Salford Red Devils fell to a disappointing 14-46 defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos bringing to an end their 100% start to the 2019 Betfred Super League season.
Joey Lussick opened the scoring at the AJ Bell Stadium, but Adam Cuthbertson, Jack Walker and Konrad Hurrell all scored within six minutes to give the Rhinos the advantage heading into the break.
In similar fashion, the Red Devils scored first in the second half through Josh Jones, but Leeds would run away with the game with Walker completing a hat-trick, Hurrell notching a brace and tries from Matt Parcell and Ash Handley.
It was a positive start for Salford as, after just seven minutes, Lussick managed to burrow his way over the try-line from a few metres out. Ken Sio converted.
Leeds would level the scores after off-season signing Trent Merrin found Cuthbertson with a neat offload. The Rhinos immediately followed with another try as Walker broke clear of the Salford defence. Leeds would complete a purple patch of three tries in six minutes as Hurrell latched onto a low Lolohea grubber kick. The half-back successfully converted all three tries.
The Red Devils narrowed the gap just three minutes after the interval as Jones managed to carry three defenders over the line. Sio converted. Salford almost followed up with another try as Junior Sa’u went over but couldn’t ground the ball under pressure from three Leeds defenders.
On the 50-minute mark, Jansin Turgut would be sent to the sin-bin for an altercation at the play-the-ball. Lolohea successfully kicked at goal from the resulting penalty but Sio would close the deficit back to six points with a penalty goal of his own three minutes later.
However, Leeds would run away with the game in the final twenty minutes. Hurrell stepped over for his second of the game before hooker Parcell jinked his way over from acting half-back. Lolohea’s conversion opened up a 16-point lead.
Another try would come a few minutes later as Walker collected a clever low kick from Lolohea and the full-back would round off his hat-trick just two minutes after as he finished a flowing Leeds move from inside their own half. Handley crossed with ten minutes remaining to finish the scoring.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Sio; Lui, Hastings; Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burke, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Griffin.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Hurrell, Handley; Lolohea, Myler; Peteru, Dwyer, Cuthbertson, Ferres, Ward, Merrin.
Interchanges: Parcell, Donaldson, Smith, Singleton.
Salford Tries: Lussick (7’), Jones (43’).
Salford Goals: Sio (8’, 44’, 56’).
Leeds Tries: Cuthbertson (16’), Walker (20’ 65’, 67’), Hurrell (22’, 58’), Parcell (62’), Handley (71’).
Leeds Goals: Lolohea (17’, 21’ 23’, 51’, 63’, 66’ 68’)
Salford Sin-Bin: Turgut (50’)
Referee: James Child.