The Salford Red Devils came out on top with a professional performance against Rochdale Hornets in the first pre-season fixture of 2017.
Head Coach Ian Watson handed debuts to 4 signings, Kris Brining, Lee Mossop, Daniel Murray, Kris Welham with Lama Tasi making his first appearance since returning to the club from St Helens.
Salford came up against a Rochdale team that won the the Kingston Press League 1 in 2016, containing a number of former Super League stars including ex Warrington player Chris Riley.
The Red Devils started brightly, and soon opened the scoring. A sweeping move towards the left wing was finished off by Gareth O’Brien following a clever dummy.
Minutes later and Salford were in again, this time Josh Jones muscled his way through the Rochdale defence to score. O’Brien added his second conversion to push Salford out to a 12-0 lead.
Rochdale hit back shortly after when O’Brien was temporarily knocked out in a heavy tackle, Ben Moores gathered up the loose ball to score under the posts.
Salford quickly restored their lead however, with Greg Johnson finding some space in the corner to to score. Two minutes later, Junior Sa’u added his name to the score sheet, crashing over from short range to help Salford to a 24-6 lead at the break.
Early on in the second half, Rochdale enjoyed their best spell of the match, putting together some good play in the back line to score two quick tries, courtesy of Galbraith and Taira, to pull back to within six points of the Red Devils.
The Red Devils soon extended their lead again however, with Kris Welham scoring debut following a strong hand-off. It was long before Salford were in again, Greg Johnson crossing for his second try of the afternoon.
Salford were now looking confident, and Johnson capped off a fine performance by crashing through for his hat-trick try, with Josh Wood adding the conversion to make the score 40-18.
The Red Devils would find time for one more try, with Jake Bibby scoring in the corner, to round off a 44-18 win following a professional performance from Salford.
Attentions now turn to next Sunday, when Salford travel to Halifax for their second pre-season friendly.
Squad: O’Brien, Johnson, Carney, Evalds, Sa’u, Lui, Dobson, Jones, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki, Griffin, Brining, Mossop, Tasi, Lannon, Krasniqi, A.Walne, J.Walne, Murray, Wilkinson, Welham, Wood.