Salford Red Devils were beaten by Hull KR in our final away trip of the regular 2023 Betfred Super League season.
With a playoff spot still on the line, Paul Rowley welcomed Oliver Partington and Kallum Watkins back from suspension, while Ben Hellewell was shifted to prop in place of Brad Singleton.
The first five minutes really set the tone for a tense and tight affair. Elliot Minchella almost broke the line, but some nice defending from Partington denied the forward, with Ken Sio picking up the pieces.
It was the same source who did manage to break through just minutes later. His offload to Shaun Kenny-Dowall should have set Brad Schneider up for the first try of the game; but the halfback spilled what should have been an easy stroll in.
Marc Sneyd was attempting pull strings when Salford applied pressure on the KR line. His neat short pass set Jack Ormondroyd crashing through a gap, but the prop dropped the ball attempting to get back on his feet.
That was the beginning of a large period of pressure on the KR line by Salford.
Brierley and then a two-man press of Burgess and Sneyd forced back-to-back drop-outs, but on both occasions, there was no way through a stubborn defence.
From defence to attack, Schneider and Tom Opacic combined to tee-up the supporting James Batchelor, who raced away to open the scoring.
Schneider converted to make it six.
A Mikey Lewis break almost added to that lead, but Brierley was across to make yet another try-saving tackle.
There was a chance towards the end of the half for Salford, with Danny Addy sending Partington bursting through the centre, but referee Liam Moore blew for a forward pass.
King Vuniyayawa was sent to the bin just a minute late after a late hit on KR player.
HALF-TIME: Hull KR 6-0 Salford Red Devils
There was a lot on the line for both teams after the break, but an error-filled 20 minutes halted any momentum in attacking areas.
Matt Parcell came the closest for KR when he made a dart from dummy-half, but a nice tackle from Croft forced the hooker to drop the ball when attempting to ground.
Schneider added two more just after the hour mark when Partington was penalised for a high tackle and it felt like Salford needed to get some points on the board sooner rather than later if they were to find a way back into the contest.
An amazing scramble from Brierley denied Lewis on one occasion, but the same source released Ryan Hall on the left wing minutes later to wrap up the two points for the home side.
Warrington Wolves’ defeat against St Helens on Friday means a playoff spot is still attainable for Salford, but they will have to beat a high-flying Catalans Dragons at the Salford Stadium next Friday.
Be there for a massive, season-defining contest.
FULL-TIME: Hull KR 12-0 Salford Red Devils
Photo credit – Steve McCormick