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:
Salford Red Devils prop-forward Daniel Murray featured this weekend for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC in a 32-18 victory over Keighley Cougars at the Vestacare Stadium.
The Roughyeds raced into a 16-0 lead against the Cougars but the Yorkshiremen pulled it back to 16-14 heading into the interval. However, a dominant second half display saw Oldham run out comfortable winners.
Wakefield loanee Lee Kershaw scored twice alongside tries from Dave Eccleston, Kieran Gill and former Red Devil Liam Bent. Murray was in the thick of the action down the middle for Oldham.
Meanwhile, Gavin Bennion and Levy Nzoungou where both in action for Betfred Championship side Swinton Lions as they fell to a 18-12 defeat at the hands of Halifax RLFC.
Andy Thornley put Swinton in the lead early on before Chester Butler had put the hosts within two points. Marcus Webb’s 50th minute try furthered Swinton’s lead but late tries from Conor McGrath and a second from Steve Tyrer sealed the victory for Halifax. Tyrer had also begun the Halifax comeback midway through the second half.
Swinton Lions Head Coach and former Red Devil Stuart Littler said: “Levy [Nzoungou] is a handful. Him and Gav [Bennion] set the game and took us forward. He’s a big guy.”
Swinton welcome Toulouse Olympique next weekend with both Gavin Bennion and Levy Nzoungou available and you can watch this game completely free of charge with the Lions allowing free entry for any fans wishing to attend.
Salford Red Devils suffered defeat to Leeds on Easter Monday however there were still some impressive stats coming from the performance and we’ve broken them down in these week’s ‘Stat Pack’.
Prop-forward Daniel Murray started his first game of the 2018 season for the Red Devils after impressing on loan with Halifax RLFC and he’s our ‘player in focus’ this week.
Murray worked hard in defence making 30 tackles throughout the afternoon which was only bested by Logan Tomkins (41), Ben Nakubuwai (33) and Ryan Lannon (31). The youngster didn’t miss a single tackle in what was an impressive start to his 2018 for Salford.
And, it wasn’t just in defence where Murray stood strong making a total of 65 metres in his 11 carries and successfully busting two tackles. Following his performance, the competition for places in the pack is as strong as ever.
Yardage by the backs
Junior Sa’u is consistently one of the strongest runners in the Salford side and this weekend at Leeds was no difference with the Kiwi averaging 7.6 metres per carry.
However, it wasn’t just Sa’u who impressed with his yardage in attack with winger Jake Bibby also averaging 7.6 metres per carry. Bibby made seven carries while Sa’u amounted 10 carries.
Josh Jones averaged with the highest average gain in the forwards with seven metres and also made the most tackle busts with four.
Attempts to break Leeds down
Salford spent some considerable time on the Leeds line and players like Kris Welham and George Griffin both managed to earn quick play-the-balls.
Derrell Olpherts was a handful for Brian McDermott’s side as he managed to earn two penalties, a quick play-the-ball, a tackle bust and a successful offload.
Rob Lui attempted to penetrate the Rhinos defence with a range of kicks including two low kicks and three bombs.
Salford Red Devils fell to a 20-0 defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos despite producing a resilient performance at a rain-soaked Emerald Headingley Stadium.
Prior to today’s game, Salford had won just once at Headingley in the Super League era and this run looked set to continue as The Red Devils made a sluggish start to the contest – some quick hands from the hosts allowed Tom Briscoe to dive over in the corner with just five minutes on the clock, however Kallum Watkins’ conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Things quickly worsened for Ian Watson’s side as The Rhinos doubled their lead just twelve minutes later, Niall Evalds failed to keep hold of the ball and Ash Golding subsequently pounced on to the loose ball before touching down, Watkins added the extras to claim his first goal of the day.
Despite being behind, Salford stood up to the test ahead and almost got on the scoreboard when Jake Bibby broke towards the right-hand corner but Stevie Ward produced a try saving tackle to push Bibby into touch.
However, Leeds weren’t to be kept at bay for long and extended their lead further as Salford gave away a penalty 15m from their own line and the hosts opted to kick at goal – Watkins duly converted the penalty in what was the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford’s misfortune continued when Evalds suffered a head injury seconds before the interval – after a high shot from Handley caused the full-back to fall to the floor – and Lui switched to full-back early into the second period to fill in during Evalds’ absence.
Minutes later, club captain Weller Hauraki found himself placed on report by referee Greg Dolan as the forward’s challenge on former Red Devil Richie Myler was deemed a dangerous shoulder charge by the touch judges.
The Red Devils found themselves further behind when Kallum Watkins slotted home a penalty in front of the sticks twenty minutes from time – despite forging a number of attacking opportunities during the half.
Leeds crossed over again in the 76th minute when Josh Walters powered his way over from close-range after The Rhinos had forced Salford into successive goal-line drop outs, Watkins converted to take the hosts up to the 20 point mark and complete the scoring.
