Salford Red Devils host Leeds Rhinos at the AJ Bell Stadium this afternoon in Round 12 of the Betfred Super League.
After a hectic Easter period, Paul Rowley’s players were faced with a welcome two-week break to rest and recharge ahead of some vital fixtures.
Next up is the visit of Leeds Rhinos, who – after a poor start to the season – have picked up back-to-back league wins against Toulouse Olympique and Hull KR.
Leeds have also recently appointed Rohan Smith as their new boss, and the Aussie will be in the dugout for the first time this weekend.
The two sides last met in mid-March, and it was Salford who picked up the two points in emphatic style, coming from behind with three late tries. The first of them came from a stunning 60-metre run from Joe Burgess, with his skill allowing the Red Devils to create an overload on the right – which Chris Atkin took advantage of.
Speaking of Burgess, the winger has rejoined Rowley’s 21-man squad after recovering from his knee injury. Alongside him, Ryan Brierley, Tim Lafai, Marc Sneyd, Harvey Livett, and Elijah Taylor are all back fit and in contention to feature.
The Red Devils’ players may have had the chance to rest and recharge over the last 14 days, but the club has completed some positive business on multiple fronts. Deon Cross, Kallum Watkins, and Andy Ackers have all signed contract extensions, whilst we also welcomed the signing of Tyler Dupree from Widnes Vikings.
Speaking to the press ahead of the game on Sunday, assistant coach Kurt Haggerty discussed how the club is trying to lay the foundations for the future with these sorts of deals.
He said: “Ideally we want to retain our best, move people on if we have to, but bring in quality – so we’ll always be looking. For example, Tyler Dupree is somebody we’ve been monitoring and an opportunity arose to get him in early. We want to get business done early and start moving forward to put things in place that we want moving forward for the club.”
Focussing particularly on Dupree, Haggerty said: “He’s a very exciting young man, he’s got some very good attributes which certainly show that he is Super League quality. He’s a project, but he’s someone who has shown that he can be a very good player.”
Despite being tipped for a high finish in the Betfred Super League this season, Leeds have yet to really find any momentum, and they’ll be hoping the change of head coach will give them a new lease of life. Haggerty says he’s aware of the qualities the new coach brings and expects fresh energy about the Rhinos on Sunday.
Haggerty stated: “Yeah, I think it’ll be very different this week. They’ve got a new coach, which – as always – will bring new enthusiasm, probably a much-needed enthusiasm. They’ve got some new personnel coming in, some of the bans are up and they’ve got some injuries back, so it’s very much focussed on us, focussed on Salford and what we can do.
“They’ve been quite difficult to preview because the personnel has been so different in the last 3 to 4 games. I know Rohan (Smith) quite well, he’s a fantastic coach, very personable – so we’ll have to be on our game to match Leeds this week.”
Tickets are on sale HERE right up to the 3pm kick-off at the AJ Bell Stadium this afternoon.