WIGAN WARRIORS 40, SALFORD REDS 16: Australian star Trent Barrett almost single-handedly broke Salford hearts as the City Reds slipped closer to relegation from the engage Super League following a 40-16 defeat at Wigan.

Rock-bottom Salford were on course to give themselves a relegation lifeline as they held a slender 10-6 half-time lead after tries from Karl Fitzpatrick and Paul Highton.

But five tries in a devastating 20-minute period just after the interval, inspired by the mercurial Barrett, denied Shaun McRae's men, who will now slip into the National League if Hull KR win one of their three remaining league games.

Wigan were fast out of the blocks, and after a repeat set following a charge down, Shane Millard's delayed pass put Barrett through a big gap, and he had too much pace for full-back Fitzpatrick.

The visitors were then let off the hook when, after David Vaealiki was held up a yard short, Millard did cross the line but was penalised for a double movement.

And the visitors took full advantage to level the scores after 17 minutes when Fitzpatrick got on the end of a clever grubber kick by Luke Robinson, only for John Wilshere to somehow hit the upright with a seemingly simple conversion.

Tempers spilled over five minutes before half-time when Liam Colbon was tackled behind his own line for a Wigan drop out - which quickly erupted into a huge brawl.

Referee Ashley Klein waited for calm and then produced yellow cards for Wigan pair Vaealiki and Iafeta Paleaaesina, along with Salford's Stuart Littler.

Despite being a man down, Pat Richards edged the Warriors in front with a long-range penalty goal moments later.

However, there was still time for Highton to step through the stretched Wigan cover a minute before half-time, with Wilshere's goal giving his side a 10-6 interval lead.

Both sides were restored to their full compliment four minutes into the second half, and Wigan crossed for two quickfire tries within the space of five minutes.

First Barrett's inside ball released Richards, and the supporting Mark Calderwood raced clear to score.

Then another superb pass from Barrett, this time a 30-metre ball that put Vaealiki in at the corner, extended the Wigan lead, after only desperate cover had stopped Calderwood adding his second following Mickey Higham's break.

Richards goaled both to give Wigan an 18-10 advantage, but a superb solo run from Kevin McGuinness reduced the arrears three minutes later, with Wilshere's conversion making it a two-point deficit.

Barrett then set up field position for Wigan's fourth try with a superb 40-20, Paleaaesina too big and too strong from five yards after Higham's short ball.

Richards added his fourth goal to make it 24-16 as the game entered the final quarter.

There seemed no way back for the Reds when Barrett kicked through for Phil Bailey to touch down after 63 minutes.

And captain Sean O'Loughlin secured the points three minutes later, supporting a beautiful break from youngster Darrell Goulding, with Richards' goal making it 36-16.

Calderwood's late score in the corner only rubbed salt into the wounds of the Salford faithful.

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