Salford Red Devils 26-12 Leeds Rhinos: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

Things keep getting worse for Leeds. The Rhinos went down for the fifth time in six games to start the season tonight.

It was a great win for Salford, but the question remains: what’s going wrong at Leeds?

Highlights:

Jack Walker back to his best

In 2017, still a teenager, Jack Walker burst onto the scene with a Challenge Cup hat-trick and a Grand Final win. Over the next few years, he developed and by the start of 2020 he looked like he was set to be one of Super League’s star fullbacks scoring three tries in four games and picking up a few assists. However, injury stifled his progression and going into 2022 it had been over a year since he last played. But in the last few weeks, starting with the win at Wakefield, he’s looked as dynamic as ever and his assist for Ash Handley’s first half try showed just that. Walker was great in the first half and this assist was perhaps the best bit of skill in the first 40.

Salford show sharp decision making

Or was it? Salford’s first half score was a lovely try as well. The Red Devils put together a neat set play which left Ryan Brierley in a dangerous spot. With the defence closing in, he had to make the right decision and that he did with a delicate grubber kick for Ken Sio to score yet another try.

Joe Burgess changes the game in an instant

Salford had been a little uninspiring in the second 40 despite playing against a Leeds side more often than not down a man. However, with Leeds coming at them, Aidan Sezer’s kick was fielded by Joe Burgess who then ran down field on the back of a quick 20 metre restart. A tackle later, Chris Atkin was diving in for a decisive try.

Talking Points:

1. Six again and again and again
Both Richard Agar and Paul Rowley have been critical of this rule recently especially when Ryan Lannon was shown a yellow against Huddersfield for persistent six agains in what was described as a “secret rule” by the Salford coach. Tonight it was Bodene Thompson of Leeds hit with a yellow for just that as we saw two teams desperate for a win giving away extra tackles to their opponents in a game that just kept shifting in terms of momentum especially because of the number of set restarts given. After 50 minutes, Leeds had given away seven after all.

2. 12-man Leeds once more
For the fifth time in six games, Leeds were forced to spend time down to 12. Leeds were down a man for 20 minutes tonight thanks to the yellow dished out to Thompson and Zane Tetevano being the latest player to feel the pressure of the new clamp down. In days gone by, this tackle could’ve been overlooked, now it’s a yellow. The debate rages on whether this is right or wrong.

3. What next for Leeds?
Tonight was a must win game for Leeds if they wanted to gain some much needed momentum and stay in touch with the top of the table. But they now find themselves four points behind Salford and miles off the standards they set themselves. It’s hard to understand where it’s gone wrong for Leeds this season but they are in a hole at the moment especially the way the Rhinos capitulated in the last 12 minutes.

Player Ratings:

Salford Red Devils
1 Ryan Brierley – 8
2 Ken Sio – 7
28 Deon Cross – 8
4 Tim Lafai – 8
5 Joe Burgess – 8
6 Brodie Croft – 8
7 Marc Sneyd – 8
19 Jack Ormondroyd – 7
9 Andy Ackers – 8
29 Alex Gerrard – 6
16 Ryan Lannon – 7
11 Shane Wright – 6
13 Elijah Taylor – 7
Substitutes
10 Greg Burke – 6
15 King Vuniyayawa – 8
18 Chris Atkin – 7
20 Jack Wells – 6

Leeds Rhinos
1 Jack Walker – 8
20 Tom Briscoe – 7
23 Jack Broadbent – 7
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 6
5 Ash Handley – 7
6 Blake Austin – 5
7 Aidan Sezer – 5
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 8
9 Kruise Leeming – 6
13 Zane Tetevano – 6
11 James Bentley – 5
12 Rhyse Martin – 5
17 Cameron Smith – 5
Substitutes
14 Brad Dwyer – 5
15 Alex Mellor – 5
19 Bodene Thompson – 5
25 James Donaldson – 6

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James
James
5 months ago

There is a nonsense block of punditry and reporting when it comes to the “top clubs” of rugby League. The story is always about how they lost and why. This kind of outlook and journalism has a long history and says more about the coverage than the game or the performances. Leeds got out played so they lost. But there wouldn’t be much drama in that, would there?