Author: Ryan Booth

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 38-22 Leeds Rhinos

Salford Red Devils returned to winning ways in style after recording a comprehensive 38-22 victory over Leeds Rhinos, despite playing 60 minutes with 12 men on a rain-soaked evening at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Although Ian Watson’s side had a man disadvantage – after Lee Mossop was sent off – for an hour of the tie, Niall Evalds’ brace alongside further scores from debutant Jackson Hastings, Ryan Lannon, Ed Chamberlain, Robert Lui and Josh Jones secured the Red Devils’ biggest ever Super League win over the Rhinos.
Unfortunately for the Devils, it was the visitors who made the brightest start. With just two minutes on the clock, Brad Dwyer powered his way over from close-range before Liam Sutcliffe added the extras to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
Despite falling behind, Salford responded emphatically and claimed their first score of the evening six minutes later. After some quick hands almost saw Jake Bibby score in the corner, Robert Lui immediately sent Lannon crashing over from close-range.
Ed Chamberlain missed the resulting goal, but Salford were over again soon after. New recruit Hastings – who was making his maiden bow for the club since arriving from Australia two weeks ago – fooled the Rhinos backline with an exquisite dummy, before flicking inside to the onrushing Evalds who slid over the whitewash.
Chamberlain successfully landed his first goal of the night, but Salford weren’t finished there. After making a blistering start to his first appearance in a Salford shirt, Hastings’ evening quickly improved when Lui’s lofted deflected into his path to allow him to dive over for his first score.
Another goal from Chamberlain soon followed and the centre soon turned scorer to claim a try of his own. After the ball was worked out wide, the former Widnes man exploited a gap within the Leeds line before racing 30m to cross over in the corner.
Prior to the clash, Salford had an impeccable disciplinary record. But that soon came running to an end when team captain Mossop was shown the red card after an on-field altercation.
The forward’s exit sparked a Leeds revival as Sutcliffe went crashing over a minute later, before the half-back converted his own effort to leave the scores at 22-12.
The red card didn’t spell the end for Salford’s hard work though, two pieces of excellent defending forced the visitors into successive goal-line drop outs to pile the pressure onto last year’s Grand Final winners.
Salford were hounded in-goal themselves when Josh Wood scooped up the loose ball, but the Red Devils soon regained possession as Lui’s drop goal deceived Jimmy Keinhorst before bouncing into touch.
Salford had the final say of the half when Lui dummied before forcing his way over right on the stroke of half-time.
After the break, Salford initially paid the price for the man advantage. The visitors came close on several occasions, a last-ditch clearance from Chamberlain prevented Ashton Golding from latching onto his own low kick.
The spell of pressure from the Rhinos soon paid dividends when Tom Briscoe finished off a well-worked move on the right-hand side, though Sutcliffe did miss the subsequent conversion.
Mossop’s exit hindered Salford’s attacking game-plan, but it was the Red Devils who’d score next as an error from Golding resulted in Evalds eventually crossing over for his second of the evening.
Salford demonstrated a strong work ethic throughout, and the high level of persistence would result in the next of the score of the contest when Lui spotted an unlikely gap in the Rhinos’ backline, before stabbing the ball through for Jones to leap himself onto.
It was the visitors who’d have the next say though, Golding chipped the ball over the back of the Salford line to allow Matt Parcell to beat Ben Nakubuwai in a foot race before touching down.
Sutcliffe then added the extras to leave the score-line at a more respectable at 38-22, but the result was already beyond any doubt.
Salford now head into the Qualifiers full of confidence after earning a crucial two points at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Chamberlain, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Hastings, Mossop, Wood, Murray, Jones, McCarthy, Lannon.
Interchanges: Bennion, Flanagan, Tasi, Nakubuwai.
Leeds Lineup: Golding, T. Briscoe, Keinhorst, Handley, L. Briscoe, Moon, Sutcliffe, Garbutt, Dwyer, Singleton, Ablett, Thompson, Smith.
Interchanges: Parcell, Peteru, Walters, Crosby.
Salford Scorers: Tries- Lannon (8’), Evalds (10’, 62’), Hastings (15’), Chamberlain (18’), Lui (40’), Jones (69’) | Goals- Chamberlain (11, 16’, 19’, 63’ 70’)
Leeds Scorers: Tries- Dwyer (2’), Sutcliffe (21’), T. Briscoe (55’), Parcell (75’) | Goals- Sutcliffe (3’, 22’, 76)
Half-Time Score: 26-12
Salford Red-Cards: Lee Mossop (20’).
Man of the Match: Robert Lui.
Referee: Tom Grant.
Touch Judges: M. Craven & C. Etchells.

