One of the most prestigious trophies in British Sport the Rugby League Challenge cup, a prize that Salford got so close to in 2020.
This years campaign started with a home tie against cup kings of yesteryear Widnes Vikings. Widnes were regular visitors to Wembley Stadium during the 70s and 80s. The clubs last cup final was back in 1993 when they were beaten against Wigan in a very close contest 20-14.
Over recent seasons Widnes have hit some hard times but have worked through them well to start re building. Like Salford they are a proud club with a very famous history.
Once again the AJ Bell Stadium pitch was in supreme condition looking like a well laid carpet as the two sides marched out for kick off.
Salford coach Richard Marshall made some significant changes. Morgan Escare came in at fullback to replace the injured Dan Sarginson. Matty Costello made his debut at centre with Darcy Lussick on the bench. Dec Patton started at hooker and Krisnan Inu returned to the starting thirteen after missing last weeks match.
The Vikings showed plenty of attacking ambition in the early stages but Salford got the games first points after Jack Ormondroyd burst through for the Supporting Escare to score under the posts.
Salford soon doubled their lead after good work from Tui Lolohea. The ball went out wide for Matty Costello to score a debut try. Inu’s second conversion made it 12-0 after twenty minutes.
Escare looked very sharp with the Vikings struggling to deal with his pace and quick feet. Minutes after his first try Costello was in again for another after more smooth attacking play from the Red Devils. Inu made it 3/3. 18-0.
Widnes continued to create half chances but couldn’t nail anything to the mast.
As the half time hooter approached Lolohea raced away to score Salford’s fourth try under the posts with Inu again adding the goal.
The Vikings were rewarded right on half time with a well worked try in the corner from Daniel Hill.
Salford hit the ground running in the second half with an early try from Dec Patton. The hooker went over from dummy half close to the line.
More good support play saw another try, this time Andy Ackers went over, the Red Devils were now coasting through the gears.
Salford’s next try was scored by Sebastine Ikahihifo powering over from close range. Shortly after that Pauli Pauli did the spade work to set up Kallum Watkins for an easy try. Krisnan Inu again was faultless with the boot making it 8/8.
Jack Ormondroyd scored a well deserved try after a really hard working display. He charged over with a nice turn of pace as the match entered the closing stages. Widnes were looking a tired side by now after being run ragged through the second half. Andy Ackers ran at a very jaded defence before setting Rhys Williams up for Salford’s tenth try of the match.
The tries were coming in quick succession and next up was a lovely move down Salford’s left edge. Clean crisp passing saw Costello feed Escare who scampered over. Chris Atkin scored Salford’s final try on the next set as the final hooter sounded.
Salford will now await their fate in the Quarter final draw. A very comfortable victory and a much needed confidence boost this afternoon.
Salford 68 Widnes 4.