The early season top of the table clash between Salford and St Helens did not disappoint on Thursday night at the AJ Bell Stadium as Saints beat Red Devils 4-26.
A James Roby double and a strong defensive effort meant that Saints 100% start to the season continued.
The Red Devils lost Josh Griffin just moments before the game with a hamstring injury and Daniel Murray stepped in to start at Loose Forward.
Despite this, it was Salford who were the first team to get the ball over the try line. However, Jansin Turgut was held up by a stern St Helens defence.
Lee Mossop would then leave the field for the Red Devils after seeming to re-injure the knee that had been bothering him throughout the week.
After 12 minutes of score-less play, St Helens thought they’d managed to ground the ball in the in-goal area after Theo Fages’ high kick on the last tackle. However, Dominic Peyroux missed the ball and was also penalised for pulling back Jackson Hastings.
Just a few minutes later the deadlock was broken though, as Saints charged up the middle of the park and Fages’ high kick was claimed by Mark Percival, who jumped higher than Derrell Olpherts and the centre ran in ten metres to score. Lachlan Coote was successful with the conversion.
With just over half an hour played, Saints scored their second try as Jonny Lomax received at pass from Fages out the back and attacked the space, brushed off Robert Lui and slid over the line. Coote dragged the conversion wide and Saints led by ten points.
James Roby then grabbed a try of his own on the stroke of half-time. The hooker followed up a Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook run by picking the ball up at the play-the-ball and scoot over the line to score. Coote converted successfully as half-time whistle blew.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 0-16 St Helens
The second started exactly the same as the first with both sides completing their sets well in attack and restricting their opposition defensively.
The Saints nearly scored a fourth try in the 48th minute with Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson linking well to break down the left hand edge but Hastings chased across the park to make a try-saving tackle just a metre from his own try-line on Makinson.
In the 54th minute, the home-side managed to pull a score back through Derrell Olpherts. The Red Devils winger jumped higher than Mark Percival and Regan Grace to claim Robert Lui’s high kick and touch the ball down. Ken Sio hit the upright with his conversion attempt and Saints led by 12.
The lead was then pushed back up to 16 points as the ball was shifted from right to left from the base of an attacking scrum and Coote released Regan Grace who dived over in the corner just before the hour mark. Coote was once again unsuccessful from the tee.
St Helens win was then all but sealed in the 75th minute as Tommy Makinson once again broke down the right hand edge, he was brought down by Niall Evalds but a quick play the ball allowed Saints to catch the Red Devils on the back foot and Roby brushed off Ken Sio to score. Coote converted once more and the away side led by 22 points with around four minutes remaining.
No further action occurred in the game and referee Ben Thaler blew his final whistle.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 4-26 St Helens
Man of the Match – James Roby
Once again the hooker was an absolute animal for Saints. Roby managed to grab himself a brace as he led his side to a 22 point win away at Salford to continue the 100% start to their season. He was not afraid to put his body on the line and was quick thinking in attack to score and set up a number of good attacking chances.
Salford Red Devils:
Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Ken Sio, Robert Lui, Jackson Hastings, Lee Mossop, Joey Lussick, Gil Dudson, Josh Jones, Jansin Turgut, Daniel Murray.
Subs: Greg Burke, Ben Nakubuwai, Tyrone McCarthy, Logan Tomkins.
Ken Sio (0/1)
Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Matty Costello, Mark Percival, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Zeb Taia, Dominic Peyroux, Morgan Knowles.
Subs: Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Matty Lees.
Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, James Roby (2), Regan Grace
Lachlan Coote (3/5)