints won the ball back high up the field. Makinson narrowly missed the conversion from the touchline, meaning the score remained 12-0.

Jack Welsby then sent us in at the break 13 points ahead as he kicked a drop goal on the hooter – adding points late on is something he is quite renowned for…

Iggy Paasi was forced off early in the second half after a nasty collision with Pauli Pauli and he subsequently failed his head assessment meaning he will sit out the game against Hull KR on Thursday, before Joel Thompson was just held up on the line as he tried to extend Saints’ lead.

Salford got one back in the 55th minute through Ken Sio after capitalising on a penalty. Krisnan Inu converted well from a tight angle, to make it 13-6.

But Percival wasn’t to be denied moments later as he climbed highest to grasp Fages’ high ball to touch down. Makinson added the extras to extend the lead to 19-6.

But that was to be his last action of the half as he was replaced moment later.

Kevin Naiqama was next to get over as he capitalised on a dropped catch by Inu to score in the corner after 72 minutes. Makinson narrowly missed the kick, so the score remained 23-6.

Alex Walmsley wrapped it up late on as he powered his way over numerous Salford players to go over. Makinson kicked the extras to make it a 29-6 opening game victory for Saints.

Match Summary:

Saints 13: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Kevin Naiqama, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, James Bentley, Sione Mata’utia.

Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Agnatius Paasi, Aaron Smith.

Tries: Makinson (2), Grace (34), Percival (60), Naiqama (72), Walmsley (76)

Conversions: Makinson (3)

Penalties: Makinson (27)

Drop goal: Welsby (40)

Salford 13: Dan Sarginson, Ken Sio, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Kear, Krisnan Inu, Tu’imoala Lolohea, Kevin Brown, Lee Mossop, Daniel Addy, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Harvey Livett, Ryan Lannon, Elijah Taylor.

Interchanges: Pauli Pauli, Jack Ormondroyd, Jack Wells, Dec Patton.

Tries: Sio (54)

Conversions: Inu

Half time: 13-0

Full time: 29-6

Referee: Liam Moore

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