Salford picked up their first points of the 2018 Betfred Super League season with a comfortable 36-12 win over Hull KR at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Full-back Gareth O’Brien, the man whose drop goal condemned Hull KR to relegation in 2016, was again a central figure for Salford, scoring 16 points and also providing two assists.
It was an unhappy return for Hull KR coach Tim Sheens who spent two years at Salford alongside current Salford coach Ian Watson.
Hull KR made the perfect start with a try in the third minute. Centre Thomas Minns was first to react to a kick through by Ryan Shaw, who kicked the extras for a 6-0 lead.
The response from the home side was almost immediate – O’Brien kicked ahead on the last tackle and the ball evaded the Rovers defence, allowing O’Brien to regather and score. He also kicked the conversion.
O’Brien was involved again as Salford scored their second try. His pass sent Junior Sa’u through a gap after good play between Josh Wood and Jack Littlejohn.
O’Brien also kicked the goal to give the home side a 12-6 lead and then added a penalty shortly.
Salford scored their third try when Robert Lui’s saw Jake Bibby squeeze in at the corner for an 18-6 interval lead.
Salford stretched their lead to 26-6 with a converted Lui try and O’Brien penalty.
Hull KR hinted at a comeback with a converted Adam Qunilan try, but Salford confirmed their first win since last September with two tries in the final 13 minutes from Niall Evalds.
Salford: O’Brien, Evalds, Sa’u, Welham, Bibby, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy. Substitutes: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Kopczak.
Hull K R: Quinlan, Shaw, Hefernan, Minns, Carney, Atkin, Blair, Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Kavanagh, Greenwood, Mulhern. Substitutes: Lunt, Scruton, Tickle, Salter.
Referee: J Child (RFL).