17th February 2019, 17:02 | super_league
Jack Walker grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Leeds Rhinos got their Betfred Super League campaign up and running with a convincing 46-14 win against previously unbeaten Salford Red Devils.
Rhinos earned their first win of the season at the third attempt as 19-year-old full-back Walker crossed three times at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Salford, who went into the contest as league leaders, scored first when Joey Lussick dived over, but three tries in five minutes from Adam Cuthbertson, Walker and Konrad Hurrell put Leeds in charge at the break.
The hosts were back to within six points when Josh Jones touched down for a converted score, before Tuimoala Lolohea and Ken Sio traded penalties.
But Leeds ran away with it when Hurrell added his second try shortly before Matt Parcell touched down.
Walker then claimed two tries in three minutes to complete his hat-trick and Handley touched down to complete the rout.
Leeds coach David Furner said: "Jack is still only 19 and is playing in a position that holds a lot of responsibility but his courage is something that has stuck out for me from day one.
"He would admit himself there’s still a lot to learn, in particular with being able to organise the defensive line, but today, off the back of last week, showed his maturity in a really good performance.
"I'm really happy for the players and fans, I said from day one we need a team that improves each week either as an individual or the team itself and if we do that we are going to put ourselves in a position to win games."
Salford coach Ian Watson said: "We’ve got to learn our lessons from today. We’ve not represented ourselves in the best way.
“We wanted to put up a really good showing as a team and build on the experience of last week with a good crowd being here seeing us at our best.
“We failed to do the hard work though and probably wanted to do the easier things and attack more than the defensive side and we need to learn from that going forward."