Salford Red Devils kept their hopes of a top four finish alive as they earned their first Super 8s victory with a dominant 52-14 victory over Huddersfield.
Ian Watson’s men raced into a 30-o lead inside the opening 35 minutes. Kris Welham crossed twice while Tyrone McCarthy, Manu Vatuvei and Niall Evalds also crossed. Jermaine McGillvary did score in the closing stages of the half but it didn’t slow the Red Devils down after the break.
Vatuvei notched his second of the afternoon with the hosts first attacking set after the interval. Jake Bibby, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Josh Jones helped the Red Devils reach the half century mark. Oliver Roberts and Ryan Hinchcliffe scored for the Giants but Rick Stone’s men were never in the contest.
The victory means Salford now sit three points behind Wigan in 3rd and Hull FC in 4th. Wakefield and St Helens still currently sit above the Red Devils with Watson’s side set to host St Helens on Thursday 21st September.
Wigan Warriors climbed into the top four at the expense of Wakefield and also jumped above Hull FC with their 22-30 victory over the Black and Whites. Liam Watts was dismissed for an elbow on Michael McIlorum in a first half which saw Mahe Fonua and Oliver Gildart cross for either side. Fonua scored a second with Sika Manu and Marc Sneyd also going over but tries from Tom Davies, John Bateman and a second from Anthony Gelling boosted Wigan’s top four ambitions.
It was a disappointing weekend for Wakefield who slipped out of the top four with a late Jonny Lomax try moving St Helens within two points of the top four. Bill Tupou scored twice either side of Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrooks try but Saints fought back through Theo Fages and Lomax’s dramatic late try. Mark Percival’s conversion sealed a narrow yet important win.
Meanwhile runaway leaders Castleford Tigers extended the gap at the top of the Super League Super 8s table with a 38-24 win over Leeds Rhinos. Ben Roberts grabbed a brace alongside tries from Greg Eden, Jake Webster and Alex Foster in a splendid first half display. Kallum Watkins had given Brian McDermott’s side the lead before Cas’ five unanswered tries.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s early second half try was cancelled out by Greg Minkin before Matt Parcell and Mitch Garbutt tried to ignite a Rhinos comeback but Castleford held on and now lead the chasing pack by 12 points.
Round Six Fixtures
- Hull FC vs Wakefield Trinity – Thursday 14th September
- Leeds Rhinos vs Salford Red Devils – Friday 15th September
- St Helens vs Huddersfield Giants – Friday 15th September
- Wigan Warriors vs Castleford Tigers – Sunday 17th September
The Red Devils suffered a disappointing 18-43 defeat against Wakefield on Friday night which means they now sit four points behind Trinity in 4th position.
Craig Kopczak and Greg Johnson scored but a first half double from Jacob Miller, a try from Joe Arundal and two Liam Finn penalty goals meant Wakefield led at half-time. Finn continued kicking two penalty goals in the second half before debutant Tyler Randall notched a brace alongside a try from Bill Tupou to confirm victory for the visitors. Tyrone McCarthy grabbed a late consolation for Salford.
The loss means the Red Devils currently sit 7th in the Super League Super 8s and trail Wakefield in 4th by four points, Wigan in 5th by three and Saints in 6th in by one. They do still sit one point above Huddersfield who they welcome to the AJ Bell Stadium next Saturday.
Salford’s opponents next weekend Huddersfield fell to a 16-24 defeat against League Leaders Shield winners Castleford. The Giants led at half-time thanks to tries from Oliver Roberts and Paul Clough cancelled out Jake Webster’s early try. But, Luke Gale, Ben Roberts and Greg Eden all crossed in the second half to win the game for the visitors. Darnell McIntosh scored late on for Huddersfield.
Brian McDermott’s Leeds Rhinos strengthened their grip on 2nd place and the chance of a home semi-final with a home win against 3rd place Hull FC on Thursday night. The Rhinos had seven different try-scorers with Rob Burrow, Brad Singleton, Liam Sutcliffe, Mitch Garbutt, Adam Cuthbertson and Matt Parcell all getting on the scoresheet. FC had four scorers of their own with Steve Michaels, Scott Taylor, Danny Washbrook and Josh Bowden all going over.
Wigan continued their late push for a top four spot denting arch rivals St Helens’ hopes in the process with a 18-26 victory at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Oliver Gildart scored two tries in the opening seven minutes before Anthony Gelling and George Williams added to the Warriors account. Ben Barba scored on his St Helens debut alongside Zeb Taia and Tommy Makinson but it wasn’t enough for Justin Holbrook’s men.
