Ninth faced tenth at the AJ Bell Stadium as the Salford Red Devils played hosts to a Leeds Rhinos side under their new coach, Rohan Smith, for the first time and boasting the return of several first team players after their injury lay-offs as they looked to register their third consecutive victory.
Paul Rowley’s side were looking to spoil the Rhinos party with a win which would lift them above their opponents as the scramble away from the bottom spot continued for both sides, with the bookies struggling to separate the sides, having made the Rhinos slight favourites.
Salford had the better of the early play and with seven minutes on the clock they exposed the Rhinos left edge defence with Dion Cross going through a manufactured hole in the defence to find Ken Sio who scored with some ease. Marc Sneyd was unable to convert from wide.
Within two minutes the Red Devils were in again, this time down the right-hand side with Harvey Livett and Tim Lafai combining to put Joe Burgess over. The Rhinos stunned as Sneyd added the conversion for a 10-0 lead.
Salford lost the ball on their own ten metres on eighteen minutes and on the second tackle a Rhyse Martin offload put Ash Handley free to go over in the corner. Martin was unable to add the conversion, the Rhinos still six behind after a quarter of the game.
Tyler Dupree had a try ruled out on twenty-six for a double-movement, the Rhinos breathing a sigh of relief at a fortuitous referee’s decision.
A grubber kick from Salford hit the post pad and was picked up by Andy Ackers to dot down for the third Salford try of the afternoon, Leeds at sixes and sevens as the Sneyd goal put the Red Devils 16-4 ahead after thirty-three minutes.
Tempers started to fray early in the second half, the captains receiving a warning.
The second half stalemate was ended on sixty-eight thanks to a Sneyd drop goal to extend the lead to three scores.
Within two minutes Ryan Brierley crossed under the sticks after a moment of magic from Brodie Croft as he broke the line and fed the full back to score under the uprights. Sneyd added the goal, and it was a well-deserved win for the Red Devils to ease them closer to the safety zone.
Andy Ackers was sin-binned on seventy-five for a professional foul and on the first play after the penalty Mikolaj Oledzki slid over off a Kruise Leeming pass. Martin couldn´t add the conversion, the Rhinos 8-23 behind and far too late for any kind of fightback.
A great performance from the Red Devils against a Leeds Rhinos side who should have felt the benefit bounce of a new coach and the advantage of their returning troops and new signing. The Rhinos were never in the game and looked at sixes and sevens with no way through a resolute Salford defence, and no answer as they exploited the wings early.
Salford Red Devils: Brierley (T), Sio (T), Cross, Lafai, Burgess (T), Croft, Sneyd (3G), Luckley, Ackers (T, SB on 75), Ormondroyd, Watkins, Addy, Taylor. Subs: Livett, Escare, Vuniyayawa, Dupree.
Leeds Rhinos: Myler, Fusitu´a, Hardaker, Broadbent, Handley (T), Leeming, Austin, Oledzki (T), Dwyer, Tetevano, Bentley, Martin, Smith. Subs: Walters, Donaldson, Thompson, Connor.
Score Progression: 4-0, 8-0, 10-0, 10-4, 14-4, 16-4 : HT : 17-4, 21-4, 23-4, (SB), 23-8: FT.
Referee: James Child.