Salford Red Devils came from behind to record their third win of the Betfred Super League season, running out 26-12 winners against the Leeds Rhinos at the The Salford Stadium in Round 6.
After suffering numerous setbacks and injury concerns, the Red Devils showed grit and determination to grind out a vital victory.
Leeds thought they were in front after three minutes when Ash Handley went over in the left corner, but the video referee ruled it out for double movement.
The Rhinos did take the lead six minutes later, with Mikolaj Oledzki pouncing on a mistake in the Salford defence to touch down, following an Aidan Sezer grubber kick.
Salford were starting to find their groove, and Joe Burgess almost pulled his side within two when he found space on the left, but a last-gasp Leeds tackle just nudged him out of touch.
The Red Devils did equalise halfway through the first 40, with some neat passing and a Ryan Brierley grubber kick sending Ken Sio over in the right corner for his eighth Betfred Super League try of the season.
The visitors responded 10 minutes later when Jack Walker created space on the left and offloaded for Handley to stroll over the try-line.
Just before the break, Leeds’ Brodie Thompson was sent to the sin bin for repeated six again , after a sustained period of Salford pressure. Marc Sneyd opted for the penalty-goal and kicked his 100th for the club, becoming the 30th Salford player to do so.
Half-time: Salford Red Devils 8–10 Leeds Rhinos
After a slow start to the second 40, Leeds were reduced to 12 once more when Zane Tetevano was late into a challenge on Ken Sio.
Salford were pushing to find that all-important try, but were penalised themselves for an illegal strip – with Martin extending the Rhinos’ lead to four.
The Red Devils responded in emphatic fashion, with Burgess running the ball from his own try-line – with a quick tap at the 20 – and finishing 60 metres down the field. Salford then worked the ball right and Chris Atkin went over to fire the hosts into the lead.
Salford continued to pile on the pressure and went over again through Elijah Taylor. He almost broke the Leeds defence the tackle before, but powered over on his next attempt to extend Salford’s lead.
The AJ Bell was rocking, and Brierley slid under the sticks to confirm the victory just minutes from full-time after some impressive running by King Vuniyayawa.
Full-time: Salford Red Devils 26–12 Leeds Rhinos
Salford: Brierley, Sio, Cross, Lafai, Burgess, Croft, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Ackers, Gerrard, Lannon, Wright, Taylor, Burke, Vuniyayawa, Atkin, Wells.
Leeds: Walker, Handley, Sutcliffe, Broadbent, Briscoe, Austin, Sezer, Smith, Bentley, Martin, Oledzki, Leeming, Tetevano, Dwyer, Thompson, Mellor, Donaldson.
Salford tries: Sio (18’), Atkin (68’), Taylor (72’), Brierley (78’)
Leeds tries: Oledzki (9’), Handley (28’)
Salford goals: (Sneyd 4/4)
Leeds goals: (Martin 1/2)
Salford penalty-goal: Sneyd (1/1)
Leeds penalty-goal: Martin (1/1)
Image credit: Steve McCormick
Written by: Harry Siddall