Salford Red Devils defeated Leeds Rhinos convincingly at the AJ Bell Stadium. Here’s what happened.
Salford secured a seventh win this season by comfortably dispatching a struggling Rhinos side, running in five tries in the process.
Tries from Lee Mossop and Adam Walker gave the hosts a 12-0 lead before Leeds prop Mikolaj Oledzki scored to give Leeds hope of a second half comeback. However, this wasn’t to be as Salford continued their dominance after the break.
Walker added his second whilst Joey Lussick and Robert Lui also scored to give Salford the edge. Lui had been sensational all night, assisting and generally making things happen for the Red Devils with his creativity. Fellow half Jackson Hastings was also a threat all game and the Rhinos struggled to contain the pair.
The Rhinos were clearly missing centre Konrad Hurrell and full back Jack Walker, both of whom missed the game through injury. However, young star Harry Newman came up with a try as did the Rhinos top try scorer, Ash Handley.
The defeat leaves the Rhinos just two points clear of bottom side London Broncos and will make their meeting at Magic Weekend in a few weeks time a must-win game for both sides. Their next Super League fixture will be against in-form Castleford and will be a real test after a massive derby game against Bradford next Saturday in the Challenge Cup.
Salford, on the other hand, are very much in-form and sit at sixth in the table, just two points off third-placed Wakefield. They will be hoping next week’s Challenge Cup fixture against Hull KR will not tire the team out too much. It will be interesting to see if they will rest some of their stars now that they have a chance at making a push in the league this season.
Time for concern at Headingley
Even considering the recent bad luck with injuries, the Rhinos have really not performed to expectations this season. Leeds seem to lack the same energy and effort seen in previous years and the recent departures may mean there is a lack of leadership in the dressing room.
Red Devils riding high
Salford have put together a strong run of form of late and will be looking to push on following the win over the Rhinos. After the Challenge Cup fixture against Hull KR, they will travel to table toppers St Helens and a victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium would convince many that this Salford side is the real deal.
Magic Weekend win a must for Leeds
The Rhinos will know that their Magic Weekend fixture against the London Broncos will be crucial to their survival. Looking at the team’s remaining fixtures, coach David Furner will surely be scratching his head at where the wins are going to come from. A loss to the Broncos would be a massive blow and would put the Rhinos in real trouble.
Brad Dwyer firmly number 9
Head coach David Furner made the decision to start hooker Matt Parcell in Friday’s game over the in-form Brad Dwyer and the Rhinos were clearly lacking Dwyer’s dynamic abilities before he was brought off the bench. This fixture will have cemented Dwyer as the best option at hooker for the Rhinos.
Tries: Mossop, Walker 2, Lussick, Lui
Goals: Inu 4
Drop Goals: n/a
Tries: Oledzki, Newman, Handley
Goals: Sutcliffe 2
Drop Goals: n/a
Salford: Evalds, Welham, Bibby, Lui, Mossop, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Lussick, Burke, Olpherts, Inu, Hastings
Interchanges: Walker, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Murray
Leeds: Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Lolohea, Myler, Parcell, Singleton, Merrin, Sutcliffe, Peteru, Jones-Buchanan, Smith, Newman
Interchanges: Cuthbertson, Dwyer, Oledzki, Seumanufagai