Tag: deon cross

Deon Cross to remain a Red Devil until end of 2023

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that we have exercised the one-year extension option in Deon Cross’ contract, meaning the in-form centre/winger will remain a Red Devil until the end of the 2023 season.

Cross arrived at Salford from Widnes Vikings ahead of the 2022 season and impressed from his first day of pre-season, leading to head coach Paul Rowley highlighting him as his standout player during the off-season.

A recognised winger, Cross quickly had to adapt his game due to a number of injuries at the club that left a shortage of centres in Rowley’s squad. However, Our number 28 has not once looked out of place in what is his first season in the Betfred Super League, with consistently strong performances every week.

Deon Cross, sponsored by PND Travel, said: “I’m really pleased to get the contract extension at Salford, as I have loved every minute so far at the club. I’m really enjoying my time here, especially with the playing group, coaching staff and the fans we have got.

“The club have given me an opportunity by giving me an extension and I want to repay them with good performances and assisting the team in the goals we have set for the season and beyond.”

Head coach Paul Rowley added: “It’s great news for Salford that Deon has extended his stay with the club. He’s a great example of perseverance, dedication and commitment to following his dreams.

“He’s worked extremely hard and is looking very much a Super League player. He’s a fantastic lad to work with and the lads, the staff and myself are looking forward to being a part of his continued Super League journey.”

Director of rugby and operations, Ian Blease, commented: “From all of the recruitment over the years, Deon’s signing and his progression in such a short space of time, has personally been one of the best signings I have made at the club so far. It is great to see a player being given a chance at elite sport and succeeding and at present, Deon is grasping his chance with both hands.

“I believed in Deon from the onset and after speaking with his agent, I knew he would be a perfect fit for our club. Deon’s willingness to adapt and learn at the Red Devils has been an absolute pleasure to watch.

“We have now taken up the option on Deon for 2023, and this will now give him more time to build on his game and grow his reputation even more for our club.”

Join Deon at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 15th May, when we see the return of Leeds Rhinos for Round 12 of the Betfred Super League. Tickets on sale HERE.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CATALANS

 

Returning to the A J Bell for only their fourth home fixture of the season, the Salford Red Devils will undoubtedly have been hoping for a turnaround in fortunes after three successive away fixtures in which they had come out second best, when they took on the Catalans Dragons, in Easter Monday’s encounter.

Unfortunately, on the day, this did not turn out to be the case, and the visiting Frenchmen returned home to Perpignan with the two league points to promote further their Super League title aspirations.

That seemed far from likely in the opening stages however, as Salford opened the game with aplomb, dominating possession and turning their most advantageous field position into points, with the first of their tries coming in the fourth minute from Ryan Brierley’s kick over the line, to which Deon Cross won the race to ground.

Indeed, the visitors had really looked at sixes and sevens during that opening onslaught, conceding three set-restarts and a penalty, but once the Red Devils had put in their end-of-set kick after the restart, the visitors began to enjoy a share of possession, and chalk up scores of their own.

What will have disappointed the home fans particularly was the way in which Salford contributed to their own downfall, with unforced individual errors, a number of which led directly, or indirectly, to the Dragons’ six tries, all of which were converted.

Two back-to-back penalties, both towards the end of sets-of-six, set up the visitors for their first, on nine minutes, and then, nine minutes later, they forced a goal-line drop-out, which was followed by their being awarded two further penalties, one of which came on the last tackle of their set.  That was more than enough possession for them to go over again and double their score.

The error, which will have caused most annoyance in the Salford ranks, however, was from a penalty awarded to the Dragons at a scrum for the Reds failing to have secured the ball in readiness to feed it in. The shot-clock sounded, while they were still recovering it, and, from the ensuing penalty, Catalans rang up their third try to bring a 6-18 half-time score.

Twelve points is by no means a match-winning lead and there must have still been hopes of a resurgent home side overturning this, particularly against an opposition depleted by a sin-binning, immediately before the interval.  Far from that, however, it was the twelve-man French side which opened the scoring, following a Salford handling error close to their own line, with the ball firting out into the grateful hands of Whitley with the line at his mercy.

It was not until the sixty-fifth minute that Salford were able to add to their opening score, with their second coming after Marc Sneyd had instigated it with one of his favourite chip and chases, which so used to delight spectators of our Youth team, back in the late noughties.  Brierley regathered before putting in a kick ahead of his own for Sio to add to his growing number of tries for the season.

This, however, was merely sandwiched between two further tries by the visitors, the final one of which came as a result of yet another unforced error, this time an incorrect play-the-ball, which gave the Dragons possession to notch one more.

Standing up to a side as big and physical as the French side is, is a considerable task, particularly with the spate of injuries currently plaguing the Red Devils.  The effort they put in to doing this was tremendous, and the go forward provided by Sam Luckley was significant, as was that of the returning Kallum Watkins, in the unaccustomed role of second row following his introduction off the bench shortly before half time.  With the return eventually of others, that effort will hopefully be turned into victories.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: WAKEFIELD V SALFORD

For sheer entertainment value, this Round Seven game had everything anyone could have wished for, with classy, expansive, skilful handling, rampaging hit-ups, tricky defence-splitting running, end-to-end movement, and tries aplenty, all in one afternoon’s worth of Super League.

