Category: Rugby

Preview | Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 29th June

The Red Devils travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to face Warrington Wolves in search of back-to-back victories following a crucial win over Widnes Vikings two weeks ago.
Last time out
Salford returned to winning ways a fortnight ago with a 26-12 victory over Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium in a game which saw the Red Devils fight back after going into the interval behind.
Ian Watson’s men scored 18 unanswered points after the break with Jake Bibby, debutant Greg Burke – against his parent club – and Rob Lui all scoring with the final try coming following Chris Houston’s red card for dissent.
Kris Welham crossed for a brace in the first half before being sin-binned while Tom Gilmore and Patrick Ah Van were the Vikings’ try-scorers.

Warrington narrowly edged out Wakefield in their last Betfred Super League outing but had raced into a 20-0 lead thanks to scores from Stefan Ratchford and Tom Lineham. Tinirau Aruna was Trinity’s only scorer in the first half.
Kyle Wood’s double closed the gap further however Kevin Brown kept Warrington in control. Sita Akauloa was sent for ten minutes following a high tackle and Trinity took advantage crossing via Tom Johnstone and Pauli Pauli but there wasn’t enough time to finish a comeback as the Wolves maintained their position inside the top four.
Salford returned to winning ways against Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium following a tough run throughout the month of May. The Red Devils were unfortunate to lose out to Catalans and Huddersfield before a spirited second half performance against Hull FC. The hard work paid off as Salford earned a vital two points against the Vikings.
Despite still sitting inside the top four, Warrington have had a mixed bag of results since the start of May. They earned impressive victories against Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC either side of a disappointing Dacia Magic Weekend showing against Wigan Warriors.
Since, they have been narrowly edged out by Castleford Tigers by four points before then pipping Wakefield Trinity by two points at the Mobile Rocket Stadium. The Wolves have won four of their last five games at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
In this week’s head-to-head we pit centres Kris Welham and Bryson Goodwin against each other as both put in Man of the Match performances in their last outings.
Welham – who has missed just one game for the Red Devils in 2018 – crossed for a first half brace against Widnes with his second marking 150 career tries. The experienced centre has continued his form into his second season with the Club and has been consistent in both attack and defence.

Goodwin joined Warrington from Leigh Centurions at the start of the 2018 season and has proven a solid addition. The Kiwi caused a lot of issues for Trinity out wide a fortnight ago as well as kicking three pivotal goals.
Kris Welham was one of the standout performances against Wire earlier in the season as noted in our ‘Stat Pack’ following the game. Both Welham and Goodwin are veterans and whichever centre can cause the opposition the most issues could see their side come out on top on Friday evening.
Team News
Mark Flanagan – who missed out on the victory over Widnes with concussion – returns to the squad alongside Lee Mossop who could also re-enter the team. Craig Kopczak and Tyrone McCarthy are the two players who leave the 19-man squad which was named to take on Widnes a fortnight ago.
Harvey Livett is likely to miss a few weeks for the Wolves while Ryan Atkins is also sidelined. Warrington have also decided to rest Chris Hill and Stefan Ratchford who both featured in England’s test win over New Zealand in Denver last weekend.
Warrington: Sitaleki Akauola, Kevin Brown, Mitch Brown, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Dom Crosby, Bryson Goodwin, Jack Hughes, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Dec Patton, Joe Philbin, Ben Pomeroy, Tyrone Roberts, Morgan Smith, Ben Westwood.
Salford: Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Robert Lui, Jack Littlejohn, Logan Tomkins, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Daniel Murray, Jake Shorrocks, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke.
Table Permutations  
A Salford Red Devils victory could see them climb up to 9th in the Betfred Super League table dependant on Catalans Dragons result against Castleford Tigers. Hull KR sit in 11th place but a victory for the Robins wouldn’t see them move above Salford.
Warrington – similarly to the Red Devils – can’t move down the Betfred Super League table even if Hull FC overcome Widnes Vikings. However, Steve Price’s side can overtake Castleford if the Tigers lose to Catalans Dragons and the Wolves win.

