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Super League: Paul Rowley forgives Salford match-winner Marc Sneyd for bizarre moment

Salford boss Paul Rowley paid tribute to Marc Sneyd after his side’s superb 20-18 win over St Helens, and forgave his scrum-half his bizarre penalty attempt midway through the first half.

Sneyd sliced his kick cross-field straight into the arms of team-mate Chris Atkin, whose subsequent try was ruled out by referee Jack Smith on the basis that Sneyd’s kick had not constituted a legitimate effort on goal.

Rowley admitted neither he nor Sneyd – who made the crucial difference as he set up tries for Deon Cross and Kallum Watkins – were aware of the obscure ruling but refused to criticise his number seven for two potentially squandered points.

Rowley said: “The referee was absolutely right if he believes it was a purposely missed kick. I didn’t know that rule – it’s something you learn every week and page 406, paragraph two, rule 2B says that you’re not allowed to do it.

“He (Sneyd) is saying it was a mistake – I don’t think it was! But I was calling it myself and I’m made up that he had the bravery and endeavour to actually do it.”

Sneyd went on to make the difference as a better-directed effort set up one of a brace of tries for Deon Cross, then helped repel a second-half fightback by Saints with another perfectly weighted cross-field kick resulting in Kallum Watkins charging over to restore the hosts’ advantage.

A dashing late try from Chris Hankinson wrapped up a raucous and richly deserved Salford success and Rowley added: “His (Sneyd’s) performance reflected his form and his consistency every week, and today he was the orchestrator out there.

“I thought the effort of everyone around him was fantastic and to have Sneyd there as the difference is the bit that gets you over the line.

“It (the winning try) was the cherry on top of a great day overall. But we won’t be doing back-flips, we’ll just acknowledge it and move on. It’s not the cup final, it’s just part of the journey.”

Saints boss Paul Wellens paid tribute to Sneyd but believes his side cut him too much slack as their quest for a fifth straight Super League win fell flat.

“He (Sneyd) is always going to have an impact on the game and you’ve got to try your best to prevent that, but he’s had too much of an impact around his kicking,” admitted Wellens.

Second-half tries from Curtis Sironen and Mark Percival had hauled his side back to the verge of victory after a poor first period, and Wellens expressed his frustration at his side’s failure to see the game out.

“I thought we were going to win it – I always back this team to defend a game out,” added Wellens.

“But we lost a bit of connection with our edge defence a couple of times, which is uncharacteristic, and we conceded two tries from kicks, which is disappointing.

“I thought we had done a really good job in the second half to get back into the game and it was disappointing to get opened up at the end for their last try having worked so hard to get back in front.

“Three of the four were, I feel, soft tries. Eighteen points should be enough to win any game of rugby but we got a few things wrong defensively today.”

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