With Hull FC parting ways with coach Lee Radford on the eve of lockdown, they entered the re-start under the stewardship of interim coach Andy Last as he took charge for the first time.
The sides were sat tenth and eighth in the table, a win for the Red Devils would do nothing for their league position unless it was a massive one, but for Hull FC a win would lift them to seventh, level on points with all of the sides ahead of them.
The Red Devils had been given an eight-point start on the coupon as they looked to regain some of the form which saw them reach Old Trafford for last season’s Grand Final. Few could see past an FC win, and the two points going away with the Airlie Birds.
An awful Salford mistake gifted the Airlie Birds the opening try. A grubber wasn’t collected by Dan Sarginson and as the ball rolled over the line Albert Kelly got his right hand on the ball to ground on the line. Marc Sneyd added the conversion and FC were off and running.
Salford benefitted from a tackle reset on eleven minutes with Ken Sio taking a long looking pass from Tui Lolohea to walk over the line from ten metres on a big overlap. Lolohea added the conversion to level the scores.
The Red Devils upset the form book and got their second on twenty-one when Lolohea pushed aside three tacklers with an aggressive run from ten metres to crash down on the line. Lolohea added the extras to put his side six ahead.
On twenty-five Lolohea got his second in four minutes chasing a kick towards the posts from the right wing and stooping to ground. The stand-off converted his own try for 18-6, eighteen unanswered points from a Red Devils side who were getting on a roll.
Salford were having a party. On the half hour Rhys Williams stretched over in the left corner with three tacklers attached to get the fourth Salford try in a stunning twenty-minute spell. Lolohea pushed his kick wide of the far upright but it was all one-way traffic.
Evalds dropped the ball while trying to field a high kick with ninety seconds left on the clock and on the fifth play Manu Ma’u managed to get the ball on the line to spare some Hull blushes and bring up double figures for the Black and Whites. Sneyd added the goal for 12-22 at the break.
Three minutes after the restart Chris Atkin intercepted the ball on his own line and outpaced the chasing defenders to go the length of the field and score in the left corner. Lolohea added a touchline conversion for 28-12.
A blonde-haired Jamie Shaul gave FC some respite with a thirty-metre sprint to the line off a Tuimavave pass to score under the uprights. Shaul added the two.
Salford bombed a chance with a three man overlap on fifty-three but on fifty-nine Luke Yates used all his strength to push over the line after Jake Connor failed to gather a kick through. Lolohea added his fifth goal of the afternoon, the Red Devils now 34-18 ahead.
Naulago was sin binned on sixty-three for a professional foul, FC down to twelve men when they least needed it, the game was drifting away from them.
A pinpoint Atkin grubber was grounded spectacularly by Williams, the video referee confirmed TRY but Lolohea couldn’t add the extras from wide. The lead was twenty points with twelve minutes left.
Lolohea was again the provider on seventy-four as he put in a grubber kick for Kris Welham to chase and ground. Lolohea pulled his kick in front of the sticks but at 42-18 it was all over for FC, the Red Devils getting their second win of 2020 and pulling clear of Hull KR at the bottom of the table.
Ken Sio flew over in the right corner for his second of the afternoon, the ninth for his side. Lolohea added a touchline conversion to take his personal tally up to twenty points in the game. A Niall Evalds try in the dying seconds brought up the fifty and the Lolohea goal gave a final score of 54-18, a demolition
It was a good enough opening ten from FC but once the Red Devils hit their stride there was no stopping them. Lolohea was instrumental at his former haunting ground, a different player in the red of Salford to the one he was in Blue & Amber.
Red Devils: Evalds (T), Sio (2T), Welham (T), Sarginson, Williams (2T), Lolohea (2T, 7G), Atkin (T), Mossop, Lussick, Ikahihifo, Lannon, McCarthy, Yates (T). Subs: Pauli, Johnson, Flanagan, Kear.
FC: Shaul (T), Naulago (SB on 63), Tuimavave, Griffin, Fonua, Kelly (T), Sneyd (3G), Ellis, Houghton, Sao, Jones, Ma’u (T), Savelio. Subs: Connor, Satae, Cator, Bowden.
Referee: Liam Moore.
Ground: Emerald Headingley Stadium, Leeds.