Preview | Salford Red Devils vs Leeds Rhinos | Friday 27th July

After returning home from last week’s trip to Perpignan, Salford host Leeds Rhinos at the AJ Bell Stadium tomorrow evening as the Red Devils look to forge some momentum heading into the Qualifiers.  
Last time out
Ian Watson’s men head into this weekend’s showdown after succumbing to a 44-10 defeat at the hands of the Catalans Dragons last Saturday, though Salford did battle well at times in the second period.
Derrell Olpherts and Josh Wood both crossed over in what were two well taken efforts, but the Dragons proved too hot to handle as Fouad Yaha struck four times to seal a fine eight try victory for the hosts.
Wood’s try in particular, was a positive note for Salford. The half-back has been one of the side’s most improved players throughout the campaign and deservedly touched down for his first score of the season at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
As for Leeds, new management team Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes saw their side triumph for the first time last Friday as the Rhinos comfortably dispatched Widnes Vikings 34-0.
Tries from Brad Dwyer, Luke Briscoe, Richie Myler, Matt Parcell, Joel Moon, Tom Briscoe and Jack Walker saw the hosts pummel the struggling Vikings.
Form 
Both sides haven’t quite matched their successes from 2017 this time around. After seven successive losses, the Rhinos parted company with long-serving coach Brian McDermott earlier this month following a 46-8 humiliation at Wigan.
Club legend Sinfield arrived as the club’s new Director of Rugby – alongside former Great Britain hooker Lowe who has been appointed as First-Team Coach – but Leeds’ form didn’t immediately improve. A 42-10 defeat at Castleford was followed by a frustrating 20-all draw with Wakefield at the Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Last time out sparked a revival as the side bounced back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a clinical 6 try demolition over Francis Cummins’ Vikings.
2017 was a year to remember for Salford, the club achieved its finest regular season finish in almost 40 years, accompanied by a spot in the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup. This year though, the objective is far more straightforward – to preserve the club’s Super League status.
The transition to a community-based club has proved challenging throughout the year, but with the recent eye-catching acquisition of half-back Jackson Hastings, Watson’s side will be confident of ending a four-game losing streak tomorrow evening.
Head-to-Head
In this week’s head-to-head we compare highly-rated half-backs Jackson Hastings and Richie Myler against each other, as we highlight the pair’s potential impact on tomorrow’s clash.
Hastings – who signed for the Red Devils two weeks ago on a deal initially until the end of the season – was one of the most exciting talents in Australia’s NRL prior to his release from Manly Sea Eagles and will be hopeful of carrying this form into the final stages of the season, starting with his potential debut tomorrow night.
The 22-year-old is renowned for his ability to unpick an opposition line and is a dependable try scorer and playmaker. If Hastings plays anything like his best during the showdown between the two sides, the Rhinos’ defence will be in for a long night.

Similarly to Hastings, former Red Devil Myler is also a capable playmaker. The 28-year-old boasts almost 10 years Super League experience and is a proven England international, Myler leads the Super League chart for top try assists and acts as the team’s main threat alongside top try-scorer Ash Handley. Salford’s defence will have to be at their best if Myler is to have a quiet evening at the AJ Bell.
Team News
Recent arrival Hastings is included in Ian Watson’s 19-man-squad for the first time and is line to make his debut for the club, the 22-year-old replaces fellow half-back Jake Shorrocks. Craig Kopczak misses out through injury and is replaced by Gavin Bennion – who has returned from a loan spell at Betfred Championship side Rochdale Hornets.


Leeds meanwhile, have initially named an 18-man squad due to an ongoing injury crisis. Despite the shortage in numbers, Jamie Jones-Buchanan has returned to the squad following a knee operation whilst Nathaniel Peteru also returns to the squad.
Squads
Salford: Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Levy Nzoungou, Daniel Murray, Gavin Bennion, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings.
Leeds: Ashton Golding, Tom Briscoe, Liam Sutcliffe, Joel Moon, Richie Myler, Matt Parcell, Brad Singleton, Jamie-Jones-Buchanan, Carl Ablett, Brad Dwyer, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst, Nathaniel Peteru, Ash Handley, Cameron Smith, Josh Walters, Luke Briscoe, Dom Crosby.
Table Permutations  
Just six points separate the sides in the Betfred Super League table. Leeds currently occupy 9th position, whilst Salford lie 11th. A Salford Red Devils victory would move the side to within a point of 10th place Hull Kingston Rovers – providing they lose at local rivals Hull FC tomorrow evening – and four points adrift of the Rhinos.
A win for Leeds meanwhile would move reduce the gap between them and Huddersfield to a solitary point, providing the Giants fall to defeat when they welcome Wakefield Trinity to the John Smith’s Stadium tomorrow.

