Category: Feature

Consistency is crucial for Marshall in back-to-back Castleford contests

Head coach Richard Marshall is relishing the chance to play Castleford Tigers this Friday at the A.J Bell Stadium.

The Red Devils got their first Betfred Super League win over Leigh Centurions last Friday, but Marshall is now focused on building momentum and consistency.

“A win raises everybody’s spirit but then expectations are lifted as well,” said Marshall.

“We want to be able to back up our performances and build on our efforts. We know the challenge is going to be difficult against Castleford but we’re at home, and we want to build on our home form as well.”

Castleford, who recently appointed Lee Radford as head coach for the 2022 Betfred Super League season, have started the season strongly.

The Tigers sit 4th in the Betfred Super League, winning three out of their first four league games this season.

Castleford’s attack has been particularly impressive, boasting the most tries scored so far this season. Marshall knows his defence will be have to be on top form.

Marshall said: “That would be the main challenge this week.”

“Castleford are a very good attacking team. They’ve got some flair and skills on the edges. Are we able to compete and go against them? Yes, we are.”

Marshall is faced with another selection headache with Matt Costello unavailable and Elijah Taylor still ruled out, but there will be a return to the squad in the shape of Kallum Watkins.

It will also be the first of back-to-back contests with Castleford Tigers, with both teams meeting again in next week’s Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals. But that won’t have too much bearing on Friday’s game according to Marshall.

“You know a lot more about the opposition but at the level we coach at you watch 3-4 games of opposition every week before a game,” Marshall added.

“It’s a double-edge sword really, they find a little more about you and you find a little more about them. But we’re not a team that wants to change too much. We want to find our own style. Castleford have been working as a team for a long time. They do things in certain ways and there very, very effective, so our defence has to be on this week.”

“A cup game is completely different though. A cup game is a one-off, it’s knockout and it’s a Quarter-Final so we’ll look forward to that but hopefully win this one first and build some momentum into that game.”

Subscribe to RDTV to hear everything Richard Marshall had to say ahead of Round 5.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Marshall – “We’ll have to be at our best”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall is looking to build momentum from his team’s first Betfred Super League win of the season when his side take on Castleford Tigers this Friday.

Salford ran out 34-8 winners over Leigh Centurions last Friday. Yet Marshall knows that his team will have to be at their best come their next tie.

“It will be a tough game, they’re a good team,” Marshall said.

“We’ll have to be at our best, our defence will have to improve, our ball control will have to improve. But I think there’s a lot more improvement with this squad, we’ve gave ourselves a chance and we’ll be going to compete.”

Castleford lost their first game of the season 22-12 last Thursday to Wigan Warriors. The Tigers sit 4th in the Betfred Super League standings and will be looking to bounce back from their loss when Salford welcome them at the AJ Bell stadium.

But spirits will be high in the Salford camp after their first league victory for not only the club, but the head coach as well.

“We feel good,” said Marshall. “We know we have to play better over the next couple of weeks.

“We’re all in it together. It’s not about me. For our club and our supporters, we owed them a performance. When you do that you usually win the game, so we look to concentrate on the performance first and as a result of performing really well.”

Marshall will have some thinking to do ahead of the clash with Tigers, with a number of regulars potentially unavailable for Round 5.

Marshall added: “We had a couple of injuries from the Catalans game. Kallum Watkins he’s got a small fracture in the hand; we don’t think it’s too bad, but he may miss next week (this Friday).

“Pauli Pauli rolled his ankle, so he wasn’t fit. Elijah (Taylor) has a shoulder problem that we can’t keep on top of.”

You can watch Salford Red Devils vs Castleford Tigers live on Sky Sports, kick-off at 7:45pm, or on Our League if you’re a season ticket holder.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD v LEIGH

You just never know how a game is going to unfold, and throughout any match all a team can do is to hang on in with the opposition so that when the decisive moment comes, if it goes in their direction, they will be in a position to take advantage of it and secure the result for themselves.