Wigan now trail Wakefield by just one point while St Helens are two points outside the top four. Hull FC are now just one point ahead Trinity and two above Wigan who they face next weekend.
Super 8s Round Five fixtures
- Wakefield Trinity vs St Helens – Thursday 7th September
- Castleford Tigers vs Leeds Rhinos – Friday 8th September
- Hull FC vs Wigan Warriors – Friday 8th September
- Salford Red Devils vs Huddersfield Giants – Saturday 9th September
The Red Devils fell to defeat at the DW Stadium against Wigan on Friday night in their third Super 8s game however results elsewhere ensured Ian Watson’s side didn’t lose ground in the hunt for a spot in the top four.
A double from Joe Burgess alongside tries from Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Farrell and Sam Powell gave Wigan a 26-point lead at the break. Niall Evalds got the Red Devils on the scoreboard but scores from George Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Liam Marshall sealed a dominant victory for the Warriors.
Salford now sit in 7th place, after being leapfrogged by Wigan, and are two points adrift of a top four position.
Castleford finally wrapped up their first ever League Leaders Shield with a 45-20 victory over local rivals Wakefield on Thursday night.
The game was close at half-time with tries from Zak Hardaker, Mike McKeeken and Jake Webster edging out scored from Trinity’s Ben Jones-Bishop and Mason Caton-Brown.
But, Webster managed to score three more, four in total, as well as Greg Eden and Luke Gale crossing to seal Castleford’s first ever title. Danny Kirkmond and Lee Jowitt did score for Wakefield in the second half. Despite Trinity’s loss they remain in the top four.
Huddersfield tightened the gap between all the sides in the Super League Super 8s with a dominant victory over Challenge Cup finalists Hull FC a week prior to the final.
Lee Gaskell was the star of the show grabbing a hat-trick while Darnell McIntosh scored a brace and Alex Mellor, Tyler Dickinson and Kruise Leeming all also crossed. Gareth Ellis, Jake Connor and Josh Griffin scored for FC but it was a disappointing performance from the Black and Whites.
Leeds won their final ever game in front of the South Stand against St Helens preventing the Saints climbing back into the semi-final spots. An emotional Headingley watched on as Leeds overcame St Helens 16-14. Ryan Hall and Adam Cuthbertson scored for the hosts while Jonny Lomax and Danny Richardson scored for Justin Holbrook’s side but it was one extra penalty goal from Kallum Watkins that was the difference.
All the sides except Hull and Wigan, who compete in the Challenge Cup final, will have a week off before the Super 8s resume in a fortnight’s time. While Castleford, Leeds and Hull are all four or more points clear the remaining five sides all sit within three points of each other.
Super 8s Round Four Fixtures:
- Leeds Rhinos vs Hull FC – Thursday 31st August
- Huddersfield Giants vs Castleford Tigers – Friday 1st September
- Salford Red Devils vs Wakefield Trinity – Friday 1st September
- St Helens vs Wigan Warriors – Friday 1st September
Red Devils boss Ian Watson feels that his young players have stepped up recently and are improving every week.
Salford have struggled with injuries as of late with Mark Flanagan and Lama Tasi out for the season while others have picked up knocks but Watson is pleased with the younger squad members who’ve stepped in.
Watson said: “There are some positives to take from our recent struggles and one of those is definitely the young lads getting some game time.
“Jake Bibby, Ryan Lannon, Daniel Murray have all been great when they’ve stepped in.
“Kriss Brining is back in for us now and he made an impact off the bench against Castleford which was good.
“This experience of playing the top teams at this level of a competition is very intense and it will make them better players going forward.
“Obviously, it’s tough for us at the moment but the young guys in the team are getting their chance and improving every week and next year the squad will be a lot stronger for it.
“Look at Wakefield, for example, they struggled in the Super 8s last season but have benefitted from it this season and are real top four contenders along with ourselves and a handful of other teams.
“All of these players get experience at this level puts us in a better position when we do get more of our senior players back.
“But, the big thing is this year and what we’ve still got left to play for.
“We’ve got a chance of reaching another semi-final with a top four finish and then there’s always the chance of Old Trafford and the Grand Final if we get in that top four.”
Fans are reminded that tickets are now on sale for all Red Devils Super 8s home games against Wakefield, Huddersfield and St Helens. Tickets are also still on sale for Wigan away on Friday night. Supporters are also reminded that their season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home fixtures.
Red Devils forward George Griffin, speaking to the League Express, admits the side is struggling for confidence following Friday night’s defeat against Castleford at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Salford are yet to get off the mark in the Super 8s stage of the season but Griffin knows the Red Devils are still in the hunt for a place in October’s Grand Final at Old Trafford.