Match Report | Catalans Dragons 44-10 Salford Red Devils

Four tries from Fouad Yaha condemned Salford Red Devils to a 44-10 defeat, as Catalans Dragons ran out comfortable winners at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. 
Scores from Derrell Olpherts and Josh Wood weren’t enough for Salford to salvage any sort of result as a quadruple from in-form winger Yaha, along with two tries from Kenny Edwards and further scores from Jason Baitieri and Josh Drinkwater put the result beyond any doubt.
The hosts were in a rampant mood throughout the afternoon and took just six minutes to open the scoresheet. Brayden Williame broke clear before cleverly offloading out wide to the onrushing Yaha, who raced clear to claim the first of his four scores.
Drinkwater was unsuccessful from the resulting conversion, but he would add a further two points less than 10 minutes later though after landing a 14th minute penalty in front of the sticks.
The Red Devils responded well and offered some fierce tackles in defence, but the resurgence was to last a mere four minutes as Samisoni Langi broke clear of the line before flicking inside to Drinkwater to allow forge an unchallenged score.
Drinkwater added the first of his six goals but Salford’s efforts were to be rewarded almost immediately after. Dan Murray forced a Catalan error to earn Salford possession, before some quick hands from Jake Shorrocks and Wood put the ball on a plate for Olpherts to emphatically finish in the corner.
Ed Chamberlain was unsuccessful from the resulting conversion and things quickly worsened for Ian Watson’s men as Baitieri fought off several Salford defenders before surging over the whitewash.
The level of intensity shown by the hosts reflected the final outcome of the contest, and they found themselves in again for a second quick-fire try when Yaha collected a high ball before flicking inside to Edwards who slid in for the first of his brace.
Unfortunately for Salford, the French side didn’t show any signs of content when Yaha flew over in the corner after Williame picked him out with a scooped pass.
Yaha has been the standout performer throughout the contest, just seven minutes had passed in the second period when 21-year-old made two tries in three minutes to secure a sublime quadruple and round-off a fine individual display.
Salford shows level of grit throughout the second period. Watson introduced Niall Evalds to the action after a nine-week spell on the sidelines, and the 24-year-old was the spearhead of the Red Devils’ attacking plays for the remainder of the tie.
Almost 20 minutes worth of pressure paid dividends midway through the half when Josh Jones produced one of the offloads of the season to enable Wood to spin past the Dragons defence to touch down.
Chamberlain added the extras but the hosts completed the victory with 12 minutes remaining when Edwards touched down for his second, before Drinkwater landed the subsequent goal.
Catalans Lineup: Gigot; Tierney, Mead, Wiliame, Yaha; Langi, Drinkwater; Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty.
Interchanges: Anderson, Bousquet, Baitieri, Edwards.
Salford Lineup: Chamberlain; Bibby, Jones, Sa’u, Olpherts; Lui, Shorrocks; Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Lannon, Nakubuwai, Murray.
Interchanges: Evalds, McCarthy, Nzoungou, Burke.
Catalans Scorers: Tries- Yaha (6′, 38′, 44′, 47′), Drinkwater (18′), Baitieri (32′), Edwards (34′, 68′) | Goals- Drinkwater (6/9)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Olpherts (20′), Wood (62′) | Goals- Chamberlain (1/2)
Man of the Match: Derrell Olpherts
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.
Touch Judges: D. Bowmer & L. Rush.
Video Referee: Robert Hicks.
 

Preview | Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils | Saturday 21st July

The Red Devils travel to Perpignan to take on Catalans Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus this coming Saturday, and Ian Watson’s side will be looking to build on their encouraging display during last week’s loss to Castleford Tigers. 
Last time out
Salford head into this weekend’s showdown after producing a creditable display last Friday at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite falling to a 6-24 defeat, Watson’s troops more than matched last year’s League Leaders Shield winners and found themselves on level terms at the interval – though Castleford did take the lead through Jake Webster on 18 minutes.
After persistently piling the pressure amongst the Tigers’ defensive line, Salford’s efforts were rewarded five minutes prior to the break when Jake Bibby latched onto Ed Chamberlain’s low kick to touch down in the corner.


However, the second half didn’t quite live up to expectations and the visitors crossed for three second half efforts as Webster grabbed his second, before Michael Shenton and Kieran Gill also crossed to snatch victory, following an error-ridden affair.
Catalans meanwhile, head into the tie on the back of a thrilling 22-22 draw with Warrington last time out. Despite taking the lead through Benjamin Jullien, the Dragons soon found themselves up against it as the hosts scored three quick-fire tries through Bryson Goodwin, Josh Charnley and Harvey Livett.
However, the French side regrouped and immediately clawed their way back into the contest as Michael McIlorum surged over the whitewash, before Tony Gigot crossed three minutes prior to the break to the level the scores.
Josh Drinkwater – who has been in breathtaking form since signing for Catalans in April – kicked five goals, but neither side was unable to claim a late victory.
Form 
Both sides made slow starts to 2018, Steve McNamara’s Dragons had won just once prior to the Good Friday meeting with Salford at the AJ Bell, whilst the Red Devils had achieved marginally better with two victories.
On that March afternoon, it was Watson’s side who’d triumph as tries from Jake Bibby, Niall Evalds, Greg Johnson, Josh Jones and Kris Welham along with six goals from Robert Lui ensured The Red Devils secured a comfortable win.
That fixture appeared to spark a French revolution. Since then, Catalans have played an intriguing brand of Rugby and have managed to conjure up 8 wins from 14 games and reach the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
During their recent run, the Dragons overturned Salford 26-12 at the Magic Weekend, as former red Jodie Broughton crossed for a hat-trick.
Salford have swept aside Huddersfield Giants, Wakefield Trinity and Widnes Vikings in the same period but have suffered frequent injury blows. The Red Devils will be hopeful of producing another battling performance this time out, after nullifying Castleford’s attacking power for much of last week’s tie.
Head-to-Head
In this week’s head-to-head we pit versatile backs Ed Chamberlain and David Mead against each other, as we highlight the pair’s influences within their respective sides.
Chamberlain – who joined the Red Devils permanently on Wednesday – has certainly caught the eye since arriving initially on-loan from Widnes last month. Naturally a centre, the 22-year-old is also capable of filling the void on either wing or at full-back, with the latter being his primary position for Salford thus far.
Ed has made three appearances for the club during his loan spell and particularly impressed in recent defeats to Hull Kingston Rovers and Castleford.
It was during his home debut versus the Tigers where the youngster truly shone though, the former Widnes man produced a classy display throughout and provided a delicate kick to assist Jake Bibby’s first-half effort.


David Mead is one of the most influential players in the world scene of Rugby League, the Papua New Guinea captain shone for his country at the 2017 RLWC ‘down under’ and has carried this form into his spell with the Dragons.
The 29-year-old is the Dragons’ top scorer with 8 tries and possesses a similar versatility to Chamberlain, which makes him a formidable threat. Mead is more than handy at full-back, wing or centre – with Catalans boss McNamara opting to play him in the former for much of the campaign.
Team News
Jackson Hastings – who joined the Red Devils this week – misses out on the 19-man squad and will not arrive in the UK until next week, injured duo Greg Johnson and Logan Tomkins remain sidelined for the trip to Perpignan.
On a positive note, Full-back Niall Evalds returns to the squad following a nine-week spell on the sidelines after breaking a bone in his leg during April’s victory over Wakefield Trinity.
24-year-old Evalds replaces Luke Burgess in the squad who is still suffering from a recurring knee injury. Prop Craig Kopczak is named in the squad but is unlikely to feature as the forward hasn’t fully recovered from a quadricep injury.
French forward Levy Nzoungou made his second appearance – and his home debut – last Friday against Castleford Tigers and will be looking to make it back-to-back appearances this weekend as he returns to his homeland.
As for the visitors, former Red Devil Jodie Broughton has been given the go-ahead to feature and will be looking to haunt Salford once more, after grabbing a sublime hat-trick as Catalans triumphed over Salford in May’s Magic Weekend. The winger replaces Mickael Goudemand in what is the sole change to the French side’s squad from last week’s battle with Warrington.
Squads
Catalans: David Mead, Jodie Broughton, Brayden Williame, Fouad Yaha, Samisoni Langi, Rémi Casty, Sam Moa, Louis Anderson, Benjamin Garcia, Greg Bird, Julian Bousquet, Mickael Simon, Jason Baitieri, Michael McIlorum, Lewis Tierney, Benjamin Jullien, Tony Gigot, Josh Drinkwater, Kenny Edwards.
Salford: Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Rob Lui, Craig Kopczak, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Levy Nzoungou, Daniel Murray, Jake Shorrocks, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke.
Table Permutations  
Salford have the opportunity to move to within a point of Hull Kingston Rovers in the Betfred Super League table, providing the Robins fail to secure any points when they host Warrington Wolves at KCOM Craven Park this evening.
A Catalans victory would see the Dragons move above Wakefield into 6th place, at least until Trinity entertain Hull FC on Sunday afternoon.
Ready for the Rhinos!
Purchase your tickets for our game with Leeds on Friday 27th July from the Club Ticket Office, on 0161 786 1570 or by simply clicking HERE.

Flashback | Catalans Dragons 40-40 Salford Red Devils | Saturday 7th March 2015

Ahead of this weekend’s Betfred Super League clash between Catalans Dragons and Salford Red Devils in Perpignan, we take a look back at one of Salford’s most memorable visits to the Stade Gilbert Brutus in this week’s ‘Flashback’. 
The Red Devils travelled to the south of France with just one win from their opening three fixtures in the 2015 Super League season. Iestyn Harris’ men had pipped Hull FC 32-28 at the AJ Bell Stadium, but had suffered defeats to both Warrington Wolves and St Helens.
Catalans meanwhile, had also fallen to the hands of the Saints but had gone one better than Salford, having picked up two victories over Warrington and Castleford Tigers.
However, it was Salford who started brightest. The Red Devils flew out of the blocks to race into a 22-0 lead and silence the lively Catalan crowd.
It took just just three minutes for the visitors to register their first try, Junior Sa’u collected a short ball from Tommy Lee before bulldozing himself over the whitwash.
Josh Griffin failed to land the resulting conversion, but he quickly forgot about his miss when Cory Paterson picked up a loose ball and sent him over 11 minutes later – Griffin added the first of his 6 goals.
Paterson then turned scorer two minutes later, Frenchman Theo Fages found the Australian with an inside pass before Paterson bounced off three Catalans defenders to touch down.
Salford were in a ruthless mood and soon found themselves over again. This time Lee threw a quick dummy to deceive the Dragons’ line and slid over, before Griffin added the extras to give Salford a 22-0 lead with less than 20 minutes on the clock.
The hosts regrouped however and claimed their first score of the contest as a neat pass from Todd Carney invited Zeb Taia to power his way over, despite the best efforts of Rangi Chase.
Catalans then hit back with two quick-fire efforts through Vincent Duport and Ben Pomeroy, Scott Dureau converted both scores.
Salford were 22-18 ahead at the break and it was the Red Devils who struck first in the second period as Fages returned to haunt his former club. After capitalising on an Elliot Whitehead error, the France international raced the length of the pitch to score three minutes into the half.
Pomeroy replied with his second from close-range, but Salford regained the lead through Chase as Kevin Locke palmed his own kick back to him as the half-back crossed over unchallenged and extend Salford’s lead.
Michael Oldfield touched down in the corner to reduce the arrears before Dureau landed the extras before adding a subsequent penalty to level the scores at 32-32.
Catalans thought they’d snatched victory when Whitehead made up for his earlier mistake and scored in the corner before Ian Henderson touched down was in 8 minutes from time.
Dureau’s failure to convert both came back to haunt the hosts as Paterson grabbed his second before Griffin converted the score and added a last minute penalty to rescue a dramatic draw for the Red Devils.
Then Salford Head Coach, Iestyn Harris, said: “To come away from Catalans and get a point is really pleasing, to concede 40 points is not.
“We didn’t handle the periods when they had momentum. I think if we had managed that, we would have won the game rather convincingly. We need to work on our game-management skills.
“With us being eight points behind with five minutes to go, if someone offered those circumstances and to take a point, I think there are a lot of teams who would take a point in those situations.”
The teams that day:
Catalans Dragons: Escare; Oldfield, Pomeroy, Tonga, Duport; Carney, Dureau; Anderson, Henderson, Lima, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis.
Interchanges: Elima, Garcia, Bousquet, Baitieri.
Salford Red Devils: Locke; Johnson, Sa’u, Paterson, J Griffin; Chase, Fages; Taylor, Lee, Tasi, Hansen, Hauraki, J Walne.
Interchanges: Morley, D Griffin, A Walne, Hood.
Referee: Phil Bentham
Attendance: 7,800
Ready for the Rhinos!
Purchase your tickets for our game with Leeds on Friday 27th July from the Club Ticket Office, on 0161 786 1570 or by simply clicking HERE.

Preview | Salford Red Devils vs Castleford Tigers | Friday 13th July

The Red Devils host Castleford Tigers at the AJ Bell Stadium this coming Friday as Ian Watson’s men look to return to winning ways following last week’s disappointing defeat at Hull Kingston Rovers.
Last time out
Salford dominated the early stages at KCOM Craven Park and raced into a 6-0 lead as Greg Johnson bulldozed his way over the whitewash. Ed Chamberlain marked his first start for the club with three goals, but Johnson’s effort proved to be the visitors’ sole score in the first period.
After the break, Junior Sa’u managed to claim two well worked tries before Jake Bibby crossed in the dying minutes of the contest.


Unfortunately for Salford though, the hosts proved too hot to handle. Danny McGuire claimed a sublime hat-trick, Will Oakes crossed for a double, whilst Ryan Shaw, Adam Quinlan, James Greenwood and Joel Tomkins also touched down to condemn the Devils to defeat.
Castleford meanwhile, head into the showdown in fine form after pummelling Leeds Rhinos at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle in their last fixture. Highly-rated youngster Jake Trueman scored twice whilst Jesse Sene-Lefao also crossed for a brace of his own.
Leeds – who were under the stewardship of new management team Kevin Sinfield and James Lowes for the very first time – did manage to conjure up 10 points thanks to Tom Briscoe’s double and a goal from Liam Sutcliffe but Cas proved too superior.
Daryl Powell’s side were in a ruthless mood and found themselves over on three further occasions as the recently injured Greg Eden, Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e and Matt Cook all touched down. Leeds did lose captain Stevie Ward to injury early in the second half, but by then, the damage has already been done.
Form 
Salford have endured mixed fortunes in recent weeks, first the Red Devils returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion after triumphing 26-12 over Widnes Vikings to earn a crucial victory at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two weeks later, Watson’s side travelled to nearby Warrington and competed with the Wolves for the majority of the fixture. Jack Littlejohn had arguably his best performance in a Salford shirt, after crossing for two tries, but the Australian’s night would end in disaster after rupturing his bicep.
Jake Bibby finished off a stunning team move by diving over in front of the travelling Salford faithful, but Warrington struck five times in the final 30 minutes to put the game to bed. Salford then conceded 9 tries at Hull KR just over a week later.
Castleford on the other hand, have lost just two of their last eight fixtures. The Tigers ran riot over Leeds at the Magic Weekend, secured further victories over Hull KR, Warrington, Wigan Warriors, before sentencing the Rhinos to another defeat last weekend.
The Tigers are an unpredictable side though, Powell’s men have been heavily beaten by both St Helens and the Catalans Dragons over the last two months, with each racking up 40 points or more against last year’s League Leaders Shield winners. Cas also drew 24-all with Hull KR four weeks ago and will be wary of the various threats Salford could potentially impose on Friday Evening.
Head-to-Head
In this week’s head-to-head we pit forwards Mark Flanagan and Grant Millington against each other as we take a closer look into the pair’s impact within their respective sides.
Flanagan – who joined the Red Devils in 2016 from St Helens – has heavily impressed during his time at the AJ Bell Stadium. Despite missing the majority of the Super 8s last season through a shoulder injury, ‘Flash’ is a highly influential player within the squad and his ball-playing style sees him act as a third half-back in the majority of the Red Devils’ plays.
The 30-year-old is a creative player who brings a level of class and experience to the team’s attack and defence, which has seen him emerge as a consistent performer for yet another season.


