SALFORD, England — The Salford Red Devils, reduced to 11 men by the final whistle, survived a furious 16-point Toronto rally in the second half to down the Wolfpack 28-16 on Saturday in rugby league play.
The game ended on a sour note when Salford's Jackson Hastings became the second Red Devil be sent off. The Australian was red-carded in the final minute for a swinging arm to the head that felled Toronto fullback Gareth O'Brien.
Salford forward Luke Burgess was red-carded for a high tackle on Jake Emmitt in the 53rd minute.
The win improved Salford's record to 4-0-0 atop the Super 8s Qualifiers table. Toronto fell to 2-2-0 with three games remaining in its promotion push. The Wolfpack host Toulouse Olympique next Saturday.
Toronto, which topped the second-tier Betfred Championship during the regular season with a 20-2-1 record, suffered its seventh loss in 56 competitive matches (47-7-2). The Wolfpack are 0-4-0 against Super League opposition.
Down 20-0 at the half, Toronto cut the deficit to 20-10 on tries by Adam Sidlow and Matty Russell in the 47th and 52nd minutes. Andy Ackers, with a darting dummy half run from close-range, scored in the 57th minute with O'Brien's conversion making it 20-16.
Toronto was reduced to 12 men for 10 minutes in the 60th minute when Chase Stanley was sin binned for a dangerous tackle.
Salford's Ryan Lannon stopped the bleeding with a 62nd-minute try to make it 26-16, throwing a dummy and cutting through a pair of Wolfpack defenders. A 75th-minute penalty increased the lead to 12.
"To come back and work so hard and get ourselves back in this game is a real plus and a real positive for the character of the team," said Toronto coach Paul Rowley. "However then we let another soft try in. We played for 30, 35, 40 minutes of the game at best."
Ed Chamberlain, Robert Lui and Hastings also scored tries for Salford. Chamberlain added two penalties and four conversions.
Salford's Lama Tasi was sin-binned in the 14th minute for a high tackle off the ball.
O'Brien kicked two conversions for Toronto.
Former Salford players now wearing Toronto Wolfpack colours include O'Brien, Sidlow, Emmitt, Mason Caton-Brown, Andrew Dixon, Olsi Krasniqi and Cory Paterson and Adam Sidlow, as well as assistant coach Simon Finnigan.
O'Brien is part of Salford lore. His sudden-death drop-goal from 45-plus metres out in 2016 kept Salford in the top-flight Super League, capping a comeback that saw the Red Devils rally from an 18-10 deficit with two minutes remaining in the so-called "Million Pound Game." O'Brien's boot relegated Hull Kingston Rovers in the process.
The Super 8s Qualifiers group the bottom four teams in the Super League (Leeds Rhinos, Hull Kingston Rovers, Salford and Widnes Vikings) with the top four sides in the second-tier Betfred Championship (Toronto, London Broncos, Toulouse Olympique and Halifax RLFC).
The teams play each other once with the top three finishers securing Super League status. No. plays No. 5 in the "Million Pound Game" to see who joins them.
The Canadian Press