Salford City Reds bounced back in emphatic style by thrashing playoff rivals Bradford Bulls 38-18 on Sunday.
After two lacklustre performances in the last two weeks Reds were anxious to return to winning ways and they proved any doubters wrong with a seven-try demolition of the Yorkshiremen.
The Reds had conceded 96 points in their last two league meetings against Leeds and Catalan but there was no sign of that defensive frailty on Sunday afternoon.
Reds continued their trend of fast starts this season by providing the first score when winger Josh Veivers outmuscled opposite number Karl Pryce to cross out wide.
After Daniel Holdsworth’s conversion was missed, Brett Kearney’s try was converted by Jarrod Sammut to give the Bulls an early lead.
But Salford rallied and responded quickly. Holdsworth’s clever kick bounced fortunately for Joel Moon and the centre easily crossed for his first of the afternoon giving the Reds a lead they would never relinquish.
Captain Stephen Wild made a strong break which eventually allowed fullback Luke Patten to run in for an easy score to put Reds further ahead.
And when Australian Moon collected a wayward Bulls offload to race 60 metres unopposed for another try the result was never in doubt.
There was even time before the break for Ashley Gibson to add a fifth after another tactical Holdsworth kick before second row Matty Ashurst crossed the whitewash for Salford’s sixth.
That made it 30-6 at half time and put Reds out of sight.
Elliott Whitehead gave Bradford a glimmer of hope shortly after the restart but utility back Gareth Owen finished another well-worked move to score the visitors seventh try shortly after.
Ex-St Helens forward Bryn Hargreaves grabbed a late consolation for the hosts but the result in truth was rarely in doubt.
The influential Holdsworth rubber-stamped the win with two late penalty goals to give the Reds a win which cements their place in the top 8 and keeps their playoff hopes alive.
Head Coach Phil Veivers was delighted with his sides’ first half display but admitted that the Reds rode their luck at times.
“We were a bit fortunate with a couple of our tries, we had the luck of the bounce, but you create your own luck and we’ve had ones go against us this year already.
“It’s not an individual game, it’s a team game and the team got us through.
“It wasn’t difficult to get the confidence high. What was difficult was to get some self-belief that they can be mentally tough and hang in games and set a platform for themselves.”
Salford will have to bring their A-game next weekend as they welcome Super League powerhouses Wigan Warriors to Barton Bridge on Friday night.