Category: Rugby

Willie Poching | “Everyone on form and competing for a place in the seventeen”

This Thursday’s home game against St Helens sees the start of a run of a number of quite high profile fixtures for Salford fans to savour, with it being followed by a visit to the DW Stadium to take on Wigan, then our first appearance in this season’s Challenge Cup at Leigh, before making the trip up to Newcastle to take on Les Catalans Dragons, in the Magic Weekend.
Indeed, the first of these also has a notoriety of its own with the television cameras being in attendance at the A J Bell, for what will be their third consecutive year of screening our home encounter with the Saints.
They have, in the past two years, been rewarded with two great, giant killing performances by the Red Devils, and clearly are anticipating yet another keenly fought match.
Against a Saints side, clearly still smarting from that reversal at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, two weeks ago, there will be few opportunities of scoring and none can be scorned, nor thoughts allowed to drift ahead to those games coming up behind, as Assistant Coach, Willie Poching, insists.
“Every match you play in is extremely important, and no sooner has one match finished than the next one takes over your focus, so, at this point in time, the St Helens game is where our attention lies. We are doing as much preparation as we can, in the short turn around, to get the players ready to go again.”
Certainly, no-one could have asked for a better performance of our players than the one they produced in last Friday’s onslaught of Wakefield Trinity, who, high in confidence after their defeat of the Saints the previous week, must have really fancied their chances of turning that victory into back-to-back wins.
No-one within our coaching and playing staff, however, is getting carried away with that victory, despite the comprehensive nature of it.
“It wasn’t all one-way traffic, and we are still a little way off what we want to produce, because we hadn’t quite executed our plays in the first half as well as we would have liked, and at 8-0 at half time, the game was still in the balance. The boys responded well in the second half though, but there are still things for us to work on and improve upon.”
Nevertheless, the players, on the back of that victory, will be taking the field in a much more buoyant and confident mood than might otherwise have been the case.
“No matter what they are, when your systems and plays positively influence the scoreboard, it brings players the self-belief and confidence that they can achieve their objectives. They have a lot of belief in one another already, which brings with it a trust in each other, so we have just got to keep all that going in order to retain each of those intangibles which enable you to win your games.”
The trust, to which he refers, had, last Friday, also to incorporate a number of unexpected replacements with a half of the first-choice pack withdrawing through injury or illness. In the event, those replacements slotted in seamlessly.
“That’s the result of having a good squad.  We may not have the biggest, but they are all of fantastic quality, and are a tight knit group, so we can go a little deeper into it than we have had to over recent weeks, and when called upon the players brought in can really put their hand up.
“It’s been some while since George Griffin and Daniel Murray have played, but they both really gave it their best shot, and there wasn’t a player for us who didn’t have a good game. It’s important that, when we go out there each week, we get the top performance from everybody, and whenever that happens we will come close to getting the result we are after.”
Those recent performances, and two home results, against the visiting Saints in recent years are surely testament enough to inspire all the players to produce their best, on Thursday.
“Even in the away match, last season, at Saints, we deserved at least a draw, but circumstances were such that this wasn’t to be. We did some things, which, on reflection, showed that to some extent we threw the game away.
“St Helens are a quality club with a team, and players, of that same quality, and we shall have to be on our guard against them, regardless of past results.  Even looking back to our game against them, in March, we had our moments then, and we shall be wanting to take those into this coming match.”
In addition to this, I am sure that most people would appreciate that we are a much better team now than we were back then – something with which Willie undoubtedly concurs.
“That is the key. You can put in the odd really good performance, but it is being able to back it up over the weeks that is important, and we have just won back to back games, which now has the boys really keen and looking forward to this match.”
With the possibility of at least a couple of last week’s absentees in line for returning, the problem for the coaches will be deciding on team selection.
“That’s a great problem to have, and this is what we want – everyone on form and competing for a place in the seventeen. It’s a good time of year to be in this position.”

Squad | Ian Watson names his 19-man squad to face St Helens on Thursday

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad as the Salford Red Devils look to make it three successive victories as they host St Helens. 
Lee Mossop is available for selection for Thursday’s game after missing the win over Wakefield after failing a concussion assessment the week prior against Huddersfield. Lama Tasi also returns to the squad for after overcoming an illness that kept him out of the victory last week against Trinity.
Jake Shorrocks could be set to start for Ian Watson’s side as Rob Lui is sidelined after picking up a calf injury last Friday. Weller Hauraki also remains sidelined.
Forward quartet Luke Burgess, George Griffin, Daniel Murray and Tyrone McCarthy may all retain their places in the side after returning to action in the dominant victory over Wakefield.
Here is the full 19-man squad:


Ladbrokes Challenge Cup | 2018 Sixth Round Draw scheduled

The draw for the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup will take place on Wednesday morning (April 25th) live on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2 from 8:10am 
The show has almost 9.5 million listeners evert week and both Warrington Wolves winger Josh Charnley and Leeds Rhinos forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan will feature on the show to help conduct the draw.
Last season the Red Devils progressed to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in twenty years with victories over Toronto Wolfpack, Hull Kingston Rovers, Wakefield Trinity before falling to Wigan Warriors at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Betfred League One side Whitehaven remain in the competition while Betfred Championship sides Featherstone Rovers, Leigh Centurions and Toronto Wolfpack are all in the hat.
The twelve Betfred Super League teams make up the rest of the field:

The full list of ball numbers for the draw can be seen below:

Foundation | U16’s and U19’s Awards Evening

Last Monday saw the Salford Red Devils Foundation host their player awards evening at The Lighthouse Church with both U16 sides and the U19’s being represented and celebrated. 
A whole host of awards were handed out to players of each age group with all of them being listed below and pictured in the gallery.
Coach Jed Armstrong was awarded with the Leon Walker Memorial Trophy as thanks for his tireless efforts going above and beyond as a volunteer coach to the Salford Red Devils Foundation teams.
The Forever Reds Supporters’ Trust – which has recently moved to the Salford RLFC Supporters’ Trust – made an extremely generous donation of £2000 to the Salford Red Devils Foundation.
Salford Red Devils Foundation Manager Neil Blackburn said: “It was a great evening all round.
“The lads enjoyed it and it was good to get them all together and celebrate what they have achieved this season. There’s some really talented players amongst both age groups and a we’ve developed a real good team spirit between them all.
“It was important to us that we recognised Jed Armstrong with the Leon Walker Memorial Trophy as the work he does – as a volunteer – is priceless and we, as well as the lads on the field, owe him a lot. He’s a great example of the attitude and community spirit we try to evoke and promote within the Salford Red Devils Foundation.
“I’d also like to say thanks to the Forever Reds Supporters’ Trust for their kind donation to the Salford Red Devils Foundation. This money will make a massive difference and it means a lot that the fans of Salford Red Devils are so supportive of the Foundation and the work we do.”
The winners of the player awards are as follows and are all pictured below:
Salford Red Devils U19’s
Player of the Year – Will Mills
Players’ Player of the Year – Sam Bardsley
Warrior of the Year – Brad Smith
Most Improved – Dan Goddard
Salford Red Devils U16’s Blacks
Player of the Year – Jak Fairbrother
Players’ Player of the Year – Duran Watson
Warrior of the Year – William Pettigrew
Most Improved – Callum Watts
Salford Red Devils U16’s Reds 
Player of the Year – Connor Aspey
Players’ Player of the Year – Kieron Prescott
Warrior of the Year – Luis Roberts
Most Improved – Callum Hughes

Three Talking Points | Salford Red Devils 38-4 Wakefield Trinity

Salford Red Devils moved up to 7th in the Betfred Super League with a dominant victory over Wakefield on Friday night and here are three key talking points from the game.
Goal line defence
While Salford managed to rack up a mammoth 38 points in the victory over Wakefield it was the defence that was the most impressive aspect of the evening and in particular the goal line defence.
Wakefield weren’t without there opportunities and did spend sustained periods of time on the Salford line following repeat sets. However, the Red Devils muscled up in defence and managed to prevent Trinity crossing for the most part when they were in close-range of the line.
Trinity only managed to break the Salford defence once throughout the eighty minutes and this is now one of many solid defensive displays we’ve seen at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2018 as Salford look to make it a fortress.
Back-to-back wins 
The victory marked the first back-to-back victories for the Red Devils in 2018 and could well see Salford kick on for the remainder of the season.
In both victories against Huddersfield and Wakefield, Salford have looked a real threat with ball in hand with a number of forwards getting on the scoresheet as well as Jake Bibby grabbing four in two games.
Last season we saw the Red Devils go on a remarkable run in the middle of the season and Ian Watson will be hoping his side can emulate a similar sort of purple patch this year.
Overcoming adversity
Heading into last night’s game Head Coach Ian Watson had been forced to make a number of changes to his squad due to injuries.
Josh Jones and Lee Mossop both missed out due to picking up knocks against Huddersfield. Weller Hauraki and Lama Tasi also had to pull out of the squad later on while Kriss Brining and Manu Vatuvei remain sidelined however this only seemed to spur the Red Devils on.
However, Friday’s win just emphasised the strength in depth in the Red Devils pack with Tyrone McCarthy returning from injury, George Griffin being a standout performer and Luke Burgess returning with Head Coach Ian Watson pointing to his opening carry of the game as the first building block to win.

