With the greatest respect a trip to Hull is not exactly a charabanc trip to the lights but Salford and their supporters enjoyed some golden time on Saturday.
Losing Joe Burgess and Oliver Partington after last weeks match at Warrington left Salford coach Paul Rowley the task of reshuffling his small squad. Rowley and his assistant Kurt Haggerty never seem fazed by anything as they take adversity in their stride. Rhys Williams slotted in perfectly on the wing with the versatile Chris Atkin taking Partington’s place at loose forward.
The weather was rather chilly but fine and dry. The conditions and pitch were perfect for fast flowing Rugby League.
Salford’s travelling support must of feared the worse when Jack Ormondroyd came up with an error in his own half allowing Hull the chance to attack. The home side took full advantage with Jake Clifford scoring the opening try of the match.
The Red Devils seemed to recover quickly from the early setback as Marc Sneyd put Ryan Brierley through a gap. The ball flew left to right through numerous pairs of hands before Deon Cross scampered over to level the scores with a fine try. Sneyd converted to nudge Salford in front.
Former Salford centre Josh Griffin gifted possession back to the visitors with a mistake in his own half. Sneyd this time set Shane Wright up who crashed through some very suspect Hull defence. Sneyd again converted and in no time Salford had turned things around to lead 4-12.
Hull lacked composure and looked well of the pace. This time Brodie Croft broke clear and with Brierley in support Salford were in again.
Then came a big moment in defence with Hull attacking. A top tackle from Croft and Sio denied Adam Swift a certain try.
Salford spurned the chance of two points from a penalty goal electing to run it and Tyler Dupree did the business from the tap galloping through some powderpuff tackling from the home side to score.
Every time Salford were in possession it looked like something would happen. The support play was outstanding and Hull had no answer to it.
Croft was once again the architect for Salford’s fifth try sending Wright motoring down the left flank. Sneyd failed to convert but Salford looked pretty comfortable at 4-28.
Just before the half time hooter Sneyd kicked a penalty goal from just over the half way line. A near perfect first half performance ended 4-30. A chorus of boos echoed round the stadium as the home side trudged off down the tunnel.
Momentum in modern day Rugby League can change so quickly. This made the first second half score very significant. Salford were ruthless and punished their hosts with three quick tries. Cross grabbed his second try just moments after the re-start and it become an eight point try after he was adjudged to have been fouled in the act of scoring by referee Chris Kendall. Brierley put a try on a plate for Kallum Watkins with a lovely measured kick. Then Sneyd ghosted through the shambolic Hull defence to score Salford’s eighth try and his conversion made it 4-50.
What followed next was poetry in motion. A real team try that you could never get tired of watching. Finishing off the exquisite passage of play was Tim Lafai.
Despite leading 4-56 Salford’s commitment in defence never wavered. Clifford was denied a try but some top tackling but Hull grabbed a try when Swift raced away showing sensational pace. Brad Fash powered over from close range before Salford had the final word with a tenth try of the afternoon to complete the demolition job. Lafai scored it to send the Salford supporters home absolutely thrilled with a golden performance.
Paul Rowley stayed very grounded speaking after the match but he looked pretty excited to what his team can achieve. The brand of rugby Salford play is breath taking to watch at times and they really are Super League’s entertainers.
The Red Devils face Wakefield next Sunday a side who’ve been nilled three matches running. Rowley and Haggerty know only to well that preparation is the key and they won5 be taking anything for granted. Next week is a new match and maximum effort will be needed to continue the good work.
Hull 14 Salford 60.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.