Salford Red Devils earned their first victory of the Super League season in style after a brilliant performance saw them triumph over Hull Kingston Rovers 36-12 at the The Salford Stadium.
Two tries from Niall Evalds alongside further scores from Gareth O’Brien, Junior Sa’u, Jake Bibby and Robert Lui ensured The Red Devils ran out deserved winners and secured their first points of the campaign.
Ian Watson’s side headed into the game full of confidence after an encouraging display at Wakefield Trinity but made the worst start possible when Thomas Minns crossed over inside the opening two minutes to give the visitors an early lead, Ryan Shaw successfully converted the extras.
Despite the early setback, Salford regrouped and claimed their first points of the evening five minutes later when O’Brien’s grubber kick ricocheted off an opponent before the full-back latched onto to his own kick before diving over to claim his first try of the season, O’Brien successfully kicked the resulting goal.
O’Brien was heavily involved in Salford’s next move, this time finding the lively Jack Littlejohn who produced some quick hands to play in Sa’u, who touched down to open his try-scoring account for the campaign.
Salford extended their lead to eight points minute later, the hosts opted to kick at goal after some sluggish play from The Robins resulted in a penalty, O’Brien subsequently converted.
Minutes later The Reds were over again, Lui delivered a looping pass to Welham and the former KR man delivered a sublime offload to give Bibby the simplest task of touching down, although on this occasion O’Brien missed the conversion. However, Salford went into the break with a comfortable lead.
And, Lui turned scorer after the break as he slid in under the posts following a scampering run and break from young hooker Josh Wood. O’Brien converted to open up a 20-point lead for the hosts. But, Hull KR immediately hit back as full-back Adam Quinlan latched onto a low kick, Shaw added the extras.
Evalds – making his 100th career appearance – would cross twice in the final fifteen minutes to wrap up a fantastic result for Watson’s men. A slick, flowing Salford move put Evalds over in the corner on the 65-minute mark which O’Brien again converted.
But, it was Evalds’ second which really stole the show. The winger forced his way over the line following Sa’u’s pass and despite being stood up by two Hull KR defenders still managed to plant the ball down to confirm a 36-12 victory.
Salford Lineup: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Kopczak
Hull KR Lineup: Quinlan, Shaw, Heffernan, Minns, Carney, Atkin, Blair, Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Kavanagh, Greenwood, Mulhern Interchanges: Lunt, Scruton, Tickle, Salter
Salford Scorers: O’Brien (7’), Sa’u (18’), Bibby (30’), Lui (41’), Evalds (65’, 70’)
Goals- O’Brien (8’, 18, 25’, 42’, 46’, 66’)
Hull KR Scorers: Tries- Minns (2’), Shaw (54’),
Goals- Shaw (3’, 55)
Man of the Match: Junior Sa’u
Referee: James Child
Touch Judges: A Smith & D Bowmer
By Ryan Booth