Last year’s Betfred Challenge Cup runners-up Salford secured their place in this season’s quarter-finals with a comprehensive 68-4 win over Championship side Widnes at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Debutant centre Matt Costello and full-back Morgan Escare scored two tries apiece for the Red Devils while Krisnan Inu had a fine day with the boot, kicking 10 conversions from 12 attempts.
Despite being bottom of Super League and without a win to their name this year, Richard Marshall’s men always looked a step ahead of the injury-hit Vikings.
Escare broke the deadlock with a 13th-minute try, profiting from a fine break and pass by Jack Ormondroyd.
Then up stepped former St Helens man Costello to score twice in quick succession. His first came as a result of some good approach work from Chris Atkin, while the second was the result of a smart dummy. Inu added all three goals to give Salford an 18-0 lead.
Tui Lolohea got Salford’s fourth try five minutes before half-time as he was rewarded for supporting a dangerous break through the middle of the park by Rhys Williams.
Widnes got off the mark just before half-time when Shane Grady did well to get his arm free to pop up a pass for the supporting debutant Daniel Hill to collect and score. Jack Owen’s conversion smacked the post and bounced the wrong side of the crossbar.
Only four minutes of the second half had gone when Salford got over for their next try. Former Warrington man Dec Patton barged in from close range for a score.
Salford continued to dictate play, adding a try through Andy Ackers in the 49th minute which was once again improved by another successful Inu conversion to make it 36-6.
Seb Ikahihifo barged his way over from close range for a 58th-minute try before Kallum Watkins crossed moments later.
Ormondroyd, Williams, Escare and Atkin added further tries in the final eight minutes as Widnes finished well beaten.