St Helens continued their sure-footed start to the season with a clear 26-4 win over Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium, taking them back to the top of the Betfred Super League for at least 24 hours.
And to add to the hosts’ woes, they lost two players to hamstring injuries before the match was 10 minutes old: Griffin in the warm-up and talismanic prop Mossop after seven minutes’ play.
Salford had looked good money to continue their impressive start to the season at first, largely holding their own for the opening exchanges.
Both teams came close to scoring in the opening 20, with Salford’s Turkish international Jansin Turgut held up under the posts in the first 10 and Dominique Peyroux failing to ground a loose ball he hacked forward into the Saints in-goal five minutes later.
But it was the visitors who opened the scoring when Mark Percival crossed on 19 minutes, with Lachlan Coote converting for a 6-0 lead.
And Saints were the only ones who troubled the scoreboard for the rest of the half.
Johnny Lomax received a sweet pass from Theo Fages 10 metres from the Salford line and skipped over for a 10-0 lead on the half-hour.
Coote couldn’t convert but he made no mistake when the evergreen James Roby darted over from dummy half on 39 minutes to give St Helens a comfortable 16-0 half-time lead.
But Salford did make sure they troubled the scorers in the second half - though only after the scare of a Tommy Makinson break and a try-saving tackle by Jackson Hastings.
Minutes later, an attacking kick into the corner forced Makinson to bat the ball into touch-in-goal. The next set ended with Robert Lui faking right then kicking left, where Derrell Olpherts plucked the ball from the air and grounded it for Salford’s first - and as it turned out only - score. Ken Sio couldn’t convert from the touchline.
That was the start of a frantic couple of minutes.
First Peyroux thought he’d got the perfect reply, grounding the ball lost by Hastings as he tackled him. But the video ref ruled the tackle completed before the ball came loose.
Seconds later, though Regan Grace crossed in the opposite corner to give St Helens a clearly unbeatable 20-4 lead.
Then it was just up to man of the match James Roby to put the icing on the cake in the final five minutes, following up on another Makinson break to cross from dummy half. Coote added the extras and Saints were top of the league.
Salford: 1 Niall Evalds, 3 Kris Welham, 4 Junior Sa'u, 6 Robert Lui, 8 Lee Mossop, 10 Gill Dudson, 11, Josh Jones, 14 Joey Lussick, 20 Daniel Murray, 22 Derrell Olpherts, 23 Ken sio, 24 Jansin Turgut, 31 Jackson Hastings. Subs: Greg Burke, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Logan Tomkins.
St Helens: 1 Jonny Lomax, 2 Thomas Makinson, 4 Mark Percival, 5 Regan Grace, 6 Theo Fages, 8 Alex Walmsley, 9 James Roby, 10 luke Thompson, 111 Zeb sia, 15 Morgan Knowles, 17 Dominique Peyroux, 23 Lachlan Coote, 24 Matthew costello. Subs: Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Matthew Lees
Tries: Percival, Lomax, Roby 2, Grace
Goals: Coote 3
Full Time: 4-26