A battling Salford Red Devils were narrowly beaten by Leeds Rhinos at AMT Headingley.

Cade Cust and Oliver Partington were both on the scoresheet, but Sam Lisone’s late effort was enough for Rohan Smith’s team to take the two points.

Salford were the ones to attack first and had a brilliant set that took them just 10 metres out.

Another chance was presented for Salford when Marc Sneyd lifted a bomb just in-front of the Rhinos try line. Tim Lafai forced the error and Luis Roberts knocked-on.

The pressure paid off as Jack Ormondroyd was stripped of the ball when setting for the tackle. Sneyd converted the penalty-goal to put Salford into a two point lead.

A solid Salford defensive set followed, but a high tackle from Ryan Brierley led to a yellow card for the fullback, with Rhyse Martin converting the penalty-goal.

Sneyd – who was lethal with the boot – put a second bomb swirling into the air, which led to another fumble and another brilliant chance for Salford to capitalise.

Cade Cust, on debut, ran a brilliant line through the Leeds middle to latch onto Sneyd’s deft grubber kick and slam down.

Sneyd added the extras and Salford led 2-8.

Salford managed to nudge the ball deep into opposition territory a few minutes later, but the hosts quickly fired it left to find Ash Handley, who charged the full length to power Leeds level.

Nene Macdonald earned Salford a scrum with seven minutes to go in the half and, on the fourth tackle, Oliver Partington stepped away from the ruck and spotted a gap to power over.

Salford went close again with another great kick by Sneyd into Leeds’ left corner, but Cross was a fraction late with his run and spilled the ball out of play – bringing a frantic first 40 to a close.

Early in the second-half, Leeds had a dangerous set on the Salford 10m line and were denied twice by a solid defensive effort.

Skipper, Kallum Watkins was the first to halt the Rhinos with a sprawling tackle, with Sam Stone the next to thwart what looked a certain try from Andy Ackers’ grubber.

Leeds run the ball wide and force a 3-on-2, drawing the final Salford man to release Ash Handley, who touched down in the corner for his second of the evening.

A lovely dummy-half run from Cust put Salford on the front foot. His pass to Brierley was popped out the back to Chris Atkin, who was hit by a Paul Momirovski shoulder charge, resulting in a yellow card.

That allowed Sneyd to kick for another two points, putting the Reds back into a 14-16 lead.

It was soon back level again when Amir Bourouh was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements and Martin called for the kicking tee to nudge over two more.

Then, with just nine minutes left to play, Leeds’ Sam Lisone crashed right through the middle of Salford’s fatigued defensive line to score the match-winning try.

A few opportunities for Salford in the closing exchanges threatened a potential golden point decider, but the hooter was a welcome sound for the Rhinos, who hung on to a Round 1 victory.

Next up for the Red Devils is our return to the Salford Stadium. Join us back home for Round 2 against Castleford Tigers on Sunday 25th February by clicking here.


Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, Chris Hankinson, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Cade Cust, Marc Sneyd, Jack Ormondroyd, Amir Bourouh, Brad Singleton, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Oliver Partington.

Interchanges: Joe Shorrocks, Shane Wright, Ben Hellewell, Chris Atkin.

Tries: Cade Cust, Oliver Partington.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (4/4)

Leeds’ line-up: Lachlan Miller, Luis Roberts, Harry Newman, Paul Momirovski, Ash Handley, Brodie Croft, Matt Frawley, Mikołaj Olędzki, Andy Ackers, James Donaldson, Mickael Goudemand, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith.

Interchanges: Justin Sangare, Sam Lisone, James Bentley, Jarrod O’Connor.

Tries: Ash Handley (2), Sam Lisone.

Conversions: Rhyse Martin (4/4)

HT: Leeds Rhinos 8-14 Salford Red Devils.

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

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