Despite current form and the general opinion in and around Rugby League circles, Leeds are still one of the most feared names in the sport. Salford supporters of most ages will have come to realise wins against The Loiners are quite rare and should be treasured. If you grew up in the 1970s when Salford played some of the best rugby our club has ever seen, victories against Leeds were hard to come by in the cup or league even then.How could one club cause another one some much heartache and disappointment.
Salford of 2019 come into today’s clash full of confidence after two very solid wins at the start of the season. This squad seem to have a point to prove after being written off by many people already. Coach Ian Watson is going about his business in the right way, quietly under the radar.
Bogey teams surely can’t go on forever, so could Salford put history aside this afternoon and keep hold of top spot in the League table?
The Rhinos have lost there first two matches, to be fair they were both away from home against last seasons Grand Finalists Warrington and Wigan. With continued Stadium renovation at Headingley this would be Leeds third away game on the season.
Salford remained unchanged for the third match running, perhaps it wasn’t expectation in the air but more a sense of hope and belief. With half backs Jackson Hastings and Robert Lui steering the ship anything seemed possible.
Spring definitely didn’t seem far away as the sides marched out for kick off. A fine mild day, with the pitch in immaculate condition, a perfect playing surface for fast flowing Rugby League. Full credit to the ground staff!
Salford got off to a super start in what felt like a cup tie atmosphere. Joey Lussick powering over from close range. Ken Sio converting the try6-0.
Leeds hit back with a try from prop forward Adam Cuthbertson with stand off Tui Lolohea levelling the scores with the boot.
On the very next set Kallum Watkins and Stevie Ward broke through the heart of the Salford defence before Jack Walker raced over for a well worked try.
Mistakes and silly errors were costing The Red Devils and from the kick off Lussick kicked out on the full gifting Leeds another penalty and attacking field position. By now The Rhinos were on a roll. A short attacking kick found Konrad Hurrell who touched down for Leeds third try without Salford touching the ball. 6-18.
The shell shocked Red Devils worked hard to try and get back in to the game and were unlucky not to score a try just before half time after a break from Hastings and Lui.
Whatever Ian Watson said at half time must have made an impact with his players. Josh Jones roared over for a well deserved try in the 44th minute. The block busting second rower putting in another outstanding performance. Sio converted to drag Salford right back into the match at 12-18.
Jansin Turgut was sin binned after a huge fracas between both sets of players.
It seemed a harsh decision, the original incident saw an altercation between Kris Welham and Leeds half back Ritchie Myler.
Salford kicked a penalty while down to 12 men to claw themselves to within one score of the visitors at 14-20.
The match then turned again as The Rhinos moved up a gear scoring three tries in a fantastic 6 minute spell. Hurrell grabbed his second before Matt Parcell dived over from dummy half. Jack Walker then scored his second try off a measured kick through.
Walker then completed his hat trick after Parcell had shot through some tired Salford defence. The young fullback had been a real thorn in the hosts side all afternoon.
Ash Handley rounded off the scoring for Leeds with a try in the corner.
A disappointing afternoon for Salford who were beaten in every department. The Leeds pack dominated for long spells and there pace in the backs came up with some special plays.
Salford Coach Ian Watson wasn’t overly concerned speaking after the match but felt this was a wake up call for his side. “We didn’t control the swings in momentum very well at all. Three quick tries in the first half, we’ve got to be better at turning the game on it’s head. The big key for us was where we finished our sets on our 40 metre line. Leeds were turning us over on our try line”.
Salford travel to East Hull next Saturday to face Hull Kingston Rovers. The Robins have started the season well winning both there home games against City rivals Hull and London respectively.