At first glance, it might appear to have been a game of two halves, with first Trinity, and then the visiting Salford side having total ascendency, in each of the forty-minute periods.  That assumption is certainly supported by the scoreboard, with Wakefield rattling up a 24-4 interval lead, and the Reds winning the second stanza by twenty points to six.

There was more to it than that, however, with Salford, in particular, making some notable impact when Wakefield held the whip hand.  For example, after the home side had taken an eighth-minute, six-point lead, it took the Red Devils a matter of only two minutes’ play,  before they eroded into it, with the first of Rhys Willams’s tries, after deft hands from the ever-impressive, Tim Lafae, and it was only thanks to their successful conversion that Wakefield continued to hold onto the lead.

Indeed, when you look at the number of tries rather than points accrued, it was completely even, with five each, four of which, for both teams, came in just one half.  Unfortunately, with both Salford wingers scoring a brace each, the majority of their scores were out wide, making it far more difficult for kicker, Marc Sneyd, to acquit himself as accurately as he probably would have liked, and, in the end, it was the three missed attempts from the most difficult, which were responsible for the final six-point difference between the sides.

Even after Trinity had opened up a 12-4 lead after fifteen minutes, Salford ripped through their defence, on twenty-six minutes, when Elijah Taylor made a clean break down the left, but was unable to take advantage of his teammates’ support as a Wakefield defender cleverly put himself between them, and the difficult inside pass went adrift.

If there were a period in which Trinity were totally dominant, it was in the final ten minutes of the half, when they doubled their number of points on the board.  It started with a poor Salford chase after a kick into their opponents’ in-goal area, which enabled Wakefield to build up a head of steam, and they promptly went a hundred metres down the field, in only five tackles, to score by the posts.  Winger, Tom Johnstone, then rounded off the half with one of his typical individual tries.

Much as they contributed to the game on attack, unusually, there must have been questions about the visitors’ defence, at times during the half, to be facing a twenty-point deficit.  There had been, nevertheless, a period mid-half, when they had withstood two back-to-back goal-line drop-outs, followed by two back-to-back penalties, all within close proximity to their own line.

Whatever the nature of the discussion during half time, Salford were a team transformed, from the start of the second half.  The immediate pressure they applied led to the initial rewards of two back-to-back goal-line drop-outs, of their own capped with a penalty, and they all added to the Red Devils’ total dominance, which culminated in Deon Cross’s converted try, on forty-seven minutes.

Momentum had swung in Salford’s favour, and they were now in the ascendency, so much so that it took merely seven minutes for the next score, from Ken Sio, such was the new-found confidence they were exuding.  They even went close to adding two further tries, only to be held up, over the line, on both occasions.

Wakefield, on the other hand. were now  confined to almost constant goal-line defence, and it was close to mid-point in the half before they launched an attack on the Salford line.

One aspect of play which the home side did command, however, was the ability to win most of the contested high kicks, though Rhys Williams will have gained considerable satisfaction from plucking the ball from one, short, goal-line drop-out, out of the air, and away from the waiting hands of an opponent to cross, unchallenged, for his second try.

Ken Sio, on the other flank, mirrored his colleague’s scoring rate, though, by the time he had the chance to complete his tally, thirty seconds from time, the Wakefield lead had increased to twelve points, and the victory was theirs.

There was much of which the Red Devils should be proud, however.  The notable improvement in their attacking play was most encouraging, as well as entertaining, and they certainly showed that they do have the clinical skills to turn their chances into points.  With a blank weekend coming up, there is the opportunity to hone these skills further, but also to rediscover their defensive strategy which has done so much to help them, in previous games.

DEON CROSS JOINS RED DEVILS

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce the signing of Deon Cross on a one-year deal, with the option for a further year.

The winger arrives from Betfred Championship side, Widnes Vikings, where he won Try of the Year and Fans’ Player of the Year awards in 2021.

Cross started out at Rochdale Hornets in 2018, before moving to Barrow Raiders in 2019 for one season. The 25-year-old signed for Widnes ahead of the 2020 season, stating his dream was to play in Super League one day.

Speaking on signing for Salford, Cross said: “I’m really excited about the move, Super League has been the target since i started playing rugby.

“Salford is a fantastic club who have reached new heights more than once over the last few seasons, and I hope I can help this club achieve again.”

Director of rugby and operations Ian Blease added: “It’s no wonder why Deon was voted the fans’ Player of the Year this season at Widnes. He’s a very talented winger who is still only young, so has plenty of time to develop his game even further.

“Being around the likes of Ken Sio, Joe Burgess and Rhys Williams, who are all established Super League players, can only help Deon mature and improve.”

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