SAINTS racked up their first win of the campaign with a comprehensive 56-20 win over Salford at the Willows.
Royce Simmons’ sprightly and lively team ran in ten tries as they completely overwhelmed their opponents.
Led by James Roby, Saints were simply irresistible in a first half that brought seven tries and some of the most breathtaking Rugby League they’ve ever produced.
They cut through the Reds’ defence at will with Chris Flannery, Roby, Francis Meli, Jonny Lomax and Ade Gardner all crossing to complement a brace from Kyle Eastmond.
Tony Puletua led from the front and his back door pass for Eastmond’s second was worth the admission fee alone.
In the second half, both sides traded early scores before Paul Clough twisted over.
Saints continued to ratchet up the pressure and were rewarded when Michael Shenton tallied his first of the campaign.
Eastmond could have had another two as he continued to torment the defence but Salford had the last laugh with a cheeky Stefan Ratchford marker and late Jodie Broughton try.
Pre match, all talk centred on if Royce Simmons could call on captain Paul Wellens to bolster his injury hit charges.
But the full-back didn’t recover from a rib problem and that meant Jonny Lomax reverting to full back whilst Tony Puletua took up the prop berth.
Lee Gaskell made his first appearance of the season in the stand-off spot, whilst young Tommy Makinson was on the bench for his debut.
For Salford, Matty Smith came in as hooker for the suspended Wayne Godwin as the Reds looked to record their third win in a row over the Saints.
Early doors, Salford had a penalty to put pressure on Saints’ line but in a hint of what was to come, Jonny Lomax collected the ball before it went into touch and returned it with interest.
And from an excellent passage of attacking play, Chris Flannery latched onto a Lee Gaskell stab forward to put his side ahead.
Jamie Foster converting.
Moments later Wilkin’s fine chip through was collected by a nippy and ever-alert Kyle Eastmond.
Saints were on fire and from the restart Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook flew down the right to gain valuable field position. But as the ball went left, it went to ground with the try line begging.
It was a mistake Salford punished as on the back of a penalty, they scored through Luke Pattern. Dan Holdsworth converting off the touchline.
But three penalties in a row had Salford rocking once more and Saints scored the softest of tries down the left through James Roby. Foster adding the extras at a tight angle.
On 26 minutes, Saints could have had another after a high ball from Gaskell was put to ground.
But the inevitable was coming as less than two minutes later Eastmond produced an outrageous run and when the ball was recycled, Gaskell had Meli over in the corner.
Five minutes later Tony Puletua hit the line, threw a sublime pass out of the back door and Eastmond mopped up. Quite simply a wonderful piece of skill that simply underlined Saints’ dominance in the pack.
The tries continued with Eastmond putting Lomax over just moments later.
And if it couldn’t have got any worse for the homesters, Salford kicked the restart out on the full and from the penalty, the ball came right and Gardner added another. Foster unlucky with the conversion.
Half Time: Saints 38 Salford 6
Simmons would have asked Saints to pick up from where they left off in the second half; but it couldn’t have started much worse.
Knocking on from the kick-off to gift the Reds the ball, Ashley Gibson finished off a fine move.
But in an exact carbon copy, from Saints’ restart, Salford knocked on and Lee Gaskell scored.
Foster’s conversion bringing some normality to the match.
It was a fine piece of skill from Gaskell though, controlling the knock on (off Pattern’s face), on the volley into his hands.
47 minutes gone and this time Paul Clough was spinning over with Foster adding his seventh of the night.
Michael Shenton then brought up Saints 10th try before Salford grabbed late consolations through Ratchford and Broughton.
Tries: Pattern, Gibson, Ratchford, Broughton
Goals: Holdsworth (3 from 4)
Tries: Flannery, Eastmond (2), Roby, Meli, Lomax, Gardner, Gaskell, Clough, Shenton
Goals: Foster (8 from 10)
HT (Sts First): 38-6
FT (Sts First): 56-22
REF: R Hicks
1. Luke Patten; 2. Jodie Broughton, 3. Mark Henry, 4. Chris Nero, 5. Ashley Gibson; 6. Stefan Ratchford, 7. Daniel Holdsworth; 8. Ray Cashmere, 14. Matty Smith, 16. Robert Parker, 15. Luke Adamson, 18. Adam Sidlow, 13. Stephen Wild.
Subs: 10. Lee Jewitt, 17. Iafeta Palea’aesina, 22. Adam Neal, 25. Jack Spencer.
20. Jonny Lomax; 2. Ade Gardner, 3. Michael Shenton, 5. Francis Meli, 22. Jamie Foster; 25, Lee Gaskell, 7. Kyle Eastmond; 15. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 9. James Roby, 11. Tony Puletua, 13. Chris Flannery, 4. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 14. Scott Moore, 16. Paul Clough, 21. Shaun Magennis, 28. Tom Makinson.