WOLVES have a commanding lead at half time but with a bit more luck they could have been out of sight.

As it is, even after Wolves’ highest scoring first half of the season so far, Salford are still very much in this Super League round five encounter.

Wolves lost the ball in the act of scoring three times in the opening 11 minutes on a bitterly cold night at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Centre Chris Bridge, loose forward Ben Westwood and winger Joel Monaghan all faltered under pressure from Salford’s scrambling defence.

And then urgent work from scrum half Richie Myler, winger Gene Ormsby and centre Ryan Atkins forced a similar act from former Batley Bulldogs threequarter Jason Walton at the end of Salford’s first threatening attack in the 13th minute.

The deadlock was finally broken six minutes later, Bridge pouncing on a loose ball after Wolves’ high kick had been dropped by Salford’s former Parramatta full back Jake Mullaney.

It was Bridge’s 100th career try, his 90th for Wolves.

Full back Stefan Ratchford was unable to convert from wide out but had no problems four minutes later when hooker Micky Higham darted over from dummy half to make it 10-0.

And it was from a scramble after another kick that Ormsby was able to bag his second try in as many matches to put Wolves, with Ratchford’s added conversion, 16-0 to the good after 30 minutes.

Salford mustered a 33rd minute response through Wigan loan winger signing Dominic Manfredi from a Junior Sa’u offload after Wolves had gifted Salford territory with a spillage on their own 30-metre line. Mullaney was wide with the extras, leaving it at 16-4.

Red Devils: Jake Mullaney; Greg Johnson, Jason Walton, Junior Sa’u, Dominic Manfredi; Theo Fages, Tim Smith; Adrian Morley, Tommy Lee, Lama Tasi, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Harrison Hansen. Subs: Martin Gleeson, Tony Puletua, Shannan McPherson, Jordan Walne.

Wolves: Stefan Ratchford; Joel Monaghan, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Gene Ormsby; Gareth O’Brien, Richie Myler; Chris Hill, Micky Higham, Roy Asotasi, James Laithwaite, Simon Grix, Ben Westwood. Subs: Michael Monaghan, Matty Russell, Glenn Riley, Ben Evans.

Referee: Ben Thaler