Salford have got their 2016 off positively with a solid win, defeating a plucky Rochdale 44-16 at Spotland Stadium.
It was a nervous opening for Salford but the Super League side found their groove in the second half to post a big victory.
The Hornets started well, a series of penalies against Salford giving them some decent field position.
Rochdale got over the line first but the try was chalked off for a forward pass. But on trial winger Chris Riley, who was at Wakefield last season, broke the deadlock with an easy try out wide.
Paul Crook nailed the conversion from the sideline to give the Hornets an early 6-0 lead.
Some committed Hornets’ defence and some simple errors from the visitors kept Salford scoreless.
And Rochdale were over again after a lovely support run from Dave Cookson. Crook converted and it was the home team 12-0 up.
Former North Queensland halfback Robert Lui showed his class with a simple show and go to score Salford’s first try.
Michael Dobson added the extras to make it 12-6.
Lui’s try lifted the visitors and they started to pin Rochdale down in their half.
Matty Sarsfield juggled the ball but managed to ground it for Salford’s second four-pointer. Dobson converted and the score was level at 12-12.
Just before half-time Carl Foster barged over to give the Red Devils a 18-12 lead at the interval.
Salford came out of the sheds with new committment.
In the second half Carney got his first try for his new club, leaping high to take a cross-field kick.
Dobson couldn’t convert but Salford had a comfortable 22-12 buffer.
The Red Devils then got on a roll and the League 1 Hornets found it hard to respond.
Niall Evalds was the next to score for Salford, also regathering a smart kick in behind in the Rochdale defence.
The conversion from Josh Griffin made the score 28-12.
Rochdale managed to respond with a try after an in-goal scramble through Cookson, notching his second try on debut.
But Salford hit back with a simple touch down from Junio Sa’u, Griffin converting from out wide to make it 34-16.
Before full-time Olsi Krasniqi got in on the action with another try down the Hornets’ right side, closing out the game 40-16.
And then in the final seconds Griffin got the scoresheet for s try of his own, after he was the first to a well-placed kick, to finally finish Rochdale off.
A crowd of 1,325 was on hand to watch the friendly.