The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Factfile | Salford Red Devils vs Warrington Wolves | Friday 29th June

Ahead of Friday’s Betfred Super League clash with Warrington Wolves we’ve collated all the stats and facts as the Red Devils go in search of back-to-back victories.
Previous Meetings
Salford come into Friday’s fixture against Warrington having won two of their last three meetings with the Wolves. The Red Devils earned 24-14 and 38-12 victories over Warrington in 2017 but fell to a defeat earlier this season at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Last year’s 38-12 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium was the first win away at Warrington since 2011’s narrow 18-16 win. Salford have won on four occasions since Warrington’s move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium also earning back-to-back victories away against the Wolves in 2006.
The Red Devils longest unbeaten streak against Warrington in the Betfred Super League era came in 2001-2002 and 2006 with three consecutive victories on both occasions. Before last season’s home victory Salford had lost nine consecutive fixtures against Warrington.
Salford’s highest margin of victory over Warrington in the Betfred Super League came on the road with an 8-37 win at Wilderspool in 1998. Overall, in the Betfred Super League Salford have been victorious on 17 occasions while Warrington have won 31 of the meetings.
Junior Sa’u is the Red Devils most frequent try-scorer against Warrington in recent memory crossing for eight tries in his last six appearances in this fixture. The centre managed to rack up two braces in last year’s meetings as well as a double in 2016, also.

Two other players who have had success crossing the whitewash against Warrington are Niall Evalds who scored a hat-trick in last season’s meeting at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and Kriss Brining who went over in both encounters in 2017. However, both players are currently sidelined for the Red Devils.
Ryan Atkins has been Warrington’s talisman in recent years against Salford enjoying a spell of five tries in four games between 2015 and 2016 however the centre hasn’t scored since 2016 and is unavailable for Friday’s meeting.
Declan Patton and Jack Hughes have both scored on two separate occasions against the Red Devils while Josh Charnley crossed earlier this season to make it one in one against Salford since signing for the Wolves.

As mentioned, Evalds is the most recent player to score a hat-trick in this fixture. Gene Ormsby is the last player to score a treble for Warrington in this fixture doing so in a 18-34 victory back in 2015.
2018 Stats
Wingers Tom Lineham and Josh Charnley are currently level as Warrington’s top try-scorers in Betfred Super League this season with nine tries apiece. Salford’s Jake Bibby isn’t far having crossed for eight tries including one in the Red Devils last outing against Widnes Vikings.

Tyrone McCarthy – who is absent this weekend – is currently Salford’s top tackler this season with 400. New addition Greg Burke has also made exactly 400 tackles however a large proportion of these have been for parent club Widnes. Warrington currently have the Betfred Super League’s leading tackler in Daryl Clark who has notched 705.

The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Martin Gleeson | “I believe we can come up with the win”

With the England v New Zealand Test Match, in Denver, having provided what must have been a most welcome blank weekend for the rest of Super League, the Salford Red Devils return to action on Friday evening, suitably rested, as they make the short trip to neighbours, Warrington Wolves.
The benefits of the extended break are detailed to us by assistant coach, Martin Gleeson.
“It’s a good chance to give the bodies a rest and a few days off, while at the same time having an extra couple of training days, when the players have come back fresh. In those we can brush up on a few things and then work more specifically on certain aspects of our game that really need it.
“Everyone of the players is fully aware of what they should be doing in every game, but the main things we need to improve upon are our discipline and ball retention. That is what has been costing us in so many matches, because you cannot produce a quality performance when you are giving away a lot of penalties and dropping the ball.
“Thankfully, we went some way towards putting that right, last time out, against Widnes, when we all saw just how competitive we can be when we get those elements right.”
Having seemingly turned the corner with their second half performance at Hull, and having backed that up with a home victory against the Vikings, attention now turns to this coming weekend’s fixture with Warrington.
“If we don’t put ourselves under too much unnecessary pressure we are capable of beating them. They have some high quality, individuals, and that will make it tough, but if we can produce the same kind of performance we did against Widnes, I believe we can come up with the win.
“On the other hand, if we fail to measure up in this respect, that is when the likes of Benny Murdoch-Masila, Chris Hill, and Josh Charnley will get opportunities to make us pay. They are all quick, and if they are running at a tired defence which has been doing more defending than attacking, those quality players are going to cause us problems.
“We have to play well to compete with them, and if we don’t we are not going to win.”
Stark as that warning, is, it comes in the context of a mere handful of games left in the regular season.
“Every point we can get now is crucial, and we could do with getting every one available to us, but even if we don’t get those points we have still got to stay in games and be competitive to the end, so that whichever competition we move onto next, we are in a good run of form.
“So, even on occasions when we don’t get the result we have got to come up with a good performance, in order to generate that momentum for the next stage of the season.”
Looking at the fixture list on paper, this week’s encounter would appear to be the toughest of them all, particularly with it being an away fixture against one of the leading sides in this year’s competition.
“We would certainly be expecting our home matches to produce good results, and having beaten Castleford here last year is some encouragement in this, but they are all going to be tough in the run in.”
The recent strengthening of the squad, with the acquisition of prop, Greg Burke, and utility back, Ed Chamberlain, will undoubtedly go some way towards helping matters.
“Greg is a Wiganer who has come from a good rugby background, and experienced a highly competitive team environment, so with Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan missing last time out, he was perfect to come in and shoulder some responsibility, which he did really well. It’s good to have him on board.
“The try he scored was quite pivotal in the outcome, and it came from our pressure, as a result of getting back-to-back sets.
“Ed will bring some much-needed competition for places, in the backs.”

