After a two week break Salford were back in action at the AJ Bell Stadium as they welcomed newly promoted Hull KR.
After two defeats to Wigan and Wakefield Ian Watson and his players knew how important it was to get the win. The Robins arrived in confident mood after steady improvement in there opening fixtures. A first round home defeat to Wakefield was followed by a battling display at Elland road against champions Leeds Rhinos which they were unlucky to lose. Last week a hard fought win at Craven Park against Catalan Dragons 23-4 showed Tim Sheens side will play with plenty of grit and determination this season.
Another bitterly cold night welcomed both sides to the pitch as summer rugby still seemed a few months away.
Jack Littlejohn came up with an early mistake kicking out on the full to hand Hull KR the initiative. The Robins grabbed the first try moments later from Thomas Mimms as Salford failed to deal with a neat kick in to the in goal.
Shortly after Salford responded, Jack Littlejohn’s kick in to the in goal area this time causing panic for the Rovers defence. Gareth O Brien was first to pounce, his conversion levelled the score at 6-6.
Junior Sau who was a menace in attack and defence all night nudged Salford in front after some nice work from Littlejohn. O’Brien again on the button with the conversion 12-6.
O’Brien then added a penalty goal before Robert Lui threw a wonderful pass to centre Kris Welham who kept his nerve to send young Jake Bibby in at the corner. O’Brien just dragged the kick wide but Salford were well in the driving seat 18-6 at half time.
It was the perfect start to the second half when Robert Lui raced in for a try inside the first minute. O’Brien adding the goal 24-6.
Rovers continued to battle with ex Red Devil Tommy Lee working overtime in the middle along with impressive young half back Chris Atkin. O’Brien added another penalty 26-6 before lively Hull KR full back Adam Quinlan touched down 26-12.
Rovers joy was short lived when lovely handling from Littlejohn and O’Brien sent Niall Evalds over the try line. The exciting Evalds then grabbed his second after good strong running from Sau.
Ian Watson was delighted after the game praising his pack for another hard working display, man of the match Junior Sau was singled out for a special mention along with hard working hookers Logan Tomkins and Josh Wood.
An excellent nights work for the Red Devil’s to get the season off the mark. Salford who seem to be growing in confidence every week face a trip to St Helens in seven days time.
Final score Salford Red Devil’s 36 Hull Kingston Rovers 12.
Photographs by G Lyons