Salford Red Devils are heading to the Emerald Headingley Stadium looking to maintain their 100% record in The Qualifiers however Ian Watson’s men will need to earn just their second victory at Leeds in the Super League era if they are to do so.
Watson said: “We have spoken together, as a group, that our attitude must be to go there and get the win by attacking Leeds, backing this up with solid defence, and playing throughout with the utmost confidence.”
“We haven’t been short in victories over them at the AJ Bell Stadium particularly in the past couple of seasons, and although previous Salford teams might have found it hard-going, when they have travelled over there we now have players in our ranks who have won there with other teams and know exactly how it is done.
“It will certainly be a good motivating factor to be one of the few Salford teams to go there and get the win. We need to be going there to get the two points we require which would then put the pressure on all the teams around us.
“Our win over them in the last fixture of the regular season will, nevertheless, be a considerably motivating factor for Leeds.”
Jackson Hastings – who debuted in instrumental fashion against Leeds earlier in the season – will miss the game through suspension but there are other halfbacks available to the Head Coach.
Watson said: “We do have a number of options any of which will cover Jackson’s absence. Jack Littlejohn has timed his recovery from injury to perfection and he held that role for most of the season prior to his injury. Josh Wood has filled in at halfback on occasions over recent weeks. I’d have full confidence in either of those two to step up and do a good job for us.
“We are a different team now from how we were earlier in the season, and we also have an additional hooker who can kick and has good organisational skills to go alongside those of whoever comes into the halves, to take the pressure of Rob Lui. It will be a good opportunity for us to show just how far we have progressed as a team.
“What Jackson has brought to us is that he leads by his enthusiasm. His kicking into the corners and then following through to make the first is great encouragement to the boys to get up there with him. He also generates that same enthusiasm in defence.
“It was his high level of competitiveness that was the cause of the incident with Gareth O’Brien, at the end of the match with Toronto. Circumstances just seemed to combine to bring about that outcome with the closed fist and contact with the head but I believe it was more carelessness than anything else.”