Leeds Rhinos picked up a hard fought victory on Easter Monday, as they battled past Salford Red Devils in testing conditions.
Ash Handley grabbed his seventh try in four games to help Leeds Rhinos to a comfortable 20-0 Easter Monday victory over Salford Red Devils.
It is now 11 straight victories at home in this fixture for Brian McDermott’s men, as they handled the conditions better to come out on top.
Tom Briscoe opened the scoring after just seven minutes, as the ball was shipped wide to the winger who finished in the right corner.
It took a further 12 minutes for the next score, as Handley continued his fine scoring form by pouncing on a knock-on from Niall Evalds inside his own in-goal.
It took a great try saving tackle from Stevie Ward to keep the Rhinos line in-tact, as he denied Jake Bibby.
A pair of penalty goals from Kallum Watkins in increasingly deteriorating conditions extended the hosts lead, before Logan Tomkins was held up over the line to again deny the Red Devils.
With two minutes left on the clock, Josh Walters used the greasy surface to his advantage as he dove over from close range to round-off the victory for the Rhinos.
Salford will be hoping that an injury to Evalds isn’t too serious, as he came off second best in an unfortunate collision with Richie Myler.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
RHINOS RALLY IN THE RAIN
If last year’s Grand Final taught us anything about Leeds Rhinos it is that they can execute a game plan no matter what the conditions. They did just that in the driving rain on Monday, and continued to show signs of a side who will be vying for a place in the big dance at Old Trafford once again. Three points from a possible four is a great feat during the most physically demanding stage of the season.
DEVILS DOWN BUT NOT OUT
Results against Leeds Rhinos will not define the season of Salford Red Devils as while their opponents are battling for titles, they will be looking to snatch a place inside the top eight. Ian Watson’s men will take positives from the Easter period following their win over Catalans Dragons, and will be looking to continue picking up points against the teams around them.
Man Of The Match- Josh Walters, Leeds Rhinos
Although Richie Myler picked up the club man of the match, young forward Josh Walters was outstanding and even capped his performance with a late try. He worked hard in the testing conditions, and stood up to fill the void left by some senior players who were missing due to injury.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott
“Backing up from Friday is always a challenge, but with that said I thought we played really well. With everything considered, I thought it was a really good performance.
“I thought Salford threw a bit at us, they certainly had some possession at us. It’s not easy to defend your try line, it’s a difficult thing to do, and that was a real stand-out out of today.”
Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson
“The effort was really good to be fair, some of the young lads I thought were outstanding. In particular Ryan Lannon, it’s his first game this year and I thought he worked really hard for us.
“I just thought Leeds probably at the back end of the game showed us how you play those conditions. It was never going to be one of those fancy games where you can move the ball about all over the place, it was probably more about doing the tough stuff today. I thought we did that for a large majority of the game, we just didn’t take our opportunities when we got in good ball.”
LEEDS RHINOS 20
Tries: Briscoe (7), Hadley (19), Walters (78)
Goals: Watkins 4
Drop Goals: n/a
SALFORD RED DEVILS 0
Drop Goals: n/a
LEEDS RHINOS: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Kallum Watkins, Ash Handley, Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, Richie Myler, Brett Delaney, Matt Parcell, Brad Singleton, Carl Ablett, Stevie Ward, Josh Walters. Subs: Brad Dwyer, Brett Ferres, Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oledzki.
SALFORD RED DEVILS: Niall Evalds, Jake Bibby, Kris Welham, Junior S’au, Derrel Olpherts, Robert Lui, Josh Wood, Ben Nakubuwai, Logan Tomkins, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Luke Burgess, Dan Murray. Subs: Jack Littlejohn, Weller Hauraki, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon.