Category: Rugby

Ladbrokes Challenge Cup | Semi-final double header at Bolton

The Rugby Football League have confirmed that the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-finals will be played as a double header at Macron Stadium, Bolton on Sunday August 5th.
For the first time in Challenge Cup history the semi-finals will be played at one venue on the same day with every minute of the fast paced action broadcast live on the BBC. Macron Stadium, which has a capacity of just under 30,000 is no stranger to Rugby League with three World Club Challenge games and three international Test matches being played there between 1998-2007.
Rugby Football League interim Chief Executive, Ralph Rimmer, said: “The Ladbrokes Challenge Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions in sport and the introduction of a semi-finals double header is a fantastic opportunity to showcase two of the biggest games of the year at one event. Fans rarely get the chance to watch two games on one day that have so much riding on them and I am sure that everyone attending will have a fantastic time.
“The Dacia Magic Weekend, Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final and the Betfred Super League Grand Final are all huge events in the sporting calendar and we know that they attract fans who do not regularly attend
Rugby League games. We believe that this unique event will offer another opportunity for the sport to showcase itself to a wider audience of event goers and casual sports fans. We believe that by creating the double header for the semi-finals that we will elevate the games and create a memorable experience for all those involved.
“Rugby League prides itself on being innovative and trying new concepts meaning we are one of the very few sports who can put together an event with four semi-finalists at one venue, creating what we hope will be a fantastic occasion. Our thanks as ever go to our broadcast partner for the semi-finals, BBC Sport, who have worked to give us five hours of Rugby League coverage on their channels in one afternoon.”
Philip Bernie, Head of TV Sport, BBC said: “BBC Sport and the Rugby Football League have been working for some time on this innovative idea and we are delighted the semi-finals of the most famous cup competition in Rugby League will be showcased in this way. It will be a five hour feast of Rugby League on Sunday August 5th , with that huge prize at stake – a Wembley final.”
The first semi-final will kick-off at 12.30pm with the second game kicking off at 2.45pm.
Tickets for the double header start at £25 for adults and £12.50 for Juniors. Fans will get great value for money being able to watch the two highly anticipated clashes on one day with over 70% of tickets being available in the cheapest price category.
All four semi-finalist clubs will go on sale on Wednesday June 6 at 10am with club season ticket holders / members entitled to a £4 discount in all categories but these tickets must be purchased directly from the participating clubs.
As a benefit of Our League, the free membership for Rugby League fans, a small allocation of tickets are available to purchase now in Categories 1 and 3. These can be purchased from rugbyleague.tickethour.co.uk. Our League members also qualify for a £4 discount off tickets and should check their inbox for details.
Fans can still get 10% off adult tickets in categories 4 to 7 for the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday August 25, by purchasing before June 19 at www.rugby-league.com/tickets

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.

Factfile | Salford Red Devils vs Huddersfield Giants | Friday 25th May

Here’s a quick run over the facts ahead of tonight’s massive Betfred Super League clash with Huddersfield Giants at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Head-to-head
Salford have enjoyed some sustained success over the Giants in recent seasons winning each of their last five meetings with Huddersfield. The Red Devils have also won each of their last three home fixtures against the West Yorkshire side.
Huddersfield’s last victory over Salford came on 17th June 2016 with a 31-30 win. This was also Huddersfield’s last win at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The Red Devils highest winning margin against Huddersfield came in the last meeting between the sides at the AJ Bell Stadium in the 2017 Super 8s. Salford ran out 52-14 winners with Kris Welham and Manu Vatuvei grabbing braces alongside tries from Tyrone McCarthy, Niall Evalds, Jake Bibby, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Josh Jones.
Salford have a positive record against the Giants in the Betfred Super League winning 23 of the 40 meetings between the sides. Huddersfield have won the other 17 fixtures while there is yet to be a draw between the teams.
Milestones
Salford Red Devils winger Greg Johnson will make his 100th appearance for the Club – should he be selected. Johnson debuted for the Red Devils in a 18-14 victory over Wakefield on 16th February 2014.
Mark Flanagan could be in line to make his 200th career appearance this evening. The forward has featured 61 times for Salford since his arrival in 2016. Flanagan has previously made 87 appearances for St Helens (2012-2015), 27 for Wests Tigers (2010-2011) and 11 for Wigan Warriors (2009).
The Giants also have a club milestone which could be celebrated this evening as forward Ukuma Ta’ai may make his 150th appearance for Huddersfield. Aaron Murphy is in line to make his 200th Betfred Super League appearance, also.

Willie Poching | “We have worked really hard on trying to fix up”

As always, last week’s Magic Weekend not only served up a fine display of rugby league throughout its two days, but also produced some surprising results, one of which may well have been Huddersfield’s win over much fancied Wakefield, so with the Giants being the next team up at the A J Bell, this coming weekend, that win must undoubtedly serve as something of a warning to ourselves, as agreed by Assistant Coach, Willie Poching.
“In the run up to last weekend’s game it probably would have looked that way, especially with Wakefield having rested a few players the previous week for the cup game, and with their big hitters returning. Having seen how Huddersfield had played in their cup game the week before, though, it was always going to be a hard task to play against them.
“They certainly went into both those games full of confidence, and it looks as though they have turned the corner now. Chris Thorman is really putting his mark on the team whilst they are awaiting the arrival of their new coach, and on top of that they have got some big names back in the team. As a result, they are growing in confidence every single week, so it was no surprise to us how well they did at the weekend.”
One notable point of that particular encounter, coming as it did immediately after our match with Catalans, was the increased speed of that game.
“That was because ours was much more of a forward battle, whereas Huddersfield, through Danny Brough, tended to move the ball about more, and that meant that Wakefield had to pick up their tempo to try and claw their way back into contention.  We will try to control the pace of the game, as we always do.
“We understand the strengths and dangers that Huddersfield present, and we have worked really hard at trying to fix up some of the areas of concern around our own game.”
One of the big names now returned to the Yorkshire side’s ranks is the afore-mentioned Danny Brough, who has such a controlling and effective influence on his side.
“It is not just his kicking game which enables him to bring such confidence into his side, but his leadership, and his passion for the game, so it is no coincidence that they have improved, as he has returned and is starting to show some form.
“He is a big one for us to watch but it has to be remembered that he has a ‘support cast’ around him that is also playing well, all of whom contributed well last weekend, so it is not just about the one player.”
Getting off to a good start, is the aim of every team, because it gives something on which they can build, but unfortunately the good starts which the Red Devils have had in their last two outings, has failed to procure the expected outcome, with the turnaround coming upon our conceding penalties at the very end of sets.
“There were other things too such as kicking early in the sets when attacking their line, and losing composure, which led to frustration.  We have got to grow and learn from those situations so that when we take the lead and the opposition then adapts to snuff out any further similar attacks, we either stick with it and be patient, or make some necessary adjustments.
“What we shouldn’t do is start to panic and lose composure.  We have got off to two good starts which have both got us a foothold towards controlling the game, but what we need is a stranglehold to continue that for the rest of the half, and then after halftime throughout the rest of the game.”
Low completion rates, through errors, has been noticeable in both of those games.
“Although it is no good just completing your sets if you haven’t done anything to challenge your opponents, it is equally unsatisfactory to be putting yourself under a whole lot of extra pressure by not completing them.  Because of that, we have been creating a whole lot of extra work for ourselves, which we really don’t need, but also we need to get back to how we were playing before, rather than having our attention diverted away from that, in this way.”
At this stage in the season, with four more home matches still to play, and some winnable away fixtures too, there is still abundant time to turn recent setbacks around and ensure that spot in the Super 8s for ourselves.
“We are in control of where we want to be at this point of time, and that’s the way we need to keep it, starting with a win against Huddersfield.  There is still a long way to go in the season, with plenty of points still to be picked up.
“We have got to try our best every single week.  There are two points on offer on Friday night, and we need to collect those and so put Huddersfield on the back foot.  A win certainly helps boost confidence, but we must not then forget the lessons learned over the previous weeks to get that.”

Flashback | Salford Red Devils 52-14 Huddersfield Giants | 9th September 2017

Ahead of tonight’s fixture against Huddersfield Giants we take a look back at the last meeting between the sides at the AJ Bell Stadium in which Salford earned their first-ever Super 8s victory.
The Red Devils ran out comfortable victors crossing for nine tries which marked their first win for almost three months and their first-ever win in the Betfred Super League play-offs/Super 8s.
Salford went into the break with a dominant 30-4 lead over the Giants. Kris Welham opened the scoring as he took advantage of some poor Huddersfield defence from Rob Lui’s kick. Mid-season arrivals Tyrone McCarthy and Manu Vatuvei furthered the hosts lead.
Welham doubled his account for the afternoon before Niall Evalds jinked his way through the Giants defence. Jermaine McGillvary did cross before the break for Huddersfield, but Ian Watson’s side remained in control.
And, their control carried over into the second half with Vatuvei and Jake Bibby both scoring in quick succession to all but confirm victory for Salford. Oliver Roberts scored for Huddersfield, but it failed to slow the Red Devils down.
Back-row duo Ben Murdoch-Masila and Josh Jones both forced their way over in the closing stages to round off a fantastic afternoon at the AJ Bell Stadium. Huddersfield’s Ryan Hinchcliffe did score the final try however it was definitely Salford that were laughing after a rampant display.
Salford Head Coach Ian Watson: “I don’t think we have been as good as that in a game-plan for some time. The boys out there have done themselves proud.
“I thought we won the energy battle. We are a team that like to play, and I thought we did some things really well.
“This has been a real tough period for us with a number of losses, but I’ve always said we’d learn things as a group because the Super 8s has been a new experience for us.
“We have just got to worry about ourselves. The table will look after itself. We have been focusing on us rather than worry about chasing a Grand Final. We will take each step as it comes.”
The teams that day:
Salford: Evalds; Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Vatuvei; Lui, G. O’Brien; Kopczak, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, McCarthy.
Interchanges: A. Walne, Brining, Lannon, J. Walne.
Huddersfield: Rankin; McGillvary, Mellor, Turner, Ormsby; Gaskell, Brough; Ikahihifo, Leeming, Ta’ai; Roberts, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe.
Interchanges: A. O’Brien, Rapira, Lawrence, Clough.

Squad | Ian Watson names his 19-man to face Huddersfield

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for Friday’s Betfred Super League fixture against Huddersfield Giants at the AJ Bell Stadium, 8pm kick-off.
Ben Nakubuwai returns to the squad after having to miss out last weekend due to failing a concussion assessment following the loss to Leigh Centurions.
Gavin Bennion is named in the 19-man squad and could be set to make his home Betfred Super League debut for the Red Devils after featuring against Wigan earlier in the month.
Jake Shorrocks could be set to return to the starting line-up while Ryan Lannon also returns to the squad.
Kris Welham misses out on the squad after picking up a knock in last weekend’s defeat to Catalans Dragons at St James’ Park. Lama Tasi and Jack Littlejohn also miss out.
Purchase your tickets for Friday’s clash with Huddersfield Giants now from the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online here.
Here is the 19-man squad in full:

Statement | Red Devils Season Update & big news from Marwan

Super League Salford remain a Club in transition since Marwan Koukash gifted his ownership of the Club to the Community.

As the transfer of control was only approved by the Rugby Football League on eve of the 2018 season, time was always going to be of the essence to merely keep the famous old Club afloat, let alone replicate the successes of the campaign before.

With very little funds available to enhance the playing squad, 2018’s Salford Red Devils have begun to look increasingly vulnerable despite the best efforts of the team and the band of loyal supporters.

Club Director and Holding Company Member Andrew Rosler states: “Whilst prior to the season we had many initiatives planned to explain the new structure and start the marketing push for Season Ticket sales, the delays meant we had to scrap all that and concentrate instead on the opening game of the season. It was incredibly frustrating to not be able to announce anything for months, in fact there were times just after Christmas when I doubted it would happen at all.”

Prior to the Season we were broadly satisfied that the Club would approach a breakeven position but the lack of pre-season marketing plus a general feeling of uncertainty meant that Season ticket sales were lower than expected. In addition, the home attendances have been quite poor compared to last year as is our away support. In fact most of the income has been down on last year. The playing squad had been contracted to the Club before the end of last season but for the first time in recent history didn’t have the support of the benefactor, so this Season survival on and off the pitch are major priorities”.

Given, the likely restructure to the entire competition especially the format of promotion and relegation this is the most crucial season, probably ever, for the Club.

The Club are currently in 8th position and will be pushing hard for a Top 8 finish in the regular season, which is a great achievement given the size and spend of the current squad, however, given the financial position is still uncertain and a general feeling of despair it is understandable that fans are getting frustrated.

They may not see that the many people in and around the Club, some of whom are volunteers, have been working around the clock to turn around the fortunes of the Club and have already put in place some long term strategies.

However, with the need to raise additional working capital and to strengthen the Squad this year and to build a competitive squad for next year some drastic action was needed.

Director Andrew Rosler: “For many weeks we have been engaging with the Supporters Trust with an emphasis on fund raising and sustainability,” he continues “They have been considering the various fan ownership and fund raising models that have been facilitated by Supporters-Direct, mainly in Football”

The Club can anounce that it will formally begin discussions with Supporters Direct to consider a number of options that will give fans the chance to raise funds for the Club, take ownership and have more say in how the Club should be operated. Details of the various schemes will be made public in the very near future.

As an incentive to motivate the whole Community to get behind this scheme, former owner Marwan has now offered to write off the entire debt owed to him, even though he has not asked for any repayment since his departure. But this is conditional on the Club becoming self financing for the rest of this season and next.

Andrew Rosler comments: “I think Marwan felt that having gifted his shares, the local Community would vote with their feet to demonstrate just how important the Club is to the City. He has been disappointed with the declining attendances and felt that the demand just wasn’t there. However he has now bought in to what we are trying to do and can see that the fans can shape the fortunes of the Club directly. It is an amazing gesture to write off such a large amount of debt but he is testing the fans and the whole community so do its bit and prove him wrong.

In addition, the Club will attempt to raise additional short term funds by shortly issuing half season tickets for the remainder of the season. There will also be a big push to target far more local businesses to buy season tickets. The Club is also delighted to announce that as a further gesture Marwan has also offered to match all half season ticket proceeds!

Paul McNally, Head of Communications at the Red Devils said: “Announcing, half season tickets on the back of four bad defeats would ordinarily be a tough sell however the facts are quite simply that this is the most intense and important period in the Club’s history. We need every lapsed, casual and disillusioned fan to stick it out and support the team like you’ve never before.”

Andrew Rosler agrees: “I think all of us are fed up with turning up every with season with no real expectations other than mediocrity and disappointment. The Club has to almost re-invent itself rapidly and challenge all the objections that have been levied against it for years. We have some fantastic ideas which we will be rolling out soon, including the very important local player development and there could finally be a great future for the Club. But in the here and now we need to all work together to make the fund raising schemes work and more than ever back the team no matter what.”

Squad | England Knights to face Papua New Guinea in two-game series

Today the Rugby Football League have confirmed that the England Knights will take on Papua New Guinea in a two-game series later this year.
The 24-man squad – which includes Salford Red Devils full-back Niall Evalds – will play against the Kumuls on Saturday 27th October in Lae before a second fixture in Port Moresby on 3rd November.
Following extensive planning alongside officials from Papua New Guinea, the squad will spend time at the state of the art training facilities of Brisbane Broncos in Australia before travelling to the island, where Rugby League is the national sport, for a two-game series against the 10th ranked side in the world who also progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Rugby Football League Interim Chief Executive, Ralph Rimmer, said: “The England Knights programme is an integral part of our vision for a successful national team in the next four years and beyond.
“We were determined that we would create meaningful games and experiences that would test this squad of players and travelling to the other side of the world, to one of the most passionate and avid Rugby League nations on the planet will certainly do that.
“We are absolutely committed to creating an environment and selection of fixtures that give us the best chance of winning the World Cup in 2021 and 2025 and I have spoken to the coaches and players involved in the England Performance Unit and I know that they are all incredibly excited about the opportunity to test themselves later this year.”
Following his selection Niall Evalds spoke to Salford Red Devils TV you can watch the full video below:

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 12-26 Catalans Dragons

Salford Red Devils succumbed to defeat at the Dacia Magic Weekend as former Red Devil Jodie Broughton’s hat-trick helped the Catalans Dragons on their way to a deserved 26-12 triumph at St James’ Park.
Alongside Broughton’s treble, scores from Benjamin Garcia, Julien Bousquet plus three goals from Tony Gigot ensured the French side secured a pivotal victory at the weekend extravaganza.
The Red Devils flew out of the blocks and found their way over the line with just three minutes on the clock.
Kris Welham cleverly flicked Robert Lui’s lofted cross-field kick into the path of the onrushing Derrell Olpherts who forced himself over. However, the score was chalked off due to offside in the build-up.
Salford weren’t to be denied for long though as Weller Hauraki broke forward and flicked inside to Mark Flanagan, the latter then returned the ball after producing a terrific offload which forged an opening for second-rower Hauraki to cross over under the sticks.
Lui then comfortably landed the resulting conversion to extend the lead to 6 points but Salford’s efforts were undone less than five minutes later as Benjamin Garcia pierced through the Reds backline before powering over – although Josh Drinkwater did miss the subsequent goal.
Garcia’s score seemingly spurred the Dragons on and the French side soon forged another point scoring opportunity as George Griffin conceded a penalty through an interference. Catalans opted to kick for two, but Tony Gigot was unable to convert the goal despite it appearing harder to miss.
Catalans soon turned the game on its head when Logan Tomkins spilled Gigot’s grubber in-goal before Julien Bousquet pounced onto the loose ball to touch down before Gigot calmly added the extras.
Ian Watson’s men were struggling to build any momentum at this point and were fortunate not to have suffered another score just a minute later as Garcia found his way over again but luckily for Salford, the forward was unable to successfully ground the ball.
Catalans headed in at the break with a 10-6 lead and they picked up where they left off after the break as former Red Devil Jodie Broughton latched onto a loose ball before jinking past Niall Evalds to stretch over the whitewash.
Gigot was unable to add the extras, but that was where Salford’s luck ran out as Broughton claimed his second try of the contest in style.
Lewis Tierney found a gap and produced a sensational pass to allow Broughton to dart 40m and score despite the best efforts of Lui and Jack Littlejohn.
Things worsened for the Red Devils when Broughton completed his hat-trick a minute later. After Josh Drinkwater went close seconds prior, Gigot delivered a looping kick to allow the winger to cross over.
Kris Welham exited the field after picking up an injury and the Dragons extended their lead immediately afterwards as Gigot added his third goal to inflict further misery upon the Salford players.
Salford did claim a consolation try though, Littlejohn’s short ball found its way to George Griffin who crossed over the line unchallenged. Lui added the extras to make the scoreline more respectable.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Hauraki, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Tasi, Murray, Wood, McCarthy.
Catalans Lineup: Gigot, Broughton, Mead, Williame, Tierney, Bird, Drinkwater, Simon, McIlorum, Moa, Julien, Garcia, Casty.
Interchanges: Anderson, Bousquet, Maria, Baiteri.
 
Salford Scorers: Tries-  Hauraki (9’), Griffin (75’) | Goals- Lui (10’, 76’
Catalans Scorers: Tries- Garcia (20’), Bousquet (23’), Broughton (49’, 61’, 63’) | Goals- (Gigot 24’, 62’, 72’)
Man of the Match: Niall Evalds.
Referee: Gareth Hewer. Touch Judges: M. Craven & R. Thompson. Video Referee: Robert Hicks.

Flashback | Leigh Centurions 22-36 Salford Red Devils | Dacia Magic Weekend

Ahead of this weekend’s Dacia Magic Weekend crucial Betfred Super League clash with Catalans Dragons we take a look back to last year’s fixture against Leigh Centurions in this week’s ‘Flashback’. 
The Red Devils travelled to Newcastle to face event debutants Leigh Centurions searching for another victory which would keep them in touching distance of Betfred Super League leaders at the time Castleford Tigers.
It was actually Leigh who took the lead when Matty Fleming – on loan from St Helens – crossed to open the Centurions’ account at the event however Ben Murdoch-Masila scored from a Michael Dobson kick on the ten-minute mark before Gareth O’Brien followed up with a penalty goal six minutes later to level the scores.
Leigh regained control when Mitch Brown went over but it was Murdoch-Masila who again returned the favour powering his way over for Salford. Kris Welham was next to score for Salford and give the Red Devils the lead for the first time in the match, O’Brien followed up with the conversion.
Greg Johnson scored his first of the afternoon with seven minutes of the first half remaining while Danny Tickle was denied by the video referee giving Ian Watson’s men a 12-point lead going into the interval.
The Centurions – in similar fashion to the first half – started the quicker thanks to a Ben Crooks try but they were soon reduced to 12 men following a poorly timed high challenge from Adam Higson on Gareth O’Brien.
Salford took advantage when Niall Evalds looked to have sealed the victory for the Red Devils but a Matty Dawson score did give Leigh a glimmer of hope. But, a second try from winger Johnson with fifteen minutes remaining did round off a solid 22-36 victory for Salford which moved them into 2nd in the Betfred Super League.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach, Ian Watson, said: “Every week is a big one, but it’s pleasing to come here to the Magic Weekend and pick the two points up because it’s a big occasion.
“It’s a derby and we expected Leigh to turn up. We fell off some of the things we pride ourselves on, which probably made the score in the second half slightly closer than it needed to be.
“But the boys are an honest group and they will know that, and they will fix it up because every game is becoming bigger and bigger the higher we sit in the table.”
The teams that day:
Salford: O’Brien; Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Tomkins, Tasi, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Krasniqi.
Interchanges: Hauraki, Flanagan, Lannon, Brining.
Leigh: Brown; Dawson, Crooks, Fleming, Higson; Hampshire, Drinkwater; Burr, Hood, Hansen, Paterson, Vea, Stewart.
Interchanges: Pelissier, Hock, Tickle, Hopkins.