The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

International | England to face France in warm-up test

England Rugby League Elite Men’s squad will face France at Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday, October 17 (KO 7.45pm) in preparation for the Autumn International Series against New Zealand.
On Saturday, England defeated the Kiwis 36-18 in front of a crowd of 19,320 in Denver, Colorado in the first international Rugby League game to be staged in the USA for 18 years.
The game against France will be the first time UK supporters will be able to watch the World Cup finalists in action in this country since the 2016 Four Nations.
England and France last met in their final group stage game of the RLWC2017 in Perth, Australia, with England securing a 36-6 victory.
In 2015, Leigh Sports Village hosted England v France as a warm up fixture prior to the Autumn International Series against the Kiwis that saw England lift the Baskerville Shield.
Director of Rugby, Kevin Sinfield said: “2018 is a hugely important year for England Rugby League and the mid-season test against Denver was the first step in building on the success of reaching the World Cup final in 2017.
“The Denver Test showed the appetite for International Rugby League away from the UK and Australia and the victory against New Zealand showed that we’re heading in the right direction as a team.
“The French Tests have been good for us over the last couple of years and it’s great to have another game lined up on home soil ahead of the Autumn Series. It will give the team the chance to regroup after the end of the season before we face New Zealand again.”
Tickets for the game against France are on sale now at and are priced at £20 for Adults and £5 for Juniors. ‘Our League’ members can purchase tickets and save 50% on both Adult and Junior prices. Visit for more details and to book.
Tickets for this Autumn’s International Series against New Zealand are also on sale at and are priced from £25 for adults and £12.50 for concessions. ‘Our League’ members will get £5 off all ticket categories when purchased through the Our League App or website.
Our League members can also take advantage of an exclusive offer which gives them 3 games for the price of 2, click here for more information.

The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Squad | Red Devils welcome back duo for Wolves clash

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for Friday’s trip to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to take on Warrington Wolves.
Mark Flanagan – who missed out on the victory over Widnes with concussion – returns to the squad alongside Lee Mossop who could also re-enter the team.
Greg Burke and Ed Chamberlain both retain their places after successful debuts against their parent club Widnes Vikings with prop-forward Burke crossing for a crucial try.

Jack Littlejohn who has featured at fullback in the absence of Niall Evalds is also named and could retain his spot at the back.
Craig Kopczak and Tyrone McCarthy are the two players who leave the 19-man squad which was named to take on Widnes a fortnight ago.
Supporters can purchase tickets from the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. For more information on ticket prices, time they are on sale until at the AJ Bell Stadium and offers for the game please click here.

The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.