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 38-4 Wakefield Trinity

Salford earned back-to-back victories Betfred Super League for the first time since May 2017 with an emphatic 38-4 victory over Wakefield Trinity at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Jake Bibby grabbed his second double in as many weeks while Junior Sa’u, Tyrone McCarthy, Ryan Lannon, George Griffin and Greg Johnson all also found themselves on the scoresheet. Lui kicked two goals before leaving the field due to injury with McCarthy and Jack Littlejohn putting on their kicking boots in the second half.
Coming into the game, the Red Devils were already against it with Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Josh Jones, Weller Hauraki, Manu Vatuvei and Kriss Brining all sidelined however Salford couldn’t have asked for a better start.
A flowing move to the left-hand side eventually found Sa’u who’s sheer pace and power got him through the Wakefield line before he shrugged off Reece Lyne in the process of scoring. Lui converted and would add a further penalty goal midway through the half. Ian Watson’s men defended resiliently in the first half and went into the break with an 8-0 lead.
Half-back Lui – who had been partaking in a fitness test prior to kick-off – pulled up with a calf injury early in the second half meaning the Red Devils had to move Josh Wood into the halves and Logan Tomkins would see out the game at hooker.
The reshuffle didn’t faze the hosts as Niall Evalds made a 70m dash from a 20m restart before being hauled down by Lyne, who subsequently slowed the tackle down and was rewarded with ten minutes in the sin-bin. McCarthy kicked his first goal for Salford to extend the advantage to 10-0.
And, it was the back-rower who went over for the next Salford try as McCarthy simply outmuscled the Wakefield defence to plant the ball down from close-range. He again followed up with the boot from in front of the posts.
Salford continued to control the game and Lannon crossed ten minutes into the second-half after being the quickest to react to a fortunate ricochet. Joe Arundel scored Trinity’s only try shortly after, but the Red Devils really grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck when Bibby scored in the corner following some slick hands wide.
With just over ten minutes remaining Salford turned on the style and ran out comfortable winners. Returning forward Griffin powered his way over after the Red Devils forced an error from Wakefield bringing the ball off their own line. Littlejohn converted.
Bibby made it four tries in two games with an almost identical effort to his first of the game before Johnson rounded off a wonderful victory latching onto the ball after Sa’u stabbed the ball into the in-goal.
The victory sees Salford climb above Trinity into 7th place in the Betfred Super League ahead of hosting the current leaders St Helens on Thursday.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Burgess, Griffin, McCarthy, Flanagan.  Interchanges: Kopczak, Lannon, Wood, Murray.
Wakefield Lineup: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Arundel, Tupou; Miller, Finn; Huby, Randell, Hirst, Ashurst, Kirkmond, Horo.  Interchanges: Wood, England, Arona, Baldwinson.
Salford Scorers: Tries- Sa’u (4’), McCarthy (48’), Lannon (51’), Bibby (57’ 74’), Griffin (68’), Johnson (76) | Goals-  Lui (4’, 31’), McCarthy (45’ 49), Littlejohn (69’)
Wakefield Scorers: Tries-  Arundel (54’) | Goals- N/A.
Man of the Match: Tyrone McCarthy.
Referee: James Child. Touch Judges: T. Crashley & D. Bowmer.

