Salford Red Devils 4 Saints 26

Saints' Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Joey Lussick (left), Junior Sa'u (centre) and Salford Red Devils' Josh Jones
Saints' Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook is tackled by Salford Red Devils' Joey Lussick (left), Junior Sa'u (centre) and Salford Red Devils' Josh Jones
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Evergreen hooker James Roby continued his remarkable start to the season with a pair of tries as St Helens maintained their 100 per cent start with a 26-4 win over Salford to go top of the table.

The 33-year-old England international went into the fourth round of Betfred Super League with a two-point lead in the 2019 Steve Prescott Man of Steel race and was again at the heart of his side's efforts.

Last year's league leaders ran in five tries to one to quell the threat of the Red Devils, who themselves had the chance to take over at the top.

Salford, who have the smallest squad in Super League, were hit by a spate of injuries even before kick-off.

Coach Ian Watson was forced to make a late change with Daniel Murray drafted in at loose forward after George Griffin tore a hamstring in the warm-up and captain Lee Mossop, who was reinstated in Salford's squad after getting the all-clear over a foot injury, lasted just six minutes before hobbling off.

The Red Devils also lost substitute prop Greg Burke with a cut head, although he was able to return for the start of the second half, when his side were trailing 16-0, while talismanic half-back Jackson Hastings went off 10 minutes from the end with a head knock.

St Helens second rower Dominique Peyroux had an early try disallowed for obstruction but there was no stopping England centre Mark Percival from opening the scoring after 18 minutes, outjumping Derrell Olpherts to collect the ball from Theo Fages' high kick and touch down.

Fages was also the provider when stand-off Jonny Lomax dummied his way over for Saints' second try while skipper Roby did it all himself when he forced his way over from dummy half for his team's third try two minutes before half-time.

Lachlan Coote kicked two conversions to make it 16-0 and the visitors spurned a clear-cut chance to increase their lead early in the second half.

Winger Tom Makinson produced a break from his own half and, after taking a return pass from Percival, looked certain to score what would have been his 100th Super League try until Salford half-back Hastings got across to pull off a remarkable save.

The Red Devils looked to have made the most of Hastings' brilliance when Olpherts turned the tables on Percival, leaping above him to touch down Robert Lui's towering kick to pull a try back.

However, Ken Sio's conversion attempt struck the outside of an upright and Saints quickly restored their 16-point lead, carving out an unopposed run to the corner for left winger Regan Grace to score their fourth try.

Makinson missed another chance to reach his century when he was brought down short of the line but Roby went over in the next play to register his second try and Coote kicked a third goal.

It was a disappointing night for Salford but they provided a nice touch before kick-off when Jackson Yamba and his 10-year-old son David, who were subjected to a racist attack in the city, were given the opportunity as guests of the club to present the match ball to referee Ben Thaler.