That philosophy could never have been more aptly fitting than to Salford’s victory over Leigh, on Friday evening, when a finely balanced contest swung completely out of the grasp of the spirited Centurions, and suddenly the scoreboard was working overtime to keep track of the home side’s newfound dominance.

That crucial moment came almost exactly midway through the second half, when a most threatening Leigh attack, via their left flank, was thwarted to devastating effect.  Krisnan Inu it was who produced the most extraordinary feat of ball handling skill, which really has to be viewed in slow motion to be fully appreciated.  He not only blocked what could have been a try-scoring pass, he then one-handedly regathered and flipped out the ball, with unbelievable accuracy to wing partner, Ken Sio, and all this whilst he was tumbling forward onto the ground.

With ninety metres then to cover, Sio’s pace and clever tactical running skills – involving veering first inside and then out to the righthand corner as he neared the try line – prevented him being overhauled by his pursuing opposite number.

Inu’s conversion, from wide out, succeeded in opening up a ten-point gap which had the most profound of effects on the Red Devils.  Gone, suddenly, was all the apprehension that had seemed to have dogged their attack for much of the game, to be replaced by a self-belief, assurance, and confidence that they had lacked recently.

From that point on, the pace of their game went up two gears, the ball was swung about from side to side with an accuracy that they had struggled to produce earlier, support for the man with the ball increased, and holes in the visitors’ defence line were exploited to the full. Marshall’s men enjoyed their ascendency to the full, adding a further three tries in a ten-minute period, which had the Centurions on the rack for the remainder of the encounter.

The Leigh players themselves must have been totally bemused and bewildered by this turn of events, and particularly by the one-sided look of the scoreline, for, in truth, the game hitherto had been anything but that. Indeed, the Centurions had had the better of the early exchanges, as they out-enthused their hosts, winning the battle of the hard yardage with strong running which gave them field position to score the opening try.

It was the Salford kicking game, which, in the first half, troubled Leigh most, with a number of high bombs being dropped, and goal-line drop-outs being forced from others, all of which brought a period of concerted Salford attack, and a converted try, to take the lead.  That lead proved to be quite short-lived, however, as the possibility of protracted home dominance, on the back of it, never materialised.

Rather the reverse, in fact, was the case, with Leigh enjoying their greatest period of pressure, during which they regained the lead to take with them into half time.  It was nip and tuck on the resumption, with Salford regaining a slender lead, which they held right up to that crucial moment of Inu’s intervention and Sio’s finish.

Great as it was to have gained their first league points of the season, there were a number of individual performances to enhance the enjoyment of that. As expected the stalwarts of the side, Mossop, Ikahihifo, Brown, and Lolohea, were the go-to players but a number of others also stood out.

Not least of these were Elliott Kear who was a revelation at fullback, Oliver Roberts who had his best game to date for Salford, Harvey Livett who built upon his personal performance at Catalans with involvement in three tries, one of which he was the scorer, and Chris Atkin whose introduction at dummy-half led to a much more fluid attacking game. Good individual performances from them all, but it was teamwork which won the match.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CATALANS v SALFORD

It had all started so well, with Salford commencing the more brightly of the two sides.  Having gone head to head with their hosts for the four opening sets, and indeed at least matching, if not bettering them, for yardage and for questioning of their defence, the Red Devils got briefly on top, when, from their second end-of-set kick, Harvey Livett, ably assisted by Kevin Brown’s intelligently dropping out of the tackle, was able to relieve Sam Tomkins of possession and launch the visitors on a close goal-line examination of the Dragons’ defence.

A clever kick from Tui Lolohea, into the in-goal area, at the end of that set, brought about the rewards of a goal-line drop-out, and it really looked as though the Salford players could bring a real test to the French team.  That, though, was as good as it were to get for some time, with a forced pass on the second tackle, with little room for error, being seized upon by the home side to set up a counter-attack.

Ten minutes of finely balanced rugby was eventually brought to an end with a debatable refereeing decision giving possession to Catalans, and in their first real challenge to defend their own line, the Red Devils cracked – not once but twice with back-to-back tries – and with that the game had swung to the Dragons.

What followed became somewhat dispiriting, as individual errors became increasingly prevalent, and the sheer physical dominance of the Catalans side, allied to sundry gifts of possession through lost ball or careless handling, saw them wear the visitors down with all the extra tackling each error forced upon them.  Missed tackles, on occasions, led directly to tries.

Indeed, the French had really done a good job in identifying which players they needed to target for special attention, and Kevin Brown, for example, was so closely policed that he often received ball and posse, almost simultaneously.  Their superior line speed added significantly to Salford’s error count and so often snuffed out possible attacks before they had had time to develop momentum.

 

Just when Salford fans, fifty minutes in, were beginning to wonder whether their team would manage to get on the scoreboard, the Reds succeeded in rescuing themselves in that respect, and it was a well worked try when it came.

A strong hit up by prop, Jack Ormondroyd, followed by a quick play-the-ball enabled Brown to get the ball in space for once, and his well-timed pass put Livett through a half gap.  The try still needed scoring though, not just in getting to the line but also in his handling skill, whilst under considerable pressure from the opposition, in grounding the ball without losing control of it.

It was definitely not Salford’s day, however, as the scoreboard reflects, though on that form, many other sides are going to struggle to live with the Catalans side, at their home.  The Red Devils have started the season taking on three of the most dominant teams in the competition.  They have to put that behind them now, and concentrate on securing a victory, with a considerably improved performance, which would be helped by showing greater self-belief, in adversity, both individually, and as a team.

Marshall – “We’ve got that in abundance”

Salford Red Devils travel to Perpignan this Saturday to face Catalans Dragons in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League and head coach Richard Marshall and his side are up for the challenge.

Salford are still on the hunt for their first Super League win of the season, but last Saturday’s blowout victory over Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup has Marshall optimistic of his team’s chances against a Catalans side who are unbeaten in 2021.

Marshall said: “The preparation was good last week, the same with this week,”

“We scored a lot of points, some really good tries and there was a lot of interplay. We’ll build off our last performance albeit in the cup.

“It’s all about discipline when you go over there to France, whether there’s a crowd there or not.”

Having won all three of their games in all competitions this season, Catalans Dragons will provide a tough test for the Red Devils.

Marshall said: “They’ve got really good half backs who guide them and a big physical team who take it right to the edge, we’ll be ready for that.

“We will need a real strong, resolute defensive line but also manage the game correctly. That’s something we’ve been talking about all week. It’s that Salford ‘never say die’ attitude and we’ve got that in abundance.”

Salford will be the first team to travel to France during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Marshall has made it clear that player welfare is at the forefront of his preparation.

“The safety and the welfare of our players is paramount for me as a coach,” Marshall added.

“We’re just flying in on the date, we’ll play and fly out on the same day. It’s get in, get the job done and then get back. We’re in our own bubble. We won’t be mixing with anyone outside of that.”

One player returning to familiar ground is full-back Morgan Escare. The Frenchman was born in Perpignan and played for Catalans for three years, and after his impressive performance against Widnes, there may be some added motivation for the 29-year-old to deliver against his former team.

“He knows about the place being it’s his former club and I’m looking forward for him to be an energiser for our team,” Marshall added.

“They’ll be no crowd there or friends and family but he’s on his home soil. I was really happy with his performance last week.”

Catalans Dragons v Salford Red Devils kicks off at 17:00 BST live on Sky Sports, and is also available to watch on Our League if you’re a season ticket holder.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Ormondroyd – “My goal is to try and nail down a spot in the team every week”

Prop Jack Ormondroyd seized on his opportunity last Saturday, capping off his great performance against Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup with a Man of the Match honour.