Factfile | Salford Red Devils vs Wakefield Trinity | Friday 20th April

Ahead of tomorrow night’s game against Wakefield we take a look over all the key facts behind the fixture.
The Red Devils and Wakefield have been evenly matched in recent seasons with both sides winning five of their last ten meetings. However, it is Trinity who’ve had the share of the spoils in recent seasons winning four of the last five fixtures between the sides.
The most recent meeting between the sides was a real nail biter as Salford almost snatched a draw with the final kick of the game however the Red Devils narrowly lost out 14-12 at the Mobile Rocket Stadium.
Salford’s last Betfred Super League victory over Wakefield came on May 27th 2016 in a 38-8 demolition of Trinity at the AJ Bell Stadium. Between 2015 and 2016, Salford won four of their five matches against Wakefield.
Overall in the Betfred Super League, Salford have won 15 games, Wakefield have won 26 while there have been two draws between the teams.
February’s meeting between the sides ended Craig Kopczak’s fantastic try-scoring record which had seen the prop-forward score in each of his last three appearances against Wakefield Trinity.
Winger Greg Johnson also boasts a strong scoring record versus his former club crossing for three tries in his last five games against Wakefield. Niall Evalds, Rob Lui and Kris Welham were the three men who scored when the sides met earlier in 2018.
Jacob Miller is Wakefield’s danger man against the Red Devils with the half-back scoring four tries in his last five outings against Ian Watson’s side. Miller grabbed a brace the last time Trinity visited the AJ Bell Stadium.
Reece Lyne has also scored four tries in his last five games against Salford but hasn’t crossed in any of the last three meetings between the sides.
Niall Evalds – should he feature – will make his 100th appearance for Salford Red Devils. Evalds debuted for the Club back in 2014 and was the Club’s top try-scorer at the end of the 2017 season. The full-back will become just the third player in the current squad to reach 100 Salford Red Devils games behind Junior Sa’u and Logan Tomkins.
Wakefield half-back Liam Finn needs six points to reach 500 for Wakefield Trinity. The Irishman’s total of 494 has been reached with eight tries and 231 goals during two spells with the Club.
Kris Welham is currently three tries of reaching 150 in his career. The centre – who scored in the previous meeting between Salford and Wakefield – has scored 15 for Salford with the rest coming in spells with Hull Kingston Rovers and Bradford Bulls.

Flashback | Salford Red Devils 18-14 Wakefield Trinity | February 16th 2014

Ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Super League Round 12 clash with Wakefield Trinity we take a look back to a memorable victory for the Red Devils over this weekend’s opponents back in 2014. 
The game saw the newly-named Salford Red Devils start their 2014 season off with a narrow victory in front of a record crowd at the AJ Bell Stadium following Dr Marwan Koukash bringing in 14 new arrivals in the off-season.
Kick-off was delayed by ten minutes to allow all the fans to enter the AJ Bell stadium and it was the Red Devils who made the better start.
Gareth Hock opened the scoring for Salford as he was the quickest to react to Greg Johnson’s flick back. Fellow forwards Harrison Hansen and Andrew Dixon both also found themselves on the scoresheet to help the hosts race into an 18-0 lead.
However, tries for Trinity debutants Matty Ryan and Pita Godinet began a Wakefield fightback and when Ali Lauiti’iti went over Salford began to get nervous. But, in the end, it was Jake Mullaney’s three successful conversions compared to Paul Sykes solitary goal that were the difference between the sides.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach Brian Noble said: “I was biting my fingernails. I thought Wakefield were great in the second half and we didn’t have any ball. I was nervous.
“It’s a great lesson for us. I am absolutely delighted with the win and delighted with the win and delighted with the day and the crowd.
“To have the game delayed getting people in the place was fabulous.”
The teams that day:
Salford: Mullaney; Johnson, Walton, Sa’u, Meli; Chase, Smith; Morley, Lee, Tasi; Hansen, Hock, Puletua.
Interchanges: D. Griffin, Dixon, McPherson, Howarth.
Wakefield: Mathers; Fox, Collis, Keinhorst, Lyne; Sykes, Godinet; Anderson, McShane, Smith, Lauiti’iti, Kirkmond, Washbrook.
Interchanges: Raleigh, Ryan, Tautai, Walshaw.

Fixture | Trip to Wigan moved to Friday 4th May

The Betfred Super League Round 14 fixture against Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium, originally scheduled for Sunday 6th May, will now be played on Friday 4th May, 8pm kick-off.
You can now purchase tickets for this clash from the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adult: £22
Concession: (60+ and full-time students): £16
Under 16s: £10
Junior Swaps: Available at the AJ Bell Stadium Club Ticket Office
Coach travel is also available to this game and we will inform fans of new times shortly. A place on the coach is priced at £11 for all classes.
Remember, purchase early direct from the AJ Bell Stadium and Salford Red Devils retain 25% of your purchase.

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man squad for Wakefield Trinity clash

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad ahead of Friday’s Betfred Super League clash with Wakefield Trinity.
Tyrone McCarthy and Luke Burgess both return to the squad in the absence of Lee Mossop and Josh Jones. Jake Shorrocks also comes into the 19-man squad and could push for a position in the halves.
Here is the squad in full: