Salford 0 St Helens 38 match report: Salford's dreams crushed by Luke Walsh

Big-spenders brought down to earth by Australian scrum-half's 18-point haul

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The Independent Online

Big-spending Salford were given a reality check as St Helens maintained their perfect start to the 2014 Super League with a comprehensive win here.

Back-to-back wins in their opening two games had given Marwan Koukash's team a chance to go top of the table for the first time, but their hopes were dashed inside 10 minutes. It was fairly routine for Saints as Australian scrum-half Luke Walsh followed up his 18-point haul on his debut a fortnight earlier with another 18 from seven goals and also scored one of his side's six tries.

The watching Ryan Giggs no doubt appreciated the class of the visitors, who took over at the top of the table.

Walsh's 50-metre break relieved pressure on his own line after winger Adam Swift's early fumble and second rower Willie Manu also went through a half-hearted Salford defence to put the visitors into a strong attacking position.

Saints capitalised thanks to Walsh's short pass which got prop Kyle Amor into space and his offload was snapped up by Jon Wilkin, who finished off superbly. A break from Tom Makinson created a try for Walsh, who pounced on his kick to touch down.

Walsh's second conversion made it 12-0. Makinson got over after collecting Walsh's kick but slow-motion replays showed he lost control of the ball. Salford's best opportunity came when second rower Gareth Hock burst through the visitors' first line of defence only for winger Danny Williams to be denied.

The Red Devils stepped up the pace in the second half but there was no way back once Saints scored a breakaway third try. Tim Smith's kick on the last tackle bounced kindly for Sioa Soliola and he released Mark Percival, who took a return pass from Swift to finish off a glorious move. Walsh added the goal and was also on target when Amor dived over for a fourth try.