With player turnover galore, an upheaval across the board and the team coming together, it was the perfect start for the Salford Devils, as they held on to defeat the Wakefield Wildcats 18-14 and open their season with a win.
The Devils burst out of the blocks and raced to an 18-0 lead and in what was a very close finish in the end, Salford coach Brian Noble was pleased to get the win but was nervous towards the end.
“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.”
There was a downer to come out of the match for Salford, though, with new recruit Rangi Chase leaving the field with with injury, as did Junior Sa’u who suffered a groin injury.
“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.”
For Wakefield, who have also undergone significant player turnover of their own, they fought hard in the second half to make it a contest and for coach Richard Agar, he feels that they probably should have won the game.
“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.”