Griffin, sponsored by Super Josh, said: “Our form is getting us down. It’s a confidence thing.
“We need to go back to what was working for us at the start of the season. We need to do what we do best and throw the ball around.
“Our yardage defence isn’t good enough. They’re getting out of their end too easy and we need to fix it up.
Despite being enduring their worst run of the season so far Griffin knows the Red Devils have the quality and character to finish inside the top four come the end of September.
“A lot of people are saying we’ve done well just to make the eight, but we’re better than that.
“It would be upsetting if we didn’t make the four, given our season so far and where we finished at the end of the regular season.
“But, we’re only a couple of points off the top four – that’s just a couple of wins. If we can get that in the next game it’s back in the air.
“We’ve lost some big players that go well for us, but the young lads need to step up in their place and we need to take the game to the opposition.”
Fans are reminded that tickets are now on sale for all the Red Devils Super 8s home games against Wakefield, Huddersfield and St Helens. Tickets are also still on sale for Friday’s trip to Wigan. Supporters are also reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home fixtures.
Ahead of Friday’s Super 8s trip to Challenge Cup finalists Wigan Warriors we look at the Red Devils previous visit to the DW Stadium this season.
Ian Watson’s side headed into the game having lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions but knowing they hadn’t picked up a win in Wigan since a 21-14 victory over the Warriors back in 1997.
Wigan came into the fixture on the back of three wins from their last four games however their most recent was a 54-4 hammering at the hands of early runaway league leaders Castleford.
The Red Devils managed to put an end to their retched 20-year winless run in Wigan by sealing a 16-31 win, which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. Watson’s men warded off a late fightback from the Warriors to continue to climb the Super League table.
Kris Welham broke in the opening stages to get the Red Devils off to the perfect start. Niall Evalds crossed for his first of the evening as his decision to run the ball on the last tackle proved dividend and Ben Murdoch-Masila continued his trend of powering over from close-range moments later to send the visitors into the break with a 16-point lead.
Salford began the second half in identical fashion to the way they ended the first – in control. Full-back Evalds grabbed his second of the game as the full-back latched onto a low Michael Dobson kick before Greg Johnson rounded off a flowing Red Devils move.
However, Wigan wouldn’t lie down and back-to-back tries in quick succession courtesy of Liam Marshall and Ryan Sutton gave the hosts hope. Lewis Tierney found his way over shortly after to cut the arrears to just 12 points.
But, a late drop-goal and penalty goal from Gareth O’Brien confirmed a memorable victory for the Red Devils.
Salford team that day: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Jones, Bibby; Dobson, Lui; A. Walne, Tomkins, Tasi, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Krasniqi. Interchanges: Kopczak, Murray, Brining, O’Brien.
Following the Red Devils 4-23 defeat at the hands of Castleford on Friday night winger Manu Vatuvei has hailed the Salford fans for their support.
The former New Zealand international was swamped by fans after full-time and he’s made it clear how much he’s enjoying his time at Salford.
Vatuvei, sponsored by Malcolm Crompton, said: “I’m really enjoying myself here everybody’s made me feel welcome and now I can concentrate on my performances on the field.
“I know how passionate the fans are over here and the least you can do is stay behind and give them a thank you.
“Thank them for coming and supporting us week in and week out.
“It was raining against Castleford on Friday but no matter the weather they were out there supporting us so that means a lot.
“We’re grateful for all the support they offer us and all we can do is try out best out there and play the best football we can for them.
“I really enjoyed my first game at the AJ Bell Stadium it was great to perform in front of the home fans but, of course, it was a shame about the result.
“All the fans, particularly the younger ones, asking for autographs and pictures after the game that’s what it’s all about for me – knowing they’re enjoying watching us.
“I’ve just got to continue to improve each week now and carry on doing my job for the team and hopefully the results will come.”
Fans are reminded that tickets are now on sale for all the Red Devils Super 8s home fixtures against Wakefield, Huddersfield and St Helens. Tickets can be purchased over the phone, at the club’s ticket office and online via the club website. Supporters are also reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.
The Red Devils fell to a 4-23 defeat against Castleford on Friday night which now means it two losses from the opening two Super 8s fixtures for Salford.
Manu Vatuvei’s try early in the second half did gave Ian Watson’s side hope but scores from Paul McShane, Jy Hitchcox and a Zak Hardaker double meant that Castleford are now just one win away from cementing their first ever league leaders shield.
While Castleford may have all but mathematically sown up the league leaders shield it was local rivals Wakefield who had the best weekend of any of the top eight sides as they climbed into a semi-final spot following defeats for Salford and Saints.