Academy | Luis Roberts and Cian Rhys selected for Wales U16s

Salford Red Devils players Cian Rhys and Luis Roberts named in the Wales U16 29-man training squad with the hopes of featuring against England in September.
Both Cian Rhys and Luis Roberts had successful seasons with the Red Devils U16’s sides last season and Player Performance Manager Danny Barton wasn’t surprised by their inclusion.
Barton said: “We’re delighted that both Cian and Luis have been selected for the Wales U16’s training squad, they’ve both been terrific this season.
“Cian is a versatile player who occupied a number of roles very successfully throughout last season while Luis is a dangerous centre with an eye for the try-line.
“We are hoping that both will feature against England later in the year and experience international rugby league.”
The full squad is follows: 
Benjamin Harris (Aber Valley Wolves), Shaun Webber (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Jac Lloyd, Immanuel Feyi-Aboso, David Yulu-Nzamba, George Sheppard (West Wales Raiders), Cian Rhys (Burtonwood Bulldogs/Salford Red Devils), Brynmor Bradley (London Broncos), Ewan Challenger (Cardiff Blue Dragons/West Wales Raiders), Ewan Badham, (Llanelli Knights/City of Hull), Ieaun Badham (Llanelli Knights/City of Hull), Morgan Jones, Harvey McDaid (Halton Farnworth Hornets/St Helens), Keenan McDaid (Halton Farnworth Hornets/St Helens), Lewis Gough, Cameron Samuel, Callum Penn (Torfaen Tigers), William Oates (Aber Valley Wolves), Luis Roberts (Hindley ARLFC/Salford Red Devils), Reilly Scriven (Torfaen Tigers), Kyle Huish (Aber Valley Wolves/Wigan Warriors), Jacob Lee (Aber Valley Wolves/Wigan Warriors), Ieuan Hancock (Torfaen Tigers), Joshua Atkinson (Wigan Warriors), Gwilym Evans, Iwan Johnes, Iwan Pyrs-Jones (Wigan Warriors), Trystan Rawlings (West Wales Raiders), Kieran Lewis.
The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Danny Barton | “There’s a big focus from everyone at the Club on our youth”

Salford Red Devils Category Three U19’s side gathered for their first session ahead of the 2018-19 season earlier this week and Player Performance Manager Danny Barton is ‘excited’ to see the new talent progress.
Barton said: “Our first training session was fantastic.
“We’ve recruited really well when it comes to our 19s this season. We’ve got some really exciting kids on board with a lot of local talent some of whom have progressed through from our 16s.
“They’re all passionate about playing for Salford Red Devils and going as far as they can here at the Club and, maybe, even challenging for a position in the first team down the line.
“There’s a big focus from everyone at the Club on our youth at the moment.”
Danny Barton has been working closely with Director of Rugby and Operations Ian Blease and Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson and this has seen youngsters Sam Bardsley and Jack Ratcliffe begin training with the first team.
Barton said: “We’re all in the same mindset and we’re all local which really helps.
“It all seems to be coming together with Ian [Blease] as Director of Rugby and Ian [Watson] as Head Coach and we’re all looking to develop and further our youth development here at Salford Red Devils.
“I’d love to get someone into the first team within the next five years – that’s the goal.
“We had Jack [Ratcliffe] and Sam [Bardsley] down talking to the 19s earlier this week and discussing what it’s like training with the first team and I think some of the lads realised the opportunity they have in front of them.”
Barton’s Salford Red Devils Category Three U19s side have moved up a division for the 2018-19 season but the Player Performance Manager is confident his team can impress on the back of a restructuring of the league.
Barton said: “Fixtures for the 19s start in September but we’ll be heading into pre-season in the coming weeks.
“The lads have got some programmes from our conditioners, so they can come into pre-season fit and healthy and hopefully make an impact on the field this season.
“We are looking at having two teams at 19s this season with one team competing in the top division.
“I’m excited to see the lads progress here at Salford and I’m looking forward to getting the season underway.”
More information on the Salford Red Devils U19s fixtures will be made available nearer the beginning of their season.
The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Three Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 26-12 Widnes Vikings

