Salford Red Devils were beaten 34-14 by Leeds Rhinos this afternoon, in Round 22 of the Betfred Super League.
Despite a battling display, Paul Rowley’s men were on the losing side at Headingley, bringing their excellent three-match winning run to an end.
The hosts struck first with a quick counter-attack down the right. Quick hands allowed David Fusitu’a to race away from his man and slip in Harry Newman for an easy try.
Leeds quickly extended their advantage when Rhyse Martin sent a kick high into the sky on the last. Richie Myler chased it down and beat Dan Sarginson to the ball, dummied his man, and slid over in the left corner.
Salford were struggling to maintain possession and Rhyse Martin was the next to power over after shrugging off multiple Red Devils’ bodies to the left of the sticks – converting his own try.
Rowley’s men did get themselves on the board minutes later. Brodie Croft sent a kick towards the posts on the last, Kallum Watkins flicked it backward and some quick passing created an overload on the left for Joe Burgess to charge into the corner and cut the deficit.
The Red Devils were starting to find their groove and some incredible persistence earned their next try. Lafai kept the ball alive on the left and ran across the line to find Alex Gerrard who, under immense pressure, produced a neat offload to Brodie Croft. The Aussie fired a high pass over to Ken Sio in the right corner and our top scorer did the rest.
HALF-TIME: Leeds Rhinos 18-8 Salford Red Devils
Taking massive momentum into the break, Salford continued to apply pressure at the start of the second forty and got their just-reward on the 49th minute. After multiple Leeds penalties, Croft weaved a gap underneath the sticks and Marc Sneyd’s conversion edged the visitors within four.
Salford were penalised for obstructing the play-the-ball moments later and Leeds opted for two – converted by Martin. The game was turning into a huge tussle, with both sides conceding penalties and wasting valuable opportunities.
In the 65th minute, the Reds were trying to burst through on the right, but a loose pass was intercepted by Ashley Handley, who ran the length of the field to extend Leeds’ advantage.
It went from bad to worse for Salford with ten minutes to go. Sitaleki Akauola was sent to the sin bin for holding down at the play-the-ball and Martin added two points from the resulting penalty.
With three minutes to go, Leeds made the extra man count and Martin crashed over again in the left corner after an offload from Zane Tetevano.
FULL-TIME: Leeds Rhinos 34- 14 Salford Red Devils
Leeds: Hardaker, Fusitu’a, Newman, Sutcliffe, Handley, Sezer, Myler, Oledzki, O’Connor, Thompson, Bentley, Martin, Smith, Dwyer, Tetevano, Walters, Gannon.
Salford: Sarginson, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Akauola, Taylor, Watkins, Gerrard, Brierley, Wright, Atkin, Luckley.
Leeds tries: Newman (1′), Myler (7′), Martin (15′, 77′), Handley (65′)
Leeds goals: Martin (5/5)
Leeds penalty goal: Martin (2/2)
Salford tries: Burgess (20′), Sio (29′), Croft (49′)
Salford goals: Sneyd (1/3)
Referee: Ben Thaler