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Salford Super 8: ‘Magic’ Rangi Chase key to Leigh victory

It was a 10 minute spell in the second half that finally showed what this Salford squad are really capable of, and it was the man with magic in his boots and hands, Rangi Chase, who finally put paid to any hope their Super 8 opponents Leigh Centurions had.

In the second of the promotion-relegation rounds of the Super 8 competition at the AJ Bell on Sunday 15 August Salford sought – and won – revenge for April’s shock Challenge Cup turnover.

RECAP: Minute-by-minute live coverage of Salford vs Leigh

A winning margin of 46-18 will really help Salford’s points difference when it comes to the Super 8 tally at the end of the series.

Salford’s acting head coach Ian Watson told SalfordOnline.com the win was down to his talismanic number 6’s second-half performance.

“At half-time we spoke to him about being more direct, as he was crabbing sideways across the pitch at times.

“To be fair, the lads who face him every day have no idea how to play him, so god knows what players who only see him at the weekend must think!”

Salford were already looking comfortable by the end of the first half.

The Devils were 16-0 up after tries from Jones-Bishop, Taylor and Thornley, with Dobson’s boot accurate to miss only one conversion.

Within three minutes of the restart Chase had extended the lead to take Salford 22-0 up.

Harrison Hansen started at second row, despite shock revelations earlier in the week that the club captain and fan favourite was on his way out of the AJ Bell.

The player has still made no public announcement about his future.

Some of that instability crept into Salford’s game in the second half as the home side had a 15 minute spell where they seemed to lose focus.

Leigh had a glimmer of hope when Higson and McNally scored to leave just a 10 point gap after 50 minutes, but Chase kicked up a gear and started to run rings around the Championship side.

Having mesmerised the Leigh defence to score just after the restart, Chase didn’t rest on his laurels.

In the 60th minute, Chase smothered out a Leigh attack, and after a 40m break, a beautiful kick through allowed Sa’u to score.

He wasn’t finished there though.

Just 3 minutes later, having looked to all intents to be wrapped up, Chase managed to pull himself clear of the attention of the defence before diving over to score and make it 34-12.

That looked to be the game breaker as far as any serious threat from the visitors went, and just 7 minutes later, Evalds, restored at full back, went over to really quell any lingering hopes the travelling fans had of a win.

Salford were not finished yet, and Johnson went over as well to give Salford their 8th try of the game, and with 9 minutes left on the clock, at 46-12 the game was now long over.

There was still time for McNally though to grab a consolation try with under 3 minutes left on the clock, and with Ridyard converting, the hooter went on a comprehensive 46-18 scoreline.

Salford: Evalds; Jones-Bishop, Sa’u, Thornley, Johnson; Chase, Dobson; Taylor, Tomkins, G Griffin, Hansen, Maitua, Paterson.
Replacements: Lee, Krasniqi, Tasi, Morley.
Leigh: McNally; Higson, Pala, Armstrong, Kay; Ridyard, Brierley; Emmitt, Higham, Wilkes, Dixon, Goulden, Barlow
Replacements: Beswick, Haggerty, Aspinwall, Moi Moi.
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Attendance: 4,547

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Andrew Riley is a former soldier who is currently studying journalism at the University of Salford. He is originally from Hull, where he grew to love rugby league by following Hull KR. When not writing for SalfordOnline.com or studying, he covers the Armed Forces rugby league for a number of outlets.