By PA Sport Staff
Last Updated: 14/06/18 11:09pm
Greg Burke scored the decisive try on his debut to sink Widnes, the club he
left last week to join Salford on loan.
The former Wigan prop arrived at Salford along with Ed Chamberlain in a swap deal for Weller Hauraki, who joined the Vikings and all three were in action at the AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday night.
But Burke returned to haunt his parent club as he tumbled over the try line with 18 minutes remaining for the game-breaking score, although diplomatically he chose not to celebrate.
It was also an eventful night for Salford centre Kris Welham, who scored two tries to reach 150 for his career but was also sent to the sin-bin in the 26-12 victory.
Widnes ended the game with 12 men after Chris Houston was sent off for mockingly applauding referee James Child, who had just shown him the yellow card for a high tackle on Burke.
Both sides came into the game on the back of awful runs – Widnes were looking for their first win in 10 Super League games while Salford had lost their last five.
Widnes were further hampered by the withdrawal of Stefan Marsh, who pulled up during the pre-match warm-up.
Widnes, under the interim charge of Francis Cummins following the recent sacking of Denis Betts, opened the scoring in the fifth minute when a powerful break by James Chapelhow opened up the Salford defence.
In the next play a kick ahead by Joe Mellor was regathered by Tom Gilmore, who touched down and then added the conversion.
But Salford were quick to hit back. A kick from Gilmore went straight to Welham who was able to outstrip the Widnes’ cover for a 50-metre sprint to the line.
The home side went ahead in the 16th minute when Welham scored his second try – the 150th of his career – out wide after taking the final pass from Robert Lui.
However Welham’s next involvement proved costly. He was sin-binned in the 23rd minute for obstruction and Widnes took almost immediate advantage as Gilmore’s cross-field kick was collected by Patrick Ah Van, who was able to touch down in the corner.
Gilmore’s conversion saw Widnes take a 12-8 lead, but Salford were level within 10 minutes of the restart. Winger Jake Bibby took the pass from Jack Littlejohn to score in the corner but Lui spurned the chance to put Salford in front as he
again missed the difficult conversion.
Burke then barged his way over from a Logan Tomkins pass in the 62nd minute and Lui added the extras along with a penalty five minutes later for a high tackle.
The home side held firm in the closing stages, aided by the 69th-minute dismissal of Houston, and completed the scoring with two minutes remaining when Lui raced 50 metres after charging down Danny Craven’s kick to crown the victory.