It would be impossible to try and paint a pleasant picture of Salford’s Saturday evening match against Leeds. The score line at the final hooter almost mirrored the terrific win over Hull a few weeks ago only this time Salford were on the wrong end of it.
Ken Sio was on the end of an early Salford break but unfortunately got injured in the tackle and had to be helped from the field. This was a major blow to Ian Watson’s game plan. The side had to be re shuffled and Leeds took full advantage catching Salford cold out wide on the side Sio would normally play. Ash Handley struck first before Richie Myler added the second. On the very next set following Myler’s try the Rhinos struck again. Robert Lui strolled through a big gap before putting half back partner Luke Gale in for an easy try.
At the midway point of the first half Salford trailing 16-0 needed a response. Make shift winger Chris Atkin finished off a lovely ball handling move with an airborne finish only to be denied by the video referee.
Leeds clicked back in to gear as Matt Prior’s precision off load went to Handley who raced away before the supporting Myler over for the Rhinos fourth try.
Handley grabbed his second try on the back of another Salford mistake to send Leeds to a half lead of 26-0.
The hard working Chris Atkin was helped from the field in the early stages of the second half with what looked like a rib injury.
Two tries in five minutes from live wire Niall Evalds gave Salford some comfort. Tui Lolohea converted both tries to reduce the deficit to 26-12.
That’s about as good as it got for the Red Devils. Lui powered over against his old club to increase Leeds’s match winning advantage before Mikolaj Oledzki charged under the posts.
Their was more injury worry for Salford in the closing stages when Josh Johnson had to be helped from the field. The hard working forward looked in considerable pain.
Two tries in the final five minutes saw Myler and Handley complete their respective hat tricks as the Rhinos hit 50 points.
A night to forget for Salford and their supporters. Maybe some mitigation with the situation after the Hull game and the lack of training will give Watson and his staff a platform to build from.
Salford face Castleford Tigers on Thursday afternoon in what looks another tough encounter.
Leeds 50 Salford 12.