Now Ormondroyd will be knocking on head coach Richard Marshall’s door for a consistent spot in the starting line-up.

“My goal is to try and nail down a spot in the team every week,” Ormondroyd said.

“I had a meeting with Rich (Richard Marshall) and Danny (Orr) pre-season, and we set some goals and that was one of my goals. I’ve put quite a lot of work in pre-season and hopefully Rich and Danny have seen that and hopefully it will pull off.”

The number 25 made 7 appearances in his debut season in Salford last term. By his own account, Ormondroyd believes his performance against Widnes is a way to help nail down his spot in the Salford team.

There were also a lot of opportunities handed to new signings, with players such as Morgan Escare, Darcy Lussick and Matt Costello all featuring in the weekend’s win.

Ormondroyd talked about building chemistry with the newer players in the squad and the harmony within the dressing room.

“With all new teams it takes quite a bit of time to gel. I think we’ve had a long pre-season, we met up the week before Christmas, so we’ve had a lot of time now together. All the new lads are good lads.”

“That’s a big thing here at Salford, we talked about it a lot last year and this year. I’ve been good mates with everyone, having no bad eggs in the team, and that goes a really long way in making you a successful team. Everybody wants to work hard for each other and work hard for the coach as well. “

The Red Devils return to Betfred Super League action this Saturday against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan. Catalans have won all three of their opening games this season and Ormondroyd knows they are going to be a tough test.

Ormondroyd added: “It will be a tough game. They’ve got a big pack, but I think it’s a good chance for us.

“We didn’t have two great performances in our last two, so we talked about restarting our season against Widnes. It’s a step up this week.”

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Marshall – “He’s a shining star for us”

Head coach Richard Marshall was delighted with a number of individual performances from his Red Devils side in last Saturday’s comfortable victory over Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

 The dominant 68-4 victory over Widnes booked the Red Devils a place in the Quarter-Finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup, in what was Marshall’s first runout in the competition as the Salford head coach. 

 The victory was highlighted by a Man of the Match performance from Jack Ormondroyd, and Morgan Escare and Matt Costello both picking up two tries each on their debuts for Salford.

 It was a particularly great afternoon for Ormondroyd, who repeatedly broke the Widnes line and looked a constant threat, capping his Man of the Match performance with a try of his own. 

 Speaking on Salford’s number 25, Marshall said: “He’s one of those unsung heroes within our team. He had a really good, solid game for us, he looked strong in contact, but his challenge would be to do that every week.

 “Hes probably on the periphery of the first team at our club. He’s not a young man anymore, if he wants to be Super League player, hes going to have to play week in, week out against the best team and packs in the country. 

“He’s been good over the past couple of weeks so he’s a shining star for us.”  

 Marshall was also full of praise for Escare and Costello.

 “They’ve obviously been knocking on the door the last couple of weeks,” Marshall added.

“Both new players to our club and both took their opportunities really, really well. I thought defensively, Matt had some reads when challenged and I thought Morgan was everywhere… he’s electric. They’ll gain a lot of confidence.” 

 Despite the blowout win, Marshall still acknowledged the effort put in from Widnes, in a contest that began quite evenly matched.

Marshall said: They had some quality in their troops. I thought their half backs had a good go and challenged us at times. But for our guys we scored some wonderful points.

“Albeit it was against a Championship side, but you’ve still got to score, make breaks, offload and from that point of view it was really encouraging.”  

Salford travel to Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, which will be contested over the first weekend of May.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Marshall – “We’re ready for the challenge”

Head Coach Richard Marshall has said that he wants his Salford Red Devils team to produce quality performances at the AJ Bell stadium ahead of the team’s first competitive home game of the season.

Salford will face Widnes Vikings in the Third Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup on Saturday, and Marshall expressed that he was looking forward to the match.

Marshall said: “We played a couple of friendlies here and I thought we played really well in them.

“We want to play really well at home this year, and we’ve got an opportunity this week to do that.”

