‘Tough to watch’: Alan Hunte admits Salford City Reds outplayed by Widnes Vikings in heavy away defeat

By Colin Henrys & Matt Simpson

Interim boss Alan Hunte admitted Widnes Vikings were too good for his shell-shocked Salford City Reds side as they ran in ten tries at the Stobart Stadium.

Rhys Hanbury and Cameron Phelps both grabbed hat-tricks for the hosts as tries from Theo Fages, Lee Jewitt, Jodie Broughton and Jordan James – all converted by Marc Sneyd – were all Salford could manage in reply.

Hunte was left to rue a below-par Salford performance, and admitted his disappointment they were unable to build on their recent encouraging displays.

“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Widnes – they played some great footie,” he said.

“Everything that they’ve done has come off – not through luck but through really good execution.

“If you were a neutral it would have been great to watch them play but for us it was pretty tough because it’s disappointing in respect to the progress we’ve made.

“I’m very disappointed obviously. There’s been an upturn in our performances so it’s disappointing because I know we’re better than that.”

The Vikings dominated the opening exchanges and raced to a 16-0 lead through Rhys Hanbury, captain Jon Clarke and Cameron Phelps with Jack Owens landing two conversions.

Salford finally registered their first score on 24 minutes when Fages chased Sneyd’s grubber kick to touch down.

Substitute Lee Jewitt added a second just after the half-hour, scoring under the posts after Salford’s tackle count was reset on the 20m line despite Kevin Brown appearing to be fouled.

The Vikings responded well however, with Hanbury and Phelps finishing good moves in the final minutes of the half and Owens converting both.

They carried their momentum into the second half too, with Hanbury breaking the line to feed Joe Mellor on 44 minutes, and then completing his hat-trick four minutes later with Owens again converting both.

Broughton pulled one back on 52 minutes later, intercepting a pass deep in his own half and running in an 85-metre try but Phelps converted try on the hour restored Widnes’ lead.

Vikings old-boy James scored Salford’s fourth try on 65 minutes but just two minutes later Frank Winterstein’s score and Owens’ extras ensured Widnes passed 50 points.

Kevin Brown completed the rout with just seconds remaining, touching down after yet another Vikings break down the wing – Owens landed his final kick.

Hunte – who admitted the tries before half-time were a crucial blow for the Reds – believes the result highlights the hard work ahead for Salford.

“This was always going to be a really, really tough season for Salford,” he explained

“The last five weeks there seems to have been an upturn but days like this show we’ve still got a long way to go.

“From where we were three, four months ago we’re quite pleased with some of the progress – although not all. Nobody likes coming away from scorelines like this, nobody more so than me.

“I’d have loved an ugly win but I think everybody can see as a squad and as a club we are moving forward and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Image courtesy of Salford City Reds, via Vimeo, with thanks

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