Millington joined the Tigers from the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2012, the 31-year-old is of a similar mould to Flanagan and despite not always featuring at loose-forward, the Aussie is always involved in his side’s plays.
Both Flanagan and Millington are highly experienced veterans and whichever side comes out on top on Friday evening, it is almost a certainty that one of the duo will have been heavily involved throughout.
Team News
Greg Johnson – who opened the scoring for Salford during last week’s defeat to the Robins – misses out on this week’s squad after being leaving the field prematurely last time out. Hooker Logan Tomkins also leaves the 19-man squad after picking up an injury in the same clash.
The duo are replaced by Luke Burgess – who has been out of action since the 30-0 defeat to Wigan in early May – and Craig Kopczak.
As for the visitors, Jamie Ellis is replaced in the Tigers’ 19-man squad and is replaced by promising back-rower Kieran Gill. Gill, 22, has spent time on-loan at League One side Oldham in recent times and impressed enough to earn a recall. In other news, Joe Wardle returns to the fold at the expense of Nathan Massey.
Squads
Salford: Junior Sa’u, Robert Lui, Craig Kopczak, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Levy Nzoungou, Daniel Murray, Jake Shorrocks, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke.
Castleford: James Clare, Mitch Clark, Matt Cook, Greg Eden, Tuoyo Egodo, Kieran Gill, Oliver Holmes, Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e, Paul McShane, Grant Millington, Adam Milner, Junior Moors, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Michael Shenton, Gadwin Springer, Jake Trueman, Liam Watts, Joe Wardle, Jake Webster.
Table Permutations  
A Salford Red Devils victory could see them climb a place to 10th in the Betfred Super League table, providing Hull KR fail to secure any points at Widnes. 9th place Leeds entertain local rivals Wakefield Trinity at the Emerald Headingley Stadium – and alongside a Red Devils win – a Trinity victory could see Salford move to within a point of the Rhinos.
Castleford currently occupy third spot in the table, three points adrift of Wigan. However, a win for Powell’s side could see them reduce the gap between the sides to a single point, if the Warriors lose at Huddersfield.

Match Report | Hull Kingston Rovers 52-22 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils fell at the hands of Hull Kingston Rovers as the hosts ran out comfortable 52-22 winners on a disappointing afternoon at KCOM Craven Park.
A double from Junior Sa’u alongside further scores from Greg Johnson and Jake Bibby weren’t enough for the Red Devils to secure the points as the hosts proved far too hot to handle after producing a clinical 9 try display.
Salford made a bright start to the contest. First, Jake Bibby forced Junior Vaivai into touch to thwart an attack, before Tyrone McCarthy went agonisingly close to scoring after dropping the ball inside the in-goal area.
The Red Devils’ efforts were rewarded soon after though as Johnson collected a short ball from Robert Lui, before bulldozing himself over the whitewash, with just eight minutes on the clock.
Ed Chamberlain was making his first start for the club and marked the occasion after converting the resulting goal to give the Reds a deserved six-point lead.
The hosts soon responded though as Adam Quinlan picked out Ryan Shaw with a sublime looping pass, and the onrushing Shaw made no mistake to cross over in the corner.
Shaw then converted his own effort with a goal from the right-hand touchline to level the scoring.
Salford then built some momentum but would concede next, completely against the run of play. Lui attempted to keep the set alive after flicking Jake Shorrocks’ high kick into the path of McCarthy, but unfortunately, Quinlan was first to pick up the loose ball and raced 90m to score a stunning individual effort.
Danny Tickle kicked the resulting goal and Rovers extended their lead further five minutes later as Will Oakes finished off a well-worked team move in the left hand-corner, before Tickle added the extras to increase the margin to 12 points.
Things quickly worsened for the Red Devils as Danny McGuire’s kick bounced over Lui’s head to allow James Greenwood to ground the ball before it fell dead – Tickle then added the extras.
Two minutes later, the hosts were in again. This time, McGuire turned scorer and scooped up the loose ball after the ball had ricocheted into his path. Tickle then converted the resulting goal to take KR up to the 30-point mark.
Unfortunately for Salford, Rovers crossed over for their sixth effort just a minute later. After breaking down the right-hand side, Maurice Blair flicked inside to Joel Tomkins who finished under the sticks, before Tickle added the extras in the final point-scoring action of the half.
After the break, it was Salford who’d score next. Lui picked out Derrell Olpherts with a lofted kick before the latter offloaded to Junior Sa’u who surged his way over – Chamberlain was unable to land the resulting goal as the ball fell wide of the posts.
Hull almost claimed a sensational breakaway try, but a piece of heroic defending from Jake Bibby prevented Nick Scruton from touching down.
They weren’t to be denied for long though, two minutes later Shaun Lunt’s kick caused mayhem amongst the Devils backline, McGuire was quickest to react and dived over.
The hosts were in a ruthless mood and found themselves over again soon after. This time, Oakes claimed his second after the ball was worked out wide.
McGuire then threw a dummy which outwitted the Salford defence and allowed him to slide over under the sticks to compete his hat-trick. Tickle then added the conversion to take the hosts past the 50-point mark.
Salford responded with a consolation effort of their own as Sa’u pierced through the KR line to cross over, before Chamberlain landed the subsequent goal.
The Red Devils weren’t finished there though, some quick hands from Lui and Josh Wood helped forge an opening for Bibby to cross over in the corner, before Chamberlain added his third goal to take Salford past the 20-point mark.
Hull KR Lineup: Quinlan, Shaw, Blair, Vaivai, Oakes, McGuire, Atkin, Scruton, Lee, Tickle, Greenwood, J. Tomkins, Kavanagh.
Interchanges: Lunt, Masoe, Donaldson, Mulhern.
Salford Lineup: Chamberlain, Johnson, Bibby, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Lannon, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: L. Tomkins, Burke, Murray, Jones.
Hull KR Scorers: Tries- Shaw (14’), Quinlan (21’), Oakes (27’, 55’), Greenwood (32’), McGuire (35’, 50’, 58’), J. Tomkins (37’) | Goals- Shaw (15’), Tickle (22’, 28’, 33’, 36’, 38’, 51’, 59’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Johnson (8’), Sa’u (44’, 60’), Bibby (77’) | Goals- Chamberlain (9’, 61’, 78’)
Referee: Gareth Hewer.
Attendance: 7,698.