While the match will be played without fans in attendance, Marshall explained he was relishing the return of fans, saying that he looked forward to building a rapport with the local community.

Marshall added: “I want to get a relationship with our support and our local community.

“The lifeblood of our game is our fans, and we want to repay them with our performances on the pitch.”

Salford will be the favourites when they face Widnes, but Marshall warned against underestimating the Betfred Championship side.

“I’m sure Widnes will be coming with a really concise game plan and try to unnerve and rattle us,” Marshall explained.

“The Championship teams come with lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm and a really good simple plan.”

Marshall revealed that he wanted to strike a balance between selecting a strong team and rotation but would be forced in to making some certain changes, confirming that both Dan Sarginson and Elijah Taylor will be out through injury. Kevin Brown is also unavailable due to suspension.

Marshall said: “We want to win this game and progress in the Challenge Cup.

“We’ve got some fringe players that have not played and who I’ve not had a look at yet, but at the same time we’ve not found our rhythm.

“We want to put a strong team out and we want to go and win the game.

“We’re ready for the challenge.”

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Patrick Ryan

Josh Johnson – “We want to get some silverware”

Salford Red Devils prop Josh Johnson believes his side are on the road to more memorable occasions this season, despite a rocky start so far.

Speaking after making his return from injury against Hull FC last Saturday, Johnson remained confident that the Red Devils were on track to compete over the course of the Betfred Super League season and that fresh faces in both the staff and the squad had brought a new energy to the team.

Johnson said: “It is quite refreshing having new people come in because it brings new ideas, new drills, just a whole different thing, a new set of eyes looking on what we are doing. So, on a personal note, it has probably helped me so I think it can only push us on even further.

“Our ambitions this year are no different, we want to get some silverware and we have come up short twice now.

“I think everyone in the squad and the new additions we have brought in, we are all heading in the same direction and I think we are going to turn it around and get to some more big occasions and get some silverware.”

On the prospect of facing Widnes Vikings in Round Three of the Betfred Challenge Cup this Saturday, Johnson is ready for what he believes is still going to be a tough test against a strong Betfred Championship side.

“Widnes are a tough opposition, like you say they are in the Championship, but that gives them that extra bit of hunger to try to turn us over, so we have got to be ready for that this weekend.

“I think they will come with a lot of hunger and aggression and I think we will need to match it and out enthuse them and our talented players in our squad will overcome them and I am confident we will get the win.”

You can purchase an Our League game day pass for Salford’s Third Round tie against Widnes Vikings HERE, at an early bird price of £4.95.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Megan Wellens

Marshall – “I’m looking forward to the week”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall has called on his team to respond to recent defeats when they face Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup Third Round on Saturday.

After a slow start to the season, Saturday’s clash with Betfred Championship side, Widnes Vikings, provides the perfect tonic for Marshall’s men to bounce back.

Marshall said: “We need a response and I’m looking forward to the week and making sure the boys are ready for Widnes.

“We need to play a lot better.”

Despite the loss against Hull FC last Saturday, Marshall warned that there would not be too much rotation for the Betfred Challenge Cup tie this weekend.

“We’ll have picked up a couple of knocks today and some people will need a run, but at the same time it’s important that we win that game,” Marshall added.

“We’ve not found our formula as yet as a team, so I’ll have to have a think about that in the week and see how everyone tips off and practises.”

Salford reached the final of the Betfred Challenge Cup last year but fell short at the final hurdle. The Red Devils will look to go one step further in 2021, but the head coach insists that focus is entirely on his side’s performance on Saturday.

Marshall added: “Let’s just focus on the next game. Forget about the opposition, it’s for ourselves and about what we’re trying to achieve here.”

To watch Salford’s Betfred Challenge Cup Third Round tie with Widnes Vikings on Saturday, you can purchase an Our League pass HERE, at an early bird price of £4.95.

Written by: Patrick Ryan

Image credit: Steve McCormick