Salford City Reds head coach Brian Noble insists his side will learn from their performance despite suffering a heavy 10-52 defeat at home to St Helens.
Tries for Martin Gleeson and Jodie Broughton saw the Reds trailing by just a single score with half an hour remaining, but 38 unanswered second-half points ensured a comfortable Saints victory.
Although his side shipped six more points more than their lacklustre defeat to Wakefield 12 days before, Noble insists his players were much improved.
“There looked to be a pulse this week and quite a strong one, because of the way we played in the first half and the way we tried to play,” he said.
“I’m less disappointed than I was last week. If I can knock a few nails into heads and show some pictures as to why it happened, then we can improve.
“I think the score-line flattered St Helens a little bit and our fans won’t be as disappointed as they were last time because the players have had a dig.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with the last 30 minutes because we went away from some of the things we were doing well but I think the score looks slightly lopsided away from us.”
Saints opened the scoring after 16 minutes when Jordan Turner touched down for a simple score after Jonny Lomax and Paul Wellens combined to penetrate the Reds defence.
Willie Manu added a second three minutes later, bulldozing through three Salford players to reach for the line before Warrington loanee Gareth O’Brien kicked his second conversion.
The Reds halved the deficit on 22 minutes with a great team score, captain Gleeson touching down in the corner after a flashy left-to-right move before Marc Sneyd added the extras.
Salford exploded out into the second half with Broughton touching down inside seven minutes to reduce the deficit to four – O’Brien having kicked a penalty moments before the break.
But Saints responded by scoring four times in eight minutes as Wellens, Lomax and Anthony Laffranchi gave the visitors back the momentum with Turner running in his second of the night.
Winger Francis Meli then snatched two tries of his own for the visitors in a four-minute spell as O’Brien kicked over his seventh kick of the game.
A comedy of errors from the Reds saw Josh Jones take St Helens to 50 points with five minutes remaining before O’Brien took his tally to 16 points with the boot.
Salford remain rooted to the foot of Super League but after meeting with players to discuss individual futures in the week, Noble believes the club can now progress.
“We soul-searched and we’ve had some quite honest meetings and I think everyone agreed it was a sub-standard effort that we dished out against Wakefield,” he added.
“The commitment’s there for the end of the season for everybody, even those that know they’re going now – I think it’s important they show their true character and they did tonight.
“The door’s slightly ajar for some of them, if they want to kick that door open and show that they’re the players we think they can be then that opportunity’s there.
“Players need to know their futures as soon as they possibly can and the opportunity has been given there for a lot of people and I think we’re all clear now as to what we’re going to try and do.”
Image courtesy of superleaguetv, via YouTube, with thanks.