Leeds Lineup: Golding, Briscoe, Watkins, Handley, Hall, Moon, Myler, Delaney, Parcell, Singleton, Ward, Ablett, Walters
Interchanges: Dwyer, Ferres, Smith, Oledzki
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Wood, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Griffin, Jones, Burgess, Murray
Interchanges: Littlejohn, Hauraki, Tasi, Lannon
Leeds Scorers: Tries- Briscoe (5’), Golding (17’), Walters (76’)
Goals- Watkins (18’, 35’, 58’, 77’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- N/A
Man of the Match: Daniel Murray
Referee: Greg Dolan
Touch Judges: Joe Stearne & Peter Brooke
In Goal Judges: Connor Astbury & Joseph Turner
Levy Nzoungou featured for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC as The Roughyeds built on their Challenge Cup heroics at Halifax by cruising to a 30-2 victory over North Wales Crusaders at the Queensway Stadium.
Danny Bridge and Joe Martin’s respective doubles alongside further scores from Zack McComb and Phil Joy ensured Scott Naylor’s side emerged as deserved winners on a comfortable afternoon in Wrexham.
Nzoungou was heavily involved throughout the contest but Oldham did have to come from behind as Crusaders full-back Tom Johnson capped his 150th appearance for the club with a 2nd minute penalty in front of the sticks.
Despite the setback, the visitors recovered and managed to turn the game on its head going into the interval as Zack McComb and Joe Martin both crossed over.
Oldham ran riot throughout the second period and scored 22 unanswered points as Danny Bridge and Martin both secured doubles before Phil Joy also touched down.
Roughyeds Head Coach and former Red Devil Scott Naylor said: “Our first-half performance was poor, but we regrouped at half-time and took control in the second-half.”
Elsewhere, it was a frustrating afternoon for Daniel Murray and loan club Halifax RLFC as Richard Marshall’s side fell to a disappointing 38-6 defeat at Toulouse Olympique.
Olympique winger Tony Maurel touched down twice, whilst Rhys Curran, Mark Kheirallah, Gavin Marguerite, Bastian Ader and Paul Marcon also crossed over to complete the rout – Kheirallah kicked five conversions to inflict further misery onto the visitors.
However, Halifax did claim a solitary try through hooker Brandon Moore before Steve Tyrer added the extras.
The result concludes a miserable week for ‘Fax as Marshall’s side crashed out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup following their 27-6 defeat to Salford’s dual-reg partners Oldham at the MBi Shay last Tuesday.
Gavin Bennion appeared for Swinton Lions as their sluggish start to the Betfred Championship campaign continued with a heavy 64-18 home loss to London Broncos.
Despite taking an early lead through Elliott Caine, The Lions are now without a win from their first six fixtures as table toppers London cruised to victory at Heywood Road.
The Broncos ran in an astounding twelve tries as Alex Walker claimed a hat-trick, Kieron Dixon and James Cunningham earned a brace apiece, whilst Will Lovell, James Meadows, Lewis Bienek, Ben Hellewell and Tom Spencer also crossed to ensure London ran out deserved winners.
Swinton did claim two further consolation efforts through Hayden Hansen and Chris Hankinson but were unable to take anything positive from the game as Josh Barlow’s straight red-card reflected a miserable afternoon for The Lions.
Despite the loss, Swinton Head Coach and former Salford centre Stuart Littler was pleased with Bennion’s contribution.
“Gavin Bennion ran hard all day,” said Littler.
“He was a handful and was probably one of the best forwards on the field, which saying that in a game when you concede 64 points is some achievement.
“He’s played big minutes again.”
Salford Head Coach, Ian Watson, considers this weekend’s clash against Widnes a crucial one as the side look to make it back-to-back victories – the key to starting any sort of a winning run.
“This is going to be a big match for us, as, at the start of the season, we identified our home matches, together with away games against teams like Widnes, as ones we really need to win.
“Performing with consistency against these teams is vital in this, and we shall have to muster up the same type of performance to back up the victory over Hull.
“To be fair to the lads, with the exception of a few spasmodic slips in a couple of recent matches possibly caused by some of the combinations taking time to build, there has been a degree of consistency throughout much of each of the games we failed to win, whereas last week we held it together throughout the whole match.”
Widnes, similarly, have had a somewhat unpredictable season, so far, but Ian believes that the regular first team experience their young players had last year will stand them in really good stead as the season progresses.
“The injury issue they went through last year will have benefitted those young players who gained regular week by week game time and that makes them a much stronger squad now.
“They have over forty players in their first team and they have all had some first team experience, including that of playing through the Qualifiers, at the end of the season.”
