Salford impress against Leeds – talking points & ratings

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Adam Walker bagged two tries to help Salford brush aside Leeds with a 28-16 win at the AJ Bell Stadium. 

Ian Watson made one change to his Salford side that beat London last week. Gil Dudson came in for Josh Wood.

Leeds coach Dave Furner made three changes to his outfit that defeated Hull KR last time out. Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Ava Seumanufagai and Nathaniel Peteru replaced Jack Walker, James Donaldson and Owen Trout.

Seumanufagai made his debut for the Rhinos following his move from NRL side Cronulla Sharks.

Salford started the game in fine fashion as Lee Mossop latched onto a Rob Lui kick to score, while Adam Walker barged over midway through the first half.

England Knights international Mikolaj Oledzki pulled one back for Leeds though with just over a minute of the first half remaining. Salford were 12-6 to the good at half-time though.

Joey Lussick, Walker and Lui crossed for tries in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for Leeds on the hour at 28-6.

Harry Newman and Ash Handley went over for Leeds late on but they proved only to be consolation tries. Despite their late fightback, Salford hung on for an impressive 28-16 victory.

Three talking points

Salford duo outstanding

The Red Devils must be credited on signing international duo Gil Dudson and Adam Walker for this season. They have been magnificent in 2019 and have been standouts in Salford’s campaign so far.

The signing of Wales front-rower Dudson didn’t ignite the Salford faithful at first because he had struggled with injuries at Widnes but it’s safe to say he looks fitter than ever and has become a fan favourite at the AJ Bell.

And with Walker returning from a drugs ban in March, a lot of fans didn’t really know how he would get on. However, he’s been one of Salford’s star signings in recent years and he has earned plenty of respect from his peers and supporters with his performances.

Leeds look toothless

It was actually surprising with how much the Rhinos lacked creativity when in Salford’s half. They were hardly doing anything with the ball and were just reverting to five drives and a kick for a lot of the game.

Liam Sutcliffe and Richie Myler in the halves has been tried before and even though they are both good individually, their partnership just didn’t click throughout the entire match.

Tonga international Tui Lolohea played at full-back and after a couple of months in Super League, it definitely looks as though full-back is his best position. One problem though, Jack Walker is also a fantastic full-back when fit.

Leeds need an organiser in the halves and they are crying out for a Danny McGuire at the minute.

Marshall spotted with Sinfield

Ex-Halifax coach Richard Marshall was spotted chatting to Leeds’ director of rugby Kevin Sinfield before the game and at half-time.

We don’t know what was said between the pair, so for all we know they could have been catching up on what is going on in the latest soaps or they could have been talking about the rugby, Leeds in particular (probably the latter!).

Marshall parted ways with Championship side Fax recently and with Leeds actively looking for an assistant coach following the departure of Jimmy Lowes, could we see Marshall at the Rhinos in an official capacity in the coming weeks? Only time will tell.

Line-ups and ratings

Salford: Evalds (8); Bibby (7), Inu (7), Welham (7), Olpherts (6); Lui (8), Hastings (8); Mossop (7), Lussick (8), Dudson (8), Jones (7), Griffin (7), Burke (7). Subs: Walker (9), Murray (6), Nakubuwai (7), McCarthy (7).

Tries: Mossop, Walker (2), Lussick, Lui Goals: Inu 4/5

Leeds: Lolohea (6); Briscoe (5), Newman (6), Watkins (6), Handley (6); Sutcliffe (6), Myler (5); Singleton (7), Parcell (6), Peteru (6), Jones-Buchanan (5), Smith (6), Merrin (7). Subs: Dwyer (5), Cuthbertson (6), Seumanufagai (6), Oledzki (6).

Tries: Oledzki, Newman, Handley Goals: Sutcliffe 2/3

Attendance: 3,368

Drew’s views

Salford receive a lot of unfair criticism at times for matters on and off the field, and they’ve got a small, but very well committed fanbase and some loyal playing personnel.

They are a very close group of players, with the youth and experience blended together perfectly by coach Watson. A place in the top five might just be too much for the Red Devils this season, but they seem to be improving year on year. Salford supporters should be mightily proud of their club’s efforts against big spenders Leeds.

As for the Rhinos, they need a half-back combination that works well together. They’ve been spoiled with the likes of McGuire and Rob Burrow over the years and it would be unfair to compare anyone to those club legends, but they lack organisation and skill in the halves. They need someone who can guide them around the park.

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