Salford City Reds won for the third successive weekend as they produced a truly devastating display to brush aside London Broncos 44-12.
The Premier League’s power balance is certainly shifting northwards this season with City and United sitting pretty at the summit, and Salford emulated their higher profile neighbours on Friday night with a crushing victory over Super League’s capital club.
Sean Gleeson and Chris Nero both scored twice as the Reds ran in eight tries to move up to 5th in the Super League table.
The pre-match talk on the touchline was the return of centre Joel Moon who had missed the previous two rounds with a wrist injury. He wasn’t expected to feature again until next week’s clash with Catalan Dragons but lined up on Friday night in a strong looking Reds side.
The Broncos actually started the better team and it was only great last-gasp defence from last-weeks hero Daniel Holdsworth which prevented the Londoners opening the scoring through fullback Michael Robertson.
The Reds finally clicked into gear after a quarter of an hour when a fabulous 40 metre break from the outstanding Luke Patten created the chance for winger Chris Nero to go over in the corner.
The lead was soon doubled as good hands from Iafeta Palea’asina and Daniel Holdsworth allowed Luke Adamson to stretch over the line before man of the match Matty Smith grabbed a try of his own after a good break by captain Stephen Wild.
Samoan Palea’asina made a significant impact from the replacements bench and crashed over himself for his second of the season to make the score 20-0 at the break and effectively end the match as a contest.
There was no let up for the Broncos after the interval as more good link up play from halfbacks Smith and Holdsworth saw centre Sean Gleeson cross for his first of the evening. The returning Moon then combined with Nero to score Salford’s sixth and then turned provider to put the ex-Bradford man away for his second of the night.
The score was 44-0 after Gleeson completed his brace shortly after the hour mark before Broncos finally breached the Reds defence to score two late consolation tries through David Howell and Antonio Kaufusi.
Head coach Phil Veivers was delighted with his side’s display and singled out the performances of the returning Joel Moon and Luke Patten but reserved special praise for his hard working forward pack.
“I am a happy coach with a smile on my face but it’s the forwards who deserve the special praise. The Broncos are a big unit and we knew the first 20 minutes were important, but our forwards laid the platform.
“For the first 65 minutes I was over the moon with our defence and we created a lot of opportunities, played some nice footy and scored some fine tries. We also bombed a few chances but we are a hungry bunch and work hard for each other.
“Joel Moon turned in a great stint coming back from injury and Luke Patten had his best game for Salford.”
Salford will certainly have to produce their ‘A’ game next weekend - the Reds face a daunting trip to the south of France as they travel to face the high-flying Catalan Dragons.
Spirits in the camp will be high and the Reds will certainly be looking to compete with a French side who themselves were edged out in a close contest with Wigan Warriors on Sunday afternoon.