Tag: Craig Kopczak

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.
Head-to-head
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.
Try-scorers
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.
Milestones
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.

Stat Pack | Salford Red Devils 6-22 Warrington Wolves

While the Red Devils may have suffered defeat against Warrington Wolves on Saturday afternoon there were still some impressive stats to delve into in this week’s ‘Stat Pack’. 
Kris Welham
This week’s ‘Player in Focus’ was Kris Welham who was one of the standout performers in his 200th Betfred Super League appearance.
The centre was one of the busiest players on the park in both attack and defence yesterday. Welham racked up an impressive 25 tackles which was more than any other Red Devils back.
Welham also made 14 carries – the third highest of any Salford player – and managed to rack up 132 metres made giving him the title of the Red Devils biggest metre maker on Saturday afternoon.
Outside backs
In fact, all four of the outside backs played their part in returning the ball and getting Salford on the front foot with each amassing over 100 metres.
As mentioned, Welham led the way with 132 before being closely followed by Derrell Olpherts – who made his home Betfred Super League debut with 118. Jake Bibby and Junior Sa’u made 107 and 101, respectively.
Sa’u and Olpherts both made an impressive 15 carries in the game, Welham made 14 while winger Jake Bibby and full-back Rob Lui each took the ball up 11 times.
Mammoth defensive efforts
In the early stages of the game Warrington dominated possession which saw Salford stand tall and some of the forwards build up immense tackle numbers.
Club Captain Weller Hauraki led the way – not for the first time this season – with 43 tackles and was challenged by both Mark Flanagan and Josh Wood who both hit the 40-tackle mark.
Jack Littlejohn, Kris Welham, Craig Kopczak, Lee Mossop and Josh Jones all made over 25 tackles in a tough game at the AJ Bell Stadium. Josh Jones also had a 100% tackle rate.

Three talking points | Salford Red Devils 6-22 Warrington Wolves

Following yesterday’s 6-22 loss to Warrington Wolves in Round Ten of the 2018 Betfred Super League we take a look at three talking points from the game.
Changes to the playmakers
Unfortunately, due to Niall Evalds being ruled out after failing a concussion test last weekend and Logan Tomkins going down with an illness, Ian Watson was forced to make changes in key positions for yesterday’s game.
Rob Lui had to move into the full-back role and did a solid job under the high ball and even crossed for the Red Devils try after hitting an Evalds-esque inside ball.
Josh Wood moved from the halves back into the more familiar role of hooker and was another strong performer for the full eighty minutes. Jake Shorrocks and Jack Littlejohn partnered in the halves with Shorrocks settling in well on his debut.
Both Evalds and Tomkins are expected to return next weekend for the trip to Huddersfield which will mean more rotation in the playmaker roles however it will see players return to their favoured positions.
Battling front-row
For weeks we’ve spoken about how the Red Devils forwards have stuck it to everyone they’ve played and this week we saw another determined effort from the front-row, in particular.
Lee Mossop and Craig Kopczak set the stall for Salford before a weighted interchange bench came on and made a further impact. Lama Tasi’s performances in recent weeks have been fantastic with the former Samoan international really coming forward as the sides enforcer out on the field.
Possible sin-bin
Warrington may have felt fortunate not to have Ben Westwood sent to the sin-bin in the second half for what appeared to be a high shot on Junior Sa’u.
Sa’u was on the way down in the tackle which could have tipped referee Gareth Hewer’s decision but there was definite contact with the head.
Video Referee Robert Hicks did take a look but as with all challenges when the player is on the way down it is difficult to judge whether it could be helped or not. However, had Westwood been sent for ten minutes, Salford could well have got themselves in touching distance of the Wire with a man advantage.

Squad | Ian Watson confirms 19-man squad for #DerbyDay

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad to face Warrington Wolves on #DerbyDay this Saturday afternoon.
Jake Shorrocks is named in the squad for the first time since arriving on an initial one-month loan from Wigan Warriors last week.
Lee Mossop, Mark Flanagan and Craig Kopczak all didn’t feature on Easter Monday at Leeds but could return this weekend against the Wolves.
Ryan Lannon and Derrell Olpherts both featured over Easter and could be in line to retain their places for this crucial Betfred Super League tie.
Niall Evalds misses out on the squad after failing his concussion assessment in the defeat to the Rhinos on Monday afternoon.
The full squad can be seen below:

