Salford Red Devils came from behind to beat Leeds Rhinos 26-12, in what was a hard-fought victory at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday night.

It was a nightmare start for Salford as Ken Sio knocked on a pass in their first set, gifting Rhinos easy field position. Leeds thought they scored from the ensuing set through winger Ash Handley only for the TMO to chalk it off for a double movement.

Leeds did break the deadlock a few minutes later when an Aidan Sezer grubber caused havoc in the Salford backfield, allowing Leeds prop Mikolaj Oledzki to scoop up and score from short range.

The momentum then shifted Salford’s way. After Joe Burgess had a try disallowed for a foot in touch, Salford were finally able to convert consecutive sets into a try through Sio, the winger latching onto a Brierley grubber into the corner.

Leeds went back ahead 10 minutes before halftime after a beautiful bullet pass from fullback Jack Walker who put Handley in for a try.

After a period of Salford pressure on the Leeds line, and three set restarts, referee Jack Smith was forced to sin bin Leeds backrow Bodene Thompson. Salford kicked the penalty to go into the half time break 8-10 down.

Leeds went down to 12 men again 20 minutes into the second half when a swinging arm which injured Salford’s Sio, landed Leeds backrow Zane Tetevano in the sin bin.

The game changed after a moment of magic from Burgess, catching the ball in his own dead ball area surrounded by Leeds attackers before running 60 metres up field. The ball was then swept to the other wing where Cross set up Atkin to score. Sneyd nailing the conversion to put Salford ahead for the first time in the game, 14-12.

Salford put the nail in the coffin with just eight minutes to go, Elijah Taylor scoring a try from close range to send the AJ Bell into rapture.

There was time for another score for the home side, Brierley getting on the end of a midfield move to dive under the posts and make the score 26-12.

In the end the scoreline flattered the Red Devils but it is the two league points which will be important for Paul Rowley’s men. The win means Salford rise to seventh in the Super League table with a record of three wins and three losses while Leeds remain in 10th.

In his post-match press conference, Salford Head Coach Paul Rowley was beaming with pride for his team, he said: “It was nip and tuck, but we stuck to our beliefs.

“We don’t waiver in our belief, it is never an easy ride here and change is difficult. Against distinguished opposition like Leeds, it is almost a privilege.

“The crowd played a massive part in the event today; it is great to see.”

After receiving criticism in previous weeks for poor performances, Rowley did not put himself in the spotlight after the victory, instead choosing to herald his star winger Joe Burgess, calling out England coach Shaun Wane to pick the former Wigan player.

Rowley said: “It was a moment of magic from Joe Burgess who was brilliant all game, if I was the England coach I would be looking at him.

“He is 6 foot 3, rapid, brave, he has got everything!”

Salford travel to Wigan next Friday to play the Warriors in the Challenge Cup, looking to build on the positive momentum.

One Comment

  1. Peter Gilligan

    Great article again Ben. Factual and accurate. Great read 👍👍

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