Super League: Salford Red Devils 24-50 Leeds Rhinos
|Betfred Super League|
|Salford (6) 24|
|Tries: Wood, Murdoch-Masila 2, Dobson Goals: Dobson 4|
|Leeds (36) 50|
|Tries: Hall, Briscoe 2, Watkins, Parcell, Moon, Jones-Buchanan, Mullally, Walker Goals: Watkins 3, Lilley 4|
Leeds Rhinos moved above Salford into second place in the Super League table, running in nine tries in a crushing victory at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Josh Wood's score put the Red Devils ahead after a nervy Leeds start.
Rhinos were then at their superb best, Ryan Hall's muscular run and finish the first of seven tries in a first-half burst of 36 unanswered points.
The hosts improved and hit back with Ben Murdoch-Masila twice crashing over, but Leeds were always in control.
Salford, who are now two points behind the Rhinos and remain 10 adrift of leaders Castleford, had no response to a blistering opening period by the visitors which saw them miss tackles and fail to deal with numerous line breaks.
Tom Briscoe touched down for Leeds' second try after sustained pressure, centre Kallum Watkins went over in the corner after a smart dummy and a fourth try arrived when Matt Parcell dived over after some quick thinking by Keith Galloway.
Centre Watkins then had to be replaced following a high tackle by Junior Sa'u, who was sin-binned, but that did not stop the visitors' flow.
Joel Moon stretched the lead further, Jamie Jones-Buchanan carved open the home defence to go over and Briscoe's eighth try of the season ensured a 36-6 interval lead.
The excellent Murdoch-Masila's powerful second-half double gave the Red Devils some hope and Michael Dobson also went over.
But Anthony Mullally settled any nerves and teenage full-back Jack Walker's last-gasp try ensured a 50-point haul and sealed a stylish win.
Salford coach Ian Watson: "Leeds played really well straight from the kick-off and taught us a lesson on how you play a top-of-the-table clash.
"It's a lesson we need to learn. We were not happy with the way we started the game. To say we were off is a massive understatement.
"We are normally a group that work really hard for each other but in the first half our attitude was off.
"Leeds got on the front foot and played too fast for us. If you can't control the speed of the ruck, you are in for a long day and we were constantly on the back foot."
Leeds coach Brian McDermott: "Danny McGuire's involvement is still of an extremely high quality and it was the most dominant I've seen Ryan Hall for some time.
"We were outstanding in the first half and we were very committed in the second half when Salford made more of a contest of it. In the past when we've had a chance to perhaps go top or second, we haven't quite grasped it but we looked very focused in the first half.
"Salford are not in a false position, we knew they are a good team, and sometimes you have got to fear the opposition to bring out the best in you. We were on our guard.
"I don't have much of an issue with the second half because it was more about Salford switching on and being good than us dropping off.
"It was the first dry track we've been on for a while and I think that played a part. Offensively, that's as good as we've been for a long time."
Salford Red Devils: O'Brien, Evalds, Sa'u, Welham, Johnson, Lui, Dobson, Tasi, Wood, Kopczak, Jones, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki.
Replacements: Brinning, Griffin, Krasniqi, Lannon.
Leeds Rhinos: Walker, Briscoe, Watkins, Ward, Hall, Moon, McGuire, Galloway, Parcell, Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ablett, Cuthbertson.
Replacements: Garbutt, Mullally, Walters, Lilley.
Referee: James Child (RFL).