Trinity were rampant on Thursday evening blowing away Leeds at the Beaumont Legal Stadium 38-6. A returning Jacob Miller was the star of the show for Wakefield and grabbed a try on his first game since recovering from a broken leg. Joe Arundel, Ben Jones-Bishop, Scott Grix, Matty Ashurst and Bill Tupou also scored in a destructive Wakefield performance.
Adam Cuthbertson was the only Leeds man to get over the line and the defeat means the Rhinos remain in 2nd but are only one point clear of Hull FC in third. Trinity now lead Salford by two points, and Saints by one, with the Red Devils set to host Wakefield in their next home game.
Hull FC kept the pressure on Leeds for second place and a home semi-final thanks to a late Marc Sneyd penalty goal from over 40m out. Saints’ Regan Grace had opened the scoring before Sneyd crossed for a try of his own. Sneyd’s conversion levelled the scores before his penalty goal in the closing stages was the difference.
The Red Devils next opponents Wigan kept their top four hopes alive with victory over Huddersfield at the DW Stadium. Jermaine McGillvary had put the visitors ahead but tries from Anthony Gelling, Liam Farrell and Joel Tomkins ensured Wigan won their first game of the Super 8s stage.
As it stands, Wigan could go ahead of the Red Devils if they were to beat Ian Watson’s men next weekend while Saints still lead Salford by one point in fifth.
Fans are reminded that tickets for all three of the Red Devils home Super 8s fixtures against Wakefield, Huddersfield and St Helens are now on sale. Supporters can purchase tickets over the phone, at the club’s ticket office or online via the club website. Season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.
Super 8s fixtures – Round Three
- Castleford Tigers vs Wakefield Trinity – Thursday 17th August
- Hull FC vs Huddersfield Giants – Friday 18th August
- Leeds Rhinos vs St Helens – Friday 18th August
- Wigan Warriors vs Salford Red Devils – Friday 18th August
Winger Manu Vatuvei knows the side are improving each week and expects the Red Devils to turn their fortunes around sooner rather than later.
Vatuvei, sponsored by Malcolm Crompton, said: “We had a few good moments in the game and there were a few bad ones, also.
“I think everyone tried their best out there and with any game there were a few lapses in concentration.
“But, it’s something we can look back at on the video and just learn from it.
“We’ve just got to improve every week – that’s the plan.
“From how we were last week against Hull FC to now we’re happier with how we went this week against Castleford it’s an improvement.
“We’ve just got to puzzle everything together and hopefully get the win we know what Wigan brings they’re a tough team and they’ll battle like they did in the Challenge Cup semi-final.
“So, we’ve just got to go out there give our best and hopefully get a win.”
Vatuvei scored the Red Devils only try in the defeat against Castleford but it’s now three tries in two Super 8s games for ‘The Beast’ and he’s loving his rugby at the moment.
Vatuvei said: “It’s always nice to score tries but we’d prefer the victory.
“I’ve just got to improve every week and just continue to do my job for the team and that’s running hard and playing the ball fast.
“If the boys and coaching staff are happy with how I performed then I’m happy too.
“I’m looking forward to the next few weeks and what they bring and the sooner we turn this losing run around the better.”
Despite losing to Castleford on their return to the AJ Bell Stadium half-back Todd Carney feels there are positives from the Red Devils performance.
Carney, sponsored by Prowood, said: “Yeah, it’s disappointing but that’s footy I guess you have these periods and it’s tough to get out of them.
“We were a lot better than last week so that’s a positive.
“We’ll take a few negatives and positives from the game but credit to Castleford they’re a good team who play some positive football.
“We’ve just got to turn up Monday and train hard and work ourselves out of it but it’s just Rugby League.”
The Red Devils caused Castleford issues and Carney knows that Salford were unlucky to not have scored more points on Friday evening.
Carney said: “We were held up twice and we had two tries disallowed earlier in the game.
“Manu Vatuvei scored 15 metres from the first contact so I think that’s a try.
“Early in the game Niall Evalds goes through I think that’s 12 points there that we probably should gave had but the referee has seen a different picture.
“But, if you get those tires early in the day it’s a different ball game. We could have had four tries so there’s some more points which make it a different game completely.
“It was mine and Robert Lui’s fourth or fifth game together and it’s working it’s coming along.
“But, you’ve got to take note of Castleford’s defence it’s been good all season.”
Fans are reminded that tickets are now on sale for Red Devils remaining home games in the Super 8s against Wakefield, Huddersfield and St Helens. Tickets can be bought over the phone, at the club’s ticket office or online via the club website. Supporters are also reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.