Salford make it three from three in the Qualifiers with a big win at Halifax. Here’s our verdict…
Halifax started brightly and did take the lead after nine minutes, with Chester Butler starting things off with a great break. The ball was moved to Ben Heaton on the wing, who offloaded back inside to Sam Wood to scoop and score.
Salford’s response was swift though, as the ball was moved left after a penalty and Jackson Hastings spotted a gap and managed to stretch to the line.
Kris Welham then won the contest in the air after a kick on the last, allowing Rob Lui to pass outside to Ed Chamberlain to go over in the right corner. Fax were then undone by a kick again as Will Sharp dropped a high bomb, and Josh Jones slipped Derrell Olpherts into the corner.
Another penalty allowed Salford forward again and Ben Nakubuwai went over from close range, before two more tries in the final four minutes of the half effectively put the contest to bed.
A brilliant offload by Hastings allowed Olpherts to be played into the corner for his second, before Lui broke through the defence and offloaded to Chamberlain, who quickly passed back inside to Welham for another try.
They continued where they had left off in the second half, with Hastings involved again by making the break for Olpherts to complete his hat-trick.
Lama Tasi then broke through a tackle to drive over for the next, before Junior Sa’u powered over and was judged to have grounded the ball.
Hastings then spotted a gap and went through as Salford brought up 50 points, which was followed by possibly the simplest try of the game for Josh Wood.
Salford maintained the intensity right to the end, with Sa’u getting an impressive second by brilliantly keeping the ball in play and driving back inside to make it a dozen tries.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Salford a changed outfit
Salford will have come into the Qualifiers a little concerned for their top flight status after a disappointing regular campaign in which the lack of depth and quality in their squad was regularly exposed.
The arrival of Jackson Hastings in particular has changed everything, and the Red Devils are now the only side to have three wins out of three as they look to be easing towards safety.
It may have been part-time opposition but Halifax have been stubborn in their previous games, and Salford showed some great flair to blow them away, with the half-backs influential and bringing the best out of the players around them as well.
Struggle goes on
Halifax were competitive in their two Qualifiers matches prior to this, but despite a good start the game went away from them fast as they tired and the skills of the opposition really came through.
It was always going to be a struggle for the part-timers and they insist they aren’t in the Qualifiers to make up the numbers, but it was tough going for much of this game and things won’t get any easier with a trip to Hull KR next weekend.
Man of the Match – Jackson Hastings (Salford Red Devils)
Both half-backs could easily have claimed this award but Hastings just edges it over Lui as the recent arrivals continues to dazzle for Salford.
He came to England with a point to prove and is certainly doing that, and he was sensational here with two tries and three assists to his name.
His skill and flair on the ball, strong, decisive running and creativity have completed revitalised the Red Devils, and they will do very well to keep hold of him beyond the end of the season.
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford Red Devils 62
Tries: Hastings (2), Chamberlain, Olpherts (3), Nakubuwai, Welham, Tasi, Sa’u (2), Wood
Goals: Chamberlain (7)
Drop Goals: n/a
Halifax: Moss; Heaton, Wood, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Baldwinson; Tangata, Grady, Grix.
Interchanges: Maher, Moore, Cooper, Fairbank.
Salford: Evalds; Olpherts, Welham, Sau, Chamberlain; Lui, Hastings; Murray, Wood, Tasi; Jones, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Burke, Lussick.
Referee: Tom Grant