sport

Noble happy with opening win

Salford coach Brian Noble was relieved to see his revamped side hang on for an opening 18-14 victory over Wakefield.

The renamed Red Devils delighted a stadium record crowd of 7,102 as they raced into an 18-0 half-time lead thanks to tries from impressive back-row forwards Gareth Hock, Harrison Hansen and Andrew Dixon.

But the Wildcats dominated the second half, scoring tries through Matt Ryan, Ali Lauitiiti and the outstanding Pita Godinet, to set up a thrilling finish.

"I was biting my fingernails," Noble said. "I thought Wakefield were great in the second half and we didn't have any ball. I was nervous.

"It's a great lesson for us. I am absolutely delighted with the win and delighted with the day and the crowd. To have the game delayed to get people in the place was fabulous."

Salford had 13 of their 14 close-season signings in their starting line-up but the biggest of them, England stand-off Rangi Chase, limped out of the action midway through the first half.

"We don't know how serious Rangi is yet and Junior (Sau) has done his groin so we were scrambling around a bit at the end but that bit of courage and heart the boys showed got them over the line," Noble added.

"It's early in the season and it will take a little time for us to get our game sense. That starting 13 weren't here last year. We need more games.

"I thought Hock had a great game. Hansen on the other side had a good game and Dixon complemented them. I also thought Greg Johnson looked the part."

Deserved win

Wakefield coach Richard Agar, who was forced to rebuild his team in the close season after losing a host of key players, felt they deserved to win the game.

They had a try from Lauitiiti ruled out when referee James Child decided he failed to ground the ball and winger Reece Lyne dropped Godinet's pass with the line at his mercy eight minutes from the end.

"I've got really mixed emotions," Agar said. "We've literally had three or four sessions with the bulk of our players together and we weren't quite sure how we'd go.

"Overall I'm really happy but I'll be going home disappointed because we dominated the second half so much we should have won the game and we would have deserved it too.

"We had two or three golden opportunities and Ali was adamant that he got the ball down.

"I thought we played really positively with the ball. I think we've given everybody a glimpse and I think everybody will acknowledge we will get better."