Stat Pack | Salford Red Devils 32-16 Catalans Dragons

After yesterday’s dominant 32-16 victory over Catalans Dragons we take a look at all the stats behind the performance. 
Josh Jones
This week’s player in focus is second-rower Josh Jones who crossed for the Red Devils fourth try of the afternoon.
Jones, who is an ever-present so far this season, was one of three Salford players to break the 100 metres made mark alongside full-back Niall Evalds and prop-forward Craig Kopczak. Jones carried the ball 17 times throughout the afternoon.
The 24-year-old’s power was too much for the Dragons defence as Jones made five tackle busts and managed to get away three passes. Eight players amounted over twenty tackles with Jones also falling into that category.
Defence
It was another big defensive effort at the AJ Bell Stadium from the Red Devils and, on his 100th game for the Club, Logan Tomkins racked up the most tackles with 33. He was closely followed by Club Captain Weller Hauraki who made 32 and was the top tackler in the last home game against Hull FC.
Kris Welham was the top tackler in the backs as he made 20 tackles while fellow centre Junior Sa’u wasn’t far behind with 18. Greg Johnson, Rob Lui, Mark Flanagan and Luke Burgess all failed to miss a tackle in yesterday’s game.
Line breaking
In our three talking points from the Catalans game we mentioned the Red Devils ability to break from anywhere on the field and the stats only back that up.
Jake Bibby and Rob Lui both made two initial breaks in the game while Niall Evalds and Kris Welham also had an initial break apiece. Ben Nakubuwai was the only forward to make an initial break in the lead up to Greg Johnson’s try.
Catalans were struggling to contain Salford Jones, Evalds, Bibby and Lui all making a handful of tackle busts, in fact Lui totalled seven in the eighty-minute performance. Hauraki and Lee Mossop led the way for the forwards with three each.

Match Report | Widnes Vikings 24-16 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils were unable to record successive Betfred Super League victories as Widnes Vikings came from behind to triumph 24-16 in an entertaining contest at the Select Security Stadium.
The Red Devils made a bright start to the tie and almost forged an opening inside the opening ten when Weller Hauraki broke through the Widnes backline – but the second-rower was stopped in his tracks 15m from the line.
Salford burst through the Vikings defence frequently throughout the early stages and they thought their perseverance paid off when debutant Derrell Olpherts dived over in the corner after some good work from Robert Lui – but Olpherts was adjudged to have crossed the touchline by video referee Phil Bentham and the score was disallowed.
However, The Reds were finally over a minute later when Lui’s looping kick took a wicked bounce off the synthetic surface which eluded everyone except the onrushing Josh Jones whose quick hands gave Craig Kopczak the simple task of crossing over, Lui added the extras.
Widnes responded well and were denied a try by Bentham as the ball wasn’t grounded – however The Vikings crossed over from the subsequent play-the-ball as Chris Dean collected a short ball before piercing through a gap in the Salford line and powering over, Krisnan Inu converted the resulting goal.
Salford immediately recovered from the setback and restored their lead through a penalty, Lui opted to kick at goal and successfully landed the penalty to give the visitors a two point advantage.
Minutes later The Red Devils earned another penalty – this time Lui’s high kick caused mayhem amongst the Vikings line which ultimately resulted in a Widnes man knocking the ball on, half-back Lui successfully converted the kick to increase the margin separating the sides to four points at the interval.  
Salford flew out of the blocks after the break and almost scored as Hauraki found Jake Bibby who attempted to flick the ball into the path of the lively Olpherts – but the winger was unable to keep hold of the ball and Salford therefore lost possession.
Despite the good start, Salford’s momentum was quickly disrupted when Lama Tasi was sent to the sin bin after shoulder-charging Ted Chapelhow.
The man advantage quickly paid off as some good work from Danny Craven and Rhys Hanbury helped pave the way for Inu to power over in the right-hand corner and surpass 100 points in his Super League career, Inu then dusted himself off and successfully added the extras as the hosts turned the game on its head.
Despite losing Tasi to the bin, Salford recovered well upon his return and restored their lead in the 57th minute when Lui’s cross field kick found Bibby who cleverly flicked the ball into the path of Hauraki to dive over from close range, however Lui’s conversion flew wide of the posts.
Hauraki’s effort seemed to pile pressure on the hosts, Craven was tackled in-goal and Inu’s drop-out didn’t reach the 10m line – Lui opted to kick at goal from the resulting penalty and successfully converted his fourth goal of the evening.
In an end to end tie, the momentum soon switched towards The Vikings as Olpherts conceded a needless penalty after obstructing an opponent, Widnes scored from a quick play-the-ball as Greg Burke crossed over the whitewash before Inu added the goal to turn the scores around once again.
Salford made another costly error minutes later as Niall Evalds fumbled the ball in front of the try line – Aaron Heremaia pounced on the loose ball before touching down, Inu added the extras to seal the victory.
Widnes Lineup: Hanbury, Marsh, Inu, Runciman, Chamberlain, Mellor, Craven, Houston, Heremaia, Burke, Dean, Whitley, Olbison
Interchanges: Johnstone, Walker, Chapelhow, Wilde
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Olpherts, Sa’u, Johnson, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Tomkins, Kopczak, Jones, Hauraki, Flanagan
Interchanges: Wood, Tasi, Nakubuwai, McCarthy
Widnes Scorers: Tries- Dean (27’), Inu (48’), Burke (70’), Heremaia (75’)
Goals- Inu (27’, 48’, 71’, 76’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Kopczak (17’), Hauraki (57’)
Goals- Lui (18’, 32’, 38’, 63’)
Man of the Match: Niall Evalds
Referee: Ben Thaler
Touch Judges: James Child & Liam Moore
Video Referee: Phil Bentham
Attendance: 4,007

Squad | Ian Watson names 19-man squad for trip to Castleford

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad to take on Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on Sunday, 3:30pm kick-off.
There is just one change to Salford’s 19-man squad that travelled to St Helens last weekend with George Griffin coming in for Craig Kopczak.
Mark Flanagan retains his place after playing his first Betfred Super League since July 2017 last weekend at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Weller Hauraki is also named after missing out on the game day team last weekend with a minor knock.
Tickets are still available to purchase for Sunday’s game from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. Remember, Salford Red Devils retain 25% of any purchases from the AJ Bell Stadium and you can buy directly from us up until 4:30pm on Saturday 10th March. 
The full 19-man squad can be seen below:

Ian Watson | “We got what we deserved in the second half”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson feels his side ‘got what they deserved in the second half’ following a 34-2 defeat to Betfred Super League leaders St Helens.
Watson said: “I thought we got what we deserved in the second half.
“First half we were really good. The difference between the teams for the first sixty minutes was the discipline and Ben Barba to be fair his quality kind of shone.
“The way he came up with his tries the one of the offload from [Alex] Walmsley and the one where he beat [Craig Kopczak] Koppy on his inside shoulder I just thought that was kind of the difference along with our discipline.
“We defended really well in large parts but then we gave penalties away on tackle four and five so not only are we ending up defending one set but two sets to every set that we had.
“If you keep doing that then your defence is fatigued and that’s what you saw in that second half.
“I think first set they completed, we completed ours and on the next one we gave a penalty away on tackle four and then they got a repeat set from a poor error not letting the ball bounce dead and they scored on the back of that.
“We got what we deserved because we weren’t resilient enough as a team to get the result but I think Ben Barba was the one who stood out along with our discipline.
“We were talking [post-match] about having that resilience about us when things aren’t going our way we can’t just shut up shop and put our heads down.
“We’ve got to fight for what we want to get out of the game and out of the season really and I thought we just kind of lacked that a little bit but discipline was the issue today.”

Flashback | Salford Red Devils 24-14 Hull Kingston Rovers

In this week’s Flashback piece we take a look back to the last meeting between Salford Red Devils and Hull Kingston Rovers as Ian Watson’s men progressed to the quarter-finals of the 2017 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.
Despite the visitors racing into a 14-0 lead Salford managed to fightback scoring 24 unanswered points at the AJ Bell Stadium to move on to the last eight of the competition.
Hooker Shaun Lunt crossed for two tries in quick succession alongside two conversions plus a penalty goal from Jamie Ellis opened up an early lead for the Robins.
However, Salford soon hit back as Ryan Lannon narrowed the gap just prior to the interval as he latched onto a clever kick from Michael Dobson.
And it was the Red Devils who came back out on the front foot as – in similar fashion to KR in the first half – they grabbed two tries in a short period.
Prop-forward Craig Kopczak powered his way over before Kriss Brining managed to edge the hosts ahead for the first time in the game.
Ben Murdoch-Masila crashed over for Salford’s fourth of the evening to pull victory even closer which was furthered by Michael Dobson retaining his 100% record with the boot.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach, Ian Watson, said: “At half-time, we just spoke honestly as a group.
“We knew the standards they were reaching in the first half didn’t measure up to what we expect. We allowed Hull KR to dictate the speed of the game.
“We also spoke about us being soft in defence. They were dominating the ruck and getting up too quickly. We had to stop that and fortunately for us we did.”

Three talking points | Wakefield Trinity 14-12 Salford Red Devils

Following a narrow defeat at the hands of Wakefield Trinity in Round Two of the Betfred Super League we take a look at three talking points from Friday’s game.
The forward battle 
Wakefield’s power in the pack has been a big talking point heading into the 2018 season however Ian Watson’s forwards equalled, and if not, bettered Trinity up the middle on Friday evening.
Lee Mossop and Lama Tasi set the stall early for The Red Devils while a big interchange bench including Luke Burgess, Ben Nakubuwai and Craig Kopczak made a massive impact which is something Wakefield Head Coach Chris Chester eluded to in his press conference. Watch here.
Salford’s pack stood up to the likes of David Fifita and Pauli Pauli and kept Wakefield’s dangerous forwards quiet for the most part. This impressed Ian Watson who’s post-match press conference can be seen here.
Fijian debutant
Fijian World Cup star Ben Nakubuwai debuted for The Red Devils on Friday night and made a massive impact from the bench. Nakubuwai missed out against Wigan but he has certainly put his marker down for a position in the side against Hull Kingston Rovers.
The 21-year-old brought the ball forward constantly making metres with every carry and he was an absolute stalwart defensively in an all-around solid defensive performance from Ian Watson’s side.
Ben Nakubuwai’s post-match interview will be on Salford Red Devils TV later today.
Kris Welham and Niall Evalds
Niall Evalds moved from full-back to winger for Friday evening’s game at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, but it didn’t stop the 2017 top try-scorer from crossing for his second in as many games this season. Evalds finished off a flowing move from The Red Devils to draw them level on Friday.
Kris Welham also made it tries in consecutive appearances as he spun his way over in the final minute to give Salford the opportunity to earn a point. While it wasn’t to be Welham and Evalds are already showing the try-scoring threat Salford possess out wide in 2018.