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13 January 2019

Swinton Lions made the short trip to AJ Bell Stadium for the first fixture of 2019, with Salford Red Devils proving to be the real test for Stuart Littler’s side with a 52-6 victory for the hosts.

The Lions got their pre-season underway with a run out against a full strength Salford Red Devils side in chilly conditions at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Coach Stuart Littler had nine debutants in his squad on duty for the match with only Kyle Shelford and Joe Digby missing out through injury. Near three hundred Lions fans turned up to cheer on their team and they were treated to some good rugby in this typical warm up match.

Junior Sa’u and Jackson Hastings scored early tries for the Reds with Ed Chamberlain converting one of them before the Lions were hit with an injury to Harry Aaronson, who dislocated his shoulder whilst trying to tackle Jake Bibby and was replaced by Ryan Gray. It was difficult for either side to get into any steady rhythm as both coaches were constantly changing the teams with regular substitutions.

Just after Aaronson left the field, Niall Evalds added the next try for the home side and Chamberlain again tagged on the conversion, but the Lions hit back quickly. Oscar Thomas put in a nice kick along the floor to the left corner and Mike Butt was quick to react to score the Lions’ first try of 2019. Thomas added the conversion from the touchline, but Ian Watson’s side added three more tries before the break with Robert Lui, Chamberlain and Sa’u all touching down and Chamberlain could only convert one of them.

Defences were on top for the first fourteen minutes of the second half before the Lions lost Lewis Hatton, who was sent to the sin bin by Liam Moore for holding down in the tackle and Salford used the extra man to their advantage. While he was off the field, the Reds ran in four more tries as the Lions defence was stretched and Greg Johnson and Joey Lussick both scored a brace with Lussick converting one of them.

Butt was also sent to the sin bin with eleven minutes left when he held down Derrell Olpherts for too long but nothing came from this effort. The final try came three minutes from time when Olpherts did get over in the left corner but Chamberlain was again wayward with his conversion.

Full time: Salford Red Devils 52-6 Swinton Lions

Ian Rigg reporting at AJ Bell Stadium.



Devils: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Chamberlain, Lui, Hastings, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan.

Subs: Griffin, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Johnson, Olpherts, Davies-Aspey, Wellington

Tries: Sa’u (2,36), Hastings (7), Evalds (14), Lui (20), Chamberlain (34), Johnson (55,61), Lussick (58,64), Olpherts (77).

Goals: Chamberlain 3/7, Lui 0/1, Lussick 1/3

Lions: Hansen, Butt, Lloyd, Williams, Aaronson, Fairclough, Thomas, Bennion, Waterworth, Austin, Hope, Jones, Hatton.

Subs Brickhill, Gray, Hall, Halton, Jones, Kenga, Ratu, Warne, Worrall, Ashton

Try: Butt (17)

Goal: Thomas 1/1

Referee: Liam Moore
Attendance: 1798
Pens: 8-6

FT: 52-6H-T: 30-6

The Lions next host League One outfit North Wales Crusaders in the second of three pre-season fixtures, the first home match of 2019.

For details, click HERE.

Photo credits: Pete Green.




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