ELEVEN YEARS ago Mark Calderwood was one of the most lethal finishers in Super League.
The winger touched down 35 times in as many appearances for Leeds Rhinos, including one four-try haul and three hat-tricks, in the 2005 season.
The last of those came in a 54-14 demolition of Salford City Reds at Headingley on July 15.
Rhinos turned on the style in the first half and looked on course for a record win when they raced into a 42-0 interval lead, but the visitors salvaged some pride by outscoring the league leaders after the break.
Salford had never beaten Rhinos in the summer era and their hopes of ending that miserable record lasted less than a quarter of the game, by which time Leeds had scored three times.
Danny McGuire grabbed the opener from inside Leeds’ half after just three minutes and Marcus Bai carved out an opportunity for Rob Burrow before Calderwood opened his account from a fine pass by Chev Walker.
After a brief lull, Leeds – who had been beaten by London Broncos in Perpignan the previous week – stepped back on the gas with four tries in the final 12 minutes of the opening period.
Salford kept their line intact from the 16th minute to the 28th, but then Willie Poching and Ali Lauitiiti combined to create a try for Richard Mathers.
Andrew Dunemann stepped his way over and Mathers completed his brace off Lauitiiti’s sensational offload; then Francis Cummins – in his comeback from a knee reconstruction the previous year – put Calderwood through.
Incredibly, all Salford’s tries came in an unanswered 13-minute spell after half time, beginning when Stuart Littler crossed on 42 minutes.
Tim Hartley scored a brilliant touchdown on 53 and Littler crossed again two minutes later. Leeds didn’t add to their tally until the 64th minute when Calderwood completed the second hat-trick of his career against Salford and in the next set Bai went on a run before teeing up Poching for the hosts’ ninth try.
The 10th came late on through Burrow, who also kicked seven conversions for a personal haul of 22 points.