Previously unbeaten Salford were thrashed
Jack Walker grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Leeds got their Super League campaign up and running with a 46-14 thrashing of previously unbeaten Salford.
The Rhinos, under new coach David Furner, had lost their opening two games of the season at Warrington and Wigan but got off the mark in convincing fashion at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Leeds’ 19-year-old full-back Walker led the way with three tries, while centre Konrad Hurrell crossed twice and Matt Parcell, Ash Handley and Adam Cuthbertson also touched down, with Tuimoala Lolohea kicking seven goals.
In reply Salford, who went into the contest as Super League leaders, claimed tries through Joey Lussick and Josh Jones and three goals from Ken Sio.
The Red Devils were unchanged from the side that beat London Broncos 24-0, while Leeds made two changes from the defeat at Wigan as Cameron Smith and Brad Singleton came into the squad.
Salford opened the scoring after just seven minutes when hooker Lussick darted over from dummy half and Sio converted.
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But the visitors took control of the game with three tries in a stunning five-minute spell minute midway through the first half.
Cuthbertson collected Trent Merrin’s offload to crash over from close range and then a superb midfield break by Kallum Watkins saw him send the supporting Walker in under the posts for the full-back’s first try.
And when Salford put the restart out on the full it gave the Rhinos the position from which to claim another try as Lolohea’s kick was touched down by Hurrell.
Lolohea landed all three conversions as an entertaining half ended with the visitors holding a 12-point lead.
Salford reduced that deficit to just six points four minutes after the restart when on the sixth tackle Josh Jones manged to burrow through some poor defending to touch down and Sio converted.
But the home side were reduced to 12-men when Jansin Turgut was sent to the sin-bin for retaliation which caused a minor skirmish and Lolohea booted over the resulting penalty to make it 20-12.
A Sio penalty cut the Rhinos’ lead to six points but Hurrell’s second try of the game was followed four minutes later by a Parcell score.
Walker then claimed two tries in three minutes to complete his hat-trick and Handley also touched down to complete the rout.