It’s been a wild week in Super League, one full of cinema scripts and heroic stories.
But right up there has to be one of the performances of the season from Salford to defeat reigning Champions St Helens by a whopping scoreline of 44-12.
Lafai’s standing ovation
Tim Lafai left the field after the 70 minute mark to a standing ovation and rightly so. His power and offloading ability allowed him to routinely devastate the St Helens defence.
Watkins back to his old self
This season has been one in which Kallum Watkins has rediscovered himself though playing as a second-row. Today he got a deserved brace showing that poacher’s instinct still within him.
Brodie Croft might just be Super League’s most underrated player and he again showed that today with some lovely touches to create tries for others before scoring one himself.
When you’re up against the Champions, the last thing you want to do is give them an early leg up but that’s what Salford did today as Tim Lafai’s break was squandered by a drop ball before the Red Devils immediately gave away a penalty allowing the Saints to probe.
But, when you’re up against the in form Salford Red Devils the last thing you want to do is them an early leg up and that’s what St Helens did as Elijah Taylor intercepted a loose pass to get Salford going. Joe Burgess then did something similar a few minutes later as the Saints struggled uncharacteristically to get a foothold in the game.
That was succeeded by a penalty for a high tackle on Burgess before Salford capitalised. After lovely interplay between some forwards including Alex Gerrard, Sitaleki Akauola went over for the try leaving Marc Sneyd with the relatively simple job of converting.
Then St Helens’ poor start was compounded when they kicked the restart out on the full and moments later a Tim Lafai offload this time stuck as Joe Burgess went over to make it 10-0 after 15 minutes.
The Red Devils soon made it three back-to-back tries in a move again started by a Lafai offload. Burgess broke down field before finding the returning Dan Sarginson to score. Sneyd’s second conversion made it 16-0 after just 19 minutes.
Salford’s dominance didn’t let up either as a long Brodie Croft ball sent Ken Sio down the wing before he found the supporting Kallum Watkins who went in for the try to make it 20-0 and try five swiftly followed again from Burgess as he finished off another lovely break.
Sneyd’s third conversion made it 26-0 but he failed to add another two points on the stroke of halftime but it didn’t matter too much as they still led 26-0 at the break.
The start to the second half was much slower with St Helens carving out a a chance that was denied by stern defence forcing them into touch.
That was frustrating but things only got worse when Greg Burke burst through to score under the sticks making it 32-0.
Jonny Lomax was then withdrawn due to a Head Injury Assessment though in his absence Saints finally got on the score board as Jack Welsby burst magnificently from a scrum inside his own half to score.
Saints were perhaps dreaming of a comeback like the one Leeds conjured up yesterday but that was soon stamped out by Kallum Watkins’ second. This again came from a Burgess break before Chris Atkin and Croft combined to send Watkins over.
Uncharacteristically, Ken Sio had yet to score but he’d have a hand in Salford’s eighth try of a remarkable afternoon. He managed to get Salford out of danger at one end before Lafai again proved devastating sending Croft away for a deserved try.
So by the time Lomax returned to the game, it was all but over though there was still time for Taylor to be shown a yellow card opening the door for St Helens to have the last say as Alex Walmsley quintessentially burst through to score.