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 26-12 Widnes Vikings

Salford Red Devils returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion after twice coming from behind to earn a crucial 26-12 victory over Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two tries from Kris Welham alongside further scores from Jake Bibby, Robert Lui and on-loan Widnes man Greg Burke helped secure two valuable Betfred Super League points.
The Red Devils headed into the tie on the back of a disappointing defeat at Hull six days prior, and Ian Watson’s men looked on course for another loss this time out when Tom Gilmore dived over in the 5th minute.
Jay Chapelhow’s break helped kickstart the move, before Joe Mellor’s grubber kick bounced over the top of Ryan Lannon to allow Gilmore to ground the ball.
Half-back Gilmore then converted his own effort, but it was Salford who’d score next as Welham blocked Gilmore’s kick with his leg, before reacting quickest to scoop up the loose ball and dart 40m to cross for a stunning individual effort.
Lui’s conversion landed narrowly wide as the hosts grew in frustration. Soon after, Bibby was denied a try as referee James Child chalked the score off following a knock on from Jack Littlejohn.
Salford weren’t to be undone for long though, less than five minutes later Welham grabbed his second, and 150th career try, as some quick hands from Littlejohn and Lui permitted the centre to jink his way over the whitewash.
Unfortunately for Salford, Lui struck the post from his goal attempt and the mood around the AJ Bell dampened quickly as Welham was controversially sent to the sin-bin, before Jake Shorrocks left the field after suffering a suspected fractured jaw.
Less than a minute later, the visitors regained their lead as the heavily involved Gilmore collected a high ball before cleverly picking out the unmarked Patrick Ah Van who had the simple task of touching down.
Gilmore landed the resulting goal in what proved to be the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford have endured a tough time in recent weeks and despite losing another key player, in the form of Tyrone McCarthy through a hamstring injury, the Red Devils dug in and managed to claw themselves back into the tie ten minutes after the break.
After a free-flowing move saw the ball find its way out wide, Littlejohn forged the gap for Bibby to emphatically finish in the right-hand corner.
Lui was unable to convert the resulting goal but Salford weren’t to be denied as Widnes loanee and debutant, Burke, haunted his parent club after collecting a short ball from Logan Tomkins, before surging over under the sticks.
Lui then added the extras and a late penalty to extend Salford’s lead to 8 points before things quickly turned sour for the visiting Vikings.
First, loose-forward Chris Houston was sent to the sin-bin following a high challenge on Burke, before then being shown the red-card for dissent as he left the field.
Salford would have the final say though as Lui charged down a Widnes kick before racing 70m to score and complete a stunning comeback and all-round team performance.
Salford Lineup: Littlejohn, Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Wood, Burke, McCarthy, Griffin, Lannon.
Interchanges: Kopczak, Tomkins, Nakubuwai, Chamberlain.
Widnes Lineup: Craven, Ah Van, Runciman, Norman, Ince, Mellor, Gilmore, J. Chapelhow, Johnstone, E. Chapelhow, Whitley, Hauraki, Houston.
Interchanges: Gerrard, Olbison, Heremaia, Farnworth.
 
Salford Scorers: Tries- Welham (11’, 15’), Bibby (50’), Burke (61’), Lui (77’). | Goals- Lui (62’, 68’, 78’).
Widnes Scorers: Tries- Gilmore (5’), Ah Van (24’) | Goals- Gilmore (6’, 25’).
Man of the Match: Robert Lui.
Attendance: 2248.
Referee: James Child. Touch Judges: Scott Mikalauskas & Liam Moore. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.

Match Report | Hull FC 45-14 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils succumbed to a 45-14 defeat as Hull FC ran out comfortable winners on a frustrating evening at the KCOM Stadium.
Although the Red Devils managed to conjure up three second-half scores through Greg Johnson, Derrell Olpherts and George Griffin, Salford still fell short as the hosts claimed a deserved victory.
Bureta Faraimo’s hat-trick alongside further tries from Jack Downs, Jack Logan, Hakim Miloudi and Jamie Shaul ensured Lee Radford’s side secured two pivotal points.
The hosts made a flying start to the contest and opened the scoring with just five minutes on the clock. After the ball was worked out wide, Faraimo stepped inside before holding off Greg Johnson and diving over.
Jake Connor kicked the first of nine goals and the Black & Whites crossed over again just six minutes later. Faraimo grabbed his second after intercepting Robert Lui’s lofted pass before sprinting the length of the field and touching down.
Hull began to take full control and managed to add two more tries in quick succession. First, Downs slid over the whitewash after a clever offload from Logan before the latter turned from provider to scorer after an excellent break from Jamie Shaul.
Things worsened for the Red Devils as Miloudi flew out of the line to intercept a wayward pass from Jack Littlejohn before racing 50m to score in what was a carbon copy of Faraimo’s individual effort.
Connor then added the resulting goal and a late drop-goal to rub salt further into the wounds.
Faraimo then turned provider after kicking inside to Shaul who made no mistake to touch down and cap off a fine first-half display.
The hosts picked up where they left off after the break as Faraimo completed his hat-trick after wriggling out of Greg Johnson’s tackle.
Johnson was to have the last laugh though as the winger touched down after collecting a cut-out pass from Jake Shorrocks.
Robert Lui added the extras as Salford began to grow in confidence and Ian Watson’s side soon found themselves over again as Derrell Olpherts finished off a well worked move to restore some pride to the camp.
Salford battled throughout the second period and their efforts were rewarded further as Lui played a flat ball to Griffin and the forward surged over the line from close-range.
Hull had the final say however as Connor slotted home a penalty on the hooter to wrap up proceedings.
Hull Lineup: Shaul, Faraimo, Logan, Tuimavave, Miloudi, Connor, Harris, Taylor, Washbrook, Green, Downs, Minichiello, Westerman.
Interchanges: Fash, Litten, Paea, Matongo.
Salford Lineup: Littlejohn, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Jones, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Kopczak, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood.
 
