The script was written for a Leeds win today in Rohan Smith’s first game in charge, Zak Hardaker’s second debut and all their returning talent.
But at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford tore out the last page and wrote their own ending with a comfortable win.
Back to back break away tries
Salford scored back to back break away tries early in the contest to set the tone for the piece. Deon Cross danced through and fed Ken Sio in the corner for a try before Harvey Livett broke down the opposite flank shortly after to set Joe Burgess up for Salford’s second try.
Masterpiece from Croft
Conductor Brodie Croft fashioned Salford’s two other tries as his grubber led to Andy Ackers’ try before his break saw Salford wrap up the win through a Ryan Brierley try.
One of the stories of Leeds’ season has been their struggles in attack to convert chances into tries and after they squandered an early chance or two, the Red Devils broke the deadlock. Unsurprisingly the try went the way of Ken Sio who seems to be scoring for fun again this season.
He crossed in the corner making it difficult for Marc Sneyd to add the extras leaving their lead at 4-0. A second try followed shortly after from other winger Joe Burgess and this time Sneyd made no mistake with the boot as he fired them 10-0 ahead.
Crucially for the Rhinos, they pulled one back after an error for Salford in their own half. Rhyse Martin put in Ash Handley but Martin missed the conversion leaving the score at 10-4.
However, the Rhinos were left licking wounds as Salford wiped out their score with a try just before the break. A grubber kick caused confusion at the back for Leeds and Andy Ackers capitalised to make it 16-4.
The second half lacked attacking potency from either side which left the game primed for a Marc Sneyd drop goal with 12 minutes to go to nudge the Red Devils further ahead.
If that didn’t kill the game then Ryan Brierley’s try did as he supported a Brodie Croft break to make it 23-4.
There was a consolation try for Leeds courtesy of Mikolaj Oledzki but it was too little too late and stops Leeds’ momentum dead in its tracks and after Toulouse’s win leaves them yanked back down into trouble as Rohan Smith’s time in charge gets off to the worst possible start.