The same, of course, is also true of our younger players, as we see the likes of Jake Bibby and Josh Wood not only holding down regular places but also weighing in with substantive contributions to each and every game, while others such as Ryan Lannon and Dan Murray are putting pressure on their more senior teammates who currently have had the nod ahead of them.
“We took it upon ourselves to give all our youngsters game time last year, because these lads are going to be a big part of the squad as time moves on.
“We do, though, have to ensure that the balance is right so that we get the wins along the way.
“We may not have finished the season particularly well, but the experience the youngsters gained from being involved in the Super 8s will have done them good.”
One example of how players can develop comes in the form of Niall Evalds, whose touchline diffusion of Marc Sneyd’s attempted forty-twenty, earned him many plaudits.
“Twelve months ago it is unlikely that he would have done that, which shows how his rugby education and knowledge have developed.
“He is playing a whole lot smarter now and applying his understanding of his role and what it requires, whereas previously he was relying on expending a lot of energy by racing around unnecessarily.
“We are really lucky to have had someone like Niall around to replace Gareth O’Brien once he had decided to move on, and since returning to the fullback role in the last couple of weeks Niall has been outstanding.”
As always, the 4G playing surface is an aspect of the game which will undoubtedly play some part in the outcome of the encounter.
“That pitch reacts differently, but if you train on it of course you get used to how it plays.
“Most clubs train on grass surfaces and expect things such as the bounce of the ball to be exactly the same, so there are a lot of things for us to take into account though the main thing is for us to focus on our own game.”
After such a great performance last weekend it seems only fitting that the players now have the opportunity to show off their skills, and the team’s entertainment value, to a larger audience on TV.
“They really earned the right to do that, with the way they played against Hull.
“Every single player knew his role and carried it out to the letter, and that will be key for us again on Thursday.”
Daniel Murray appeared for loan club Halifax RLFC in their emphatic 38-18 victory over Leigh Centurions at the MBI Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Shane Grady claimed a stunning hat-trick, Steve Tyrer earned a brace whilst Brandon Moore and Ben Heaton also crossed to secure consecutive Betfred Championship victories for the first time this season.
The hosts headed into the break with a 28-0 lead but Leigh responded with a double from Craig Hall alongside another score from Rhys Evans, although Fax prevailed to earn a crucial two points.
On-loan Red Devils man Murray, has impressed throughout his time in Yorkshire and Halifax Head Coach Richard Marshall recently revealed the former young forward is an integral part of his plans.
“I’ve been really pleased with all the lads who haven’t had much time to adapt. Daniel [Murray] was fantastic and showed his qualities. He’s a great addition,” said Marshall.
The win moves Halifax up to 6th in the table whilst Leigh now lie 9th, having won just once from six games.
Elsewhere, Gavin Bennion couldn’t inspire Swinton Lions to their first victory of the season at Featherstone Rovers in a game that was overshadowed by a second-half mass brawl.
Despite a slight resurgence from The Lions, Matt Sarsfield and George Tyson’s respective braces weren’t enough for Stuart Littler’s men to break their winless duck.
Featherstone’s Misi Taulapapa was sent-off whilst Swinton’s Robert Fairclough and Rhodri Lloyd were sin-binned. The hosts also had Tom Jones yellow carded as ugly scenes dampened an entertaining spectacle.
Swinton now lie joint bottom of the table, only above Sheffield Eagles on points difference. However, Littler’s side now have a welcomed distraction as they travel to in-form York City Knights in the 4th round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup this coming Sunday (Kick-Off: 3pm).
Ryan Lannon featured for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC as The Roughyeds suffered a narrow home defeat to League 1 promotion-chasing rivals York City Knights.
Matt Reid earned a double whilst Danny Langtree and Ben West also crossed for the hosts, but tries from Matthew Marsh, Kieren Moss, James Donaldson and Joe Batchelor secured two vital points for the visitors.
Paul Crook’s second-half conversion miss proved costly as York ultimately triumphed thanks to Connor Robinson’s four successful goals.
Despite the result, former Salford centre and Oldham Head Coach Scott Naylor was delighted with his side’s attitude.
“Our attitude was first class,” said Naylor.
“The willingness to work was 100-per-cent as always.
“At the end of the day we lost because we hit a post with a conversion.
“I hope our fans realise how tough this division is going to be and I hope they stick with us like they did the last time we were in League 1.”
Oldham now travel to Halifax for a mouth-watering Challenge Cup tie this coming Sunday (3pm).
Finally, it was a miserable day for Levy Nzoungou and Whitehaven as the Cumbrians slumped to a 44-6 defeat at the hands of Doncaster.
James Tilley dived over from dummy half to claim a score for the visitors in the opening period, though the hooker was soon sin-binned – something which reflected Haven’s luck throughout the contest.
Whitehaven remain winless although they have an opportunity to kick-start their season as their attention also turns to the Cup as Haven host Championship side Dewsbury Rams. Kick-Off at the Recreation Ground is 3pm.
By Ryan Booth
Ryan Lannon featured for dual-registration partners Oldham RLFC in their 14-0 triumph over Levy Nzoungou’s Whitehaven on the opening day of the Betfred League 1 season.
The Roughyeds earned a hard-fought victory in a sluggish encounter at the Recreation Ground, a solitary try from Matthew Wilkinson and five goals from Paul Crook were the ultimate difference between the two sides.
Lannon started the game for Oldham and impressed on his first appearance of the season, following his return from a three game suspension.
Nzoungou, who is currently on loan at Whitehaven, replaced Kris Coward in the opening period after starting amongst the interchanges, but the Frenchman was unable to inspire a Haven comeback as Oldham opened their campaign with a win.
Whitehaven Head Coach and former Salford man Carl Forster said: “We were far from good enough, completion and discipline killed us.
“When we got into vital positions we didn’t take our chances.
“With 16 in the squad as opposed to 17, it’s always going to be tough against a big Oldham pack.”
However there was no involvement for Salford winger Derrell Olpherts, the outside back was included in The Roughyeds’ 19 man squad for the trip to Cumbria, but wasn’t selected in Head Coach Scott Naylor’s starting lineup or interchanges.
Ryan Lannon could be in contention to start for a second successive week when Oldham host Featherstone Lions at the Vestacare Stadium in the third round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on Sunday 25th February.
In addition, Levy Nzoungou may well feature in the same competition as Whitehaven look to bounce back from the defeat to Oldham when they host London Skolars.
Elsewhere in this week’s dual-reg and loan watch, Gavin Bennion was included in Stuart Littler’s starting lineup as Swinton Lions lost 28-48 to Batley Bulldogs in a competitive Betfred Championship clash at the AJ Bell Stadium.
The defeat means The Lions lie 11th in the table, but the Heywood Road based outfit have the chance to bounce back when they travel to Dewsbury Rams next Sunday.
Finally, Daniel Murray featured for Halifax during their clash with Toronto Wolfpack at The MBI Shay.
Two tries from Adam Higson alongside further scores from Greg Worthington and Nick Rawsthorne cancelled out Chester Butler’s first half effort for Fax as The Wolfpack ran out 20-6 winners.
Murray will be hopeful of featuring for Halifax when they travel to Rochdale Hornets in the next round of Championship fixtures.
By Ryan Booth
Salford Red Devils forward Daniel Murray crossed for a double for Halifax RLFC this weekend after a joining on loan on Thursday.
Halifax earned a comfortable 30-10 victory at The MBI Shay on Sunday with Murray crossing for Fax’s first of the afternoon before scoring again in the closing stages.
It took just two minutes for Murray to open his account as Scott Murrell’s kick wide was kept alive by James Saltonstall and Will Sharp before Murray finished the move.
With less than ten minutes remaining Murray powered his way over again on the back of a quick play-the-ball from Will Maher. Murray’s second extended the hosts lead to twelve points and push Halifax onto victory.
Halifax Head Coach Richard Marshall said: “I’ve been really pleased with all the lads who haven’t had much time to adapt. Daniel [Murray] was fantastic and showed his qualities. He’s a great addition.”
Daniel Murray said: “It was really good – enjoyed that game of rugby.
“I’m here for some game time so enjoying it.
“I was a bit sloppy with my play-the-ball other than that it was basically run as far as you can and as hard as you can.”
Halifax RLFC posted a full post-match interview with Murray following yesterday’s game which you can watch here.
James Woodburn-Hall, Ed Barber and Dan Fleming were also on the scoresheet for Halifax while The Eagles tries came from Jack Ashworth and Matt James.
Murray will be in contention to face Toronto Wolfpack at home in Round Three of the Betfred Championship for Halifax next Sunday.
Levy Nzoungou and Gavin Bennion didn’t feature this weekend for Whitehaven and Swinton, respectively. Whitehaven didn’t have a scheduled fixture while Swinton’s game against Rochdale was postponed due to the weather.
Salford Red Devils can confirm that Daniel Murray has joined Betfred Championship side Halifax RLFC on a one-month loan deal.
Murray follows Levy Nzoungou and Gavin Bennion to join lower league sides on short-term deals with Nzoungou at Whitehaven and Bennion at Swinton.
Murray, sponsored by the Salford RLFC Supporters’ Trust, said: “I’m really looking forward to playing with Halifax on Sunday.
“It’s good to be back they’ve got some quality lads in the team and playing with those sort of players will obviously help me development.
“Again the championship is a competitive league this year so it’ll be great to come up against the top teams in the league.
“Thank you to Richie for giving me the opportunity to play some first team rugby because that’s what I need to develop further.”
Murray could feature in Halifax’s upcoming games against Sheffield, Toronto, Rochdale and Batley.