Salford Red Devils returned to winning ways on Thursday evening with a crucial victory over Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium and we take a look at three talking points from the game.
Ian Watson’s men went into half-time trailing 8-12 however managed to comeback in the second half and go on to win the game 26-12. Watson and Assistant Head Coach Willie Poching both pointed to the side ‘overcoming adversity’ and ‘showing real character’ to come from behind to seal two points in the Betfred Super League.
Thursday’s game was the first time this season that the Red Devils have won a game when being behind at the interval. In fact, Salford’s last victory in which they overcame the odds in the second half came against Hull Kingston Rovers in last year’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on May 12th.
The fightback was made even more impressive when you consider the Red Devils had just two interchanges for the majority of the game with both Tyrone McCarthy and Jake Shorrocks leaving due to injury. In addition, new recruit Ed Chamberlain didn’t enter the field until the 79th minute meaning the hosts did a large period with just one interchange.
Heading into the business end of the season the side will be looking to build on this resilience shown to push for a position in the Betfred Super League Super 8s.
Movement in the backs
Thursday’s game saw some positional changes in the back line however these seemed to prove dividend for the Red Devils.
Jack Littlejohn – who moved to fullback last weekend against Hull FC in the absence of injured Niall Evalds – occupied the role at the back once again this week and was a standout performer. Littlejohn was safe under the high ball and caused the Vikings issues when he came into the attacking line particularly when executing a delayed pass to put Jake Bibby over in the second half.
Jake Shorrocks and Rob Lui paired in the halves and Shorrocks continued to improve for Salford until he was forced to leave the field due to a facial injury. However, Josh Wood moved into the halfback role and excelled as he has for the majority of the season with Logan Tomkins then doing long minutes at hooker.
While Evalds being out is a blow for Salford, Thursday’s game displayed the versality and options the red Devils still have in the backs.
Kris Welham
Centre Kris Welham was voted as Salford’s Man of the Match by Match Sponsor Turner Parkinson and the veteran was exceptional on Thursday evening.
Welham was quickest to react to a loose ball in the first half before racing 60m to cross for the Red Devils first try of the evening before then pulling off a magnificent weaving finish for his second just minutes later.
The second was Welham’s 150th of his career so far and the centre has been a fantastic signing since arriving back in 2017. The centre has missed just one game so far in 2018 and the Red Devils will be looking to him to maintain this kind of try-scoring form in some massive upcoming Betfred Super League games.

Ian Watson | “The boys have shown real character”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson credited the players with last night’s victory over Widnes saying they’ve ‘overcome adversity’ to get back to winning ways.
Watson said: “I’m really happy with the victory.
“We’ve faced a lot of adversity as a club on and off the field and the one thing that’s always stayed really good is the character of the players and they’ve still been coming in wanting to learn, wanting to improve and wanting to get better.
“They deserve all the credit.”
While Watson points to the adversity over the last few weeks, the Head Coach also feels his side battled against adversity throughout the game against the Vikings.
Watson said: “They’ve faced adversity in that game there like the Wakefield game when we faced adversity, also.
“The boys have shown real character and they came out and fought for each other and we got the result on the back of that.
“I’m really proud of the group for what they’ve faced and what’s been thrown at them with people saying they’re not good enough to get into the Super 8s.
“It’s a credit to how they’ve come through it because it does pile a lot of pressure on you.”
In previous weeks, the Red Devils have had to get through more work than usual and Watson feels that by cutting out errors and penalties they lessened this workload which proved dividend.
Watson said: “The big thing is we weren’t doing 100 extra tackles today whereas every other week we’ve been spilling the ball and making this extra work for ourselves.
“We’re a very good defensive team and are also a good attacking side and when we have an equal share of possession we come out of the other side and show the ability we have with ball in hand.”
Watson pointed to new arrival Greg Burke and Jack Littlejohn – who has moved to fullback in recent weeks – as standout performers for his side.
“I knew what Greg [Burke] was about and I was really surprised Widnes let him go,” Watson said.
He added: “Greg is a 25-year-old who works really hard in defence and leads the pack in attack. It’s a real coup for us as a club and I think you could see why with his performance.
“Jack [Littlejohn] showed some real good touches away at Hull FC last week and we just had a few early teething problems with him moving to fullback.
“He’s got to get used to a winger jamming in your face which is different to when you’re in the halves, but I thought his rugby smarts came into play against Widnes and worked really well for us.”

Willie Poching | “It’s a reward for their efforts”

Following a massive Betfred Super League victory over Widnes Vikings, Assistant Coach Willie Poching expressed his delight for the lads who got to sing their winning song following a tough few weeks.
Poching also gave an update on Jake Shorrocks and Tyrone McCarthy who both left the field early.
Full press conference can be seen below: