Any hopes of a top four finish were dashed for the Red Devils after another disappointing evening at Headingley as Salford fell to a 44-2 defeat.
Leeds had already confirmed their position in the Super League semi-finals however they didn’t slow down against a Salford side looking for just their 2nd ever Super League victory at Headingley.
Following an impressive victory over Huddersfield last weekend Watson had to make some changes with Ben Murdoch-Masila moving into the centres for an injured Kris Welham while George Griffin also returned to the side.
Salford did take the lead in the early stages as Gareth O’Brien kicked a penalty goal but Leeds soon took control with a try from Liam Sutcliffe who spun over the line. The Rhinos made it two in quick succession as Rob Burrow broke from deep before finding Danny McGuire who went under the posts. Watkins converted both.
The Red Devils were very much still in the game at half-time trailing 16-2 after Tom Briscoe capatalised on some quick hands from the hosts but Leeds’ dominance continued in after the break.
Interchange hooker Matt Parcell jinked his way over from close-range to extend the lead. McGuire was instrumental in the middle and his kick was latched on to by Adam Cuthbertson before Parcell grabbed his second and Leeds’ third in eight minutes to open up a 30-point lead.
Anthony Mullally barged his way over and with ten minutes remaining Brett Ferres finished off a flowing Leeds move which involved a break from deep by Ashton Golding before a neat kick from McGuire.
Rhinos: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Sutcliffe, Hall; Moon, McGuire; Cuthbertson, Burrow, Garbutt, Ward, Jones-Buchanan, Singleton. Interchanges: Mullally, Ferres, Parcell, Delaney.
Red Devils: Evalds, Bibby, Murdoch-Masila, Sa’u, Vatuvei; Lui, O’Brien; Kopczak, Tomkins, Hauraki, Jones, Griffin, McCarthy. Interchanges: Lannon, A. Walne, J. Walne, Brining.
Referee: Liam Moore. Touch Judges: Richard Thompson & Jonathan Roberts. Attendance: 13094