Hull Scorers: Tries- Faraimo (5’, 12’, 51’), Downs (15’), Logan (21’), Miloudi (34’), Shaul 40’) | Goals- Connor (6’,13’, 16’, 22’, 35’, 40’, 52’, 79’) | Drop Goals- Connor (39’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Johnson 58’, Olpherts (67’), Griffin (72’) | Goals- Lui (59’)
Man of the Match: George Griffin.
Referee: Robert Hicks. Touch Judges: D Bowmer & M. Craven. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.
Attendance: 10,606.

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 16-24 Huddersfield Giants

Salford Red Devils fell to defeat as Huddersfield Giants came from behind to snatch a 24-16 victory on a frustrating evening at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Despite a brace from Junior Sa’u and a further score from Niall Evalds, tries from Darnell McIntosh, Daniel Smith, Jordan Turner and Kruise Leeming ensured the visitors ran out deserved winners.
The Red Devils headed into the contest on the back of a disappointing Magic Weekend defeat five days prior, but they made an emphatic start to this one as some quick hands from Jake Shorrocks and Niall Evalds helped forge the opening for Junior Sa’u to fly over in the left-hand corner.
Robert Lui was unable to land the resulting conversion and things almost turned sour minutes later when Ryan Hinchcliffe latched onto a grubber kick from Lee Gaskell, fortunately for Salford the loose-forward was unable to ground the ball before it fell dead.
Salford almost conceded a try less than two minutes later. This time, a well-worked move from the visitors opened a gap for Jermaine McGillvary to power over but a try-saving tackle from Sa’u put the winger into touch to prevent the score.
Lui wasn’t to miss successive kicks though. After the visitors conceded a needless penalty in front of the sticks, Salford opted to kick at goal and the Australian stand-off comfortably slotted the ball home to increase the lead to 6 points.
The visitors responded though as Jake Mamo’s looping pass caught out a helpless Derrell Olpherts to leave Darnell McIntosh with the simple task of crossing over – Danny Brough failed to level the scores though as his conversion fell well wide of the posts.
Huddersfield did manage to level the scores soon after however as Brough effortlessly slotted a penalty from 30m out to leave the result hanging in the balance.
Despite conceding, Salford weren’t to be undone for long as Niall Evalds claimed a sensational score. Giants full-back Jordan Rankin failed to grasp hold of the ball and Salford man Evalds somehow managed to outwit his opponent to latch onto the loose ball and touch down – Lui again failed to add the extras.
Evalds’ effort seemed to galvanise the Red Devils as a fearsome tackle from Greg Johnson forced McGillvary into a knock-on, just when a try looked a certainty.
The visitors flew out of the blocks after the break and their endeavours paid off twelve minutes into the half as Daniel Smith powered over from close range to level the scoring.
Brough then added the extras to turn the game on its head as Huddersfield grew in confidence.
Things quickly worsened for Salford as Jordan Turner returned to haunt his former club after surging his way past several defenders to score, before Brough landed the resulting goal to give the visitors an eight-point lead.
Huddersfield put the result beyond doubt when Kruise Leeming touched down after producing a sublime dummy before Brough comfortably added the extras.
Salford were to have the final say however as Sa’u bulldozed his way through three Huddersfield defenders to dive over and claim his second of the evening, before Lui landed the resulting drop goal in what proved to be the final point scoring action of the game.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Sa’u, Bibby, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Mossop, Tomkins, Murray, Griffin, Lannon, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Wood, Kopczak, Hauraki, Nakubuwai.
Huddersfield Lineup: Rankin, McGillvary, Gaskell, Mamo, McIntosh, Turner, Brough, Ta’ai, O’Brien, Clough, Mellor, Roberts, Hinchcliffe.
Interchanges: Leeming, Smith, English, Ikahihifo.
 
Salford Scorers: Tries- Sa’u (3’, 77’), Evalds (29’) | Goals- Lui (16’, 78’)
Huddersfield Scorers: Tries- McIntosh (18’), Smith (51’), Turner (64’), Leeming (73’) | Goals- Brough (26’, 52’, 65’, 74’)
Man of the Match: Junior Sa’u.
Referee: Liam Moore Touch Judges: T. Crashley & M. Craven.
Attendance: 2,343.