Tag: Gareth O’Brien

Preview | Salford Red Devils vs Toronto Wolfpack | Saturday 8th August

Ahead of this weekend’s huge Qualifiers clash with Toronto Wolfpack, we take a look at everything you need to know ahead of the game. 
Last Time Out
Last weekend the Red Devils earned their biggest victory of the season in front of almost 1000 travelling Salford fans. Ian Watson’s men racked up a huge 4-62 victory over Halifax which moved them two points clear atop The Qualifiers table.
Sam Wood opened the scoring for Halifax, but Salford would run in twelve unanswered tries on the way to a memorable victory. Derrell Olpherts crossed for his first hat-trick in Salford colours while Jackson Hastings and Junior Sa’u also notched doubles. Ed Chamberlain, Ben Nakubuwai, Kris Welham, Lama Tasi and Josh Wood were all also on the scoresheet.

As for Toronto, they overcame fellow Championship side London Broncos at Lamport Stadium moving them onto four points in The Qualifiers. The Wolfpack raced into a massive 32-0 lead thanks to tries from Blake Wallace, Gareth O’Brien, Chase Stanley, Josh McCrone and Mason Caton-Brown.
However, with 25 minutes remaining, London began a fightback which would see Rhys Williams, Alex Walker, Ben Evans and Matt Davis all score before the hooter, however they couldn’t quite earn a point.
Form
Salford Red Devils head into this game in their best form of the 2018 season having won their opening three Qualifiers fixtures and four consecutive games overall. Ian Watson’s side ended the regular season with a morale lifting victory over Leeds before beating fellow Super League sides Hull Kingston Rovers and Widnes Vikings in The Qualifiers.
Last weekend’s huge 4-62 victory over Halifax marked the first time the side have won four consecutive games since midway through the 2017 season.
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Toronto head into this weekend’s game on the back of a home victory over London Broncos but their form in recent weeks hasn’t been as consistent as throughout the rest of the 2018 season. The Wolfpack only lost one game in their opening 22 matches of this season but have since lost two of their last four in all competitions.
The Wolfpack ended the regular season with their first defeat on Canadian soil as Featherstone were victorious and it became back-to-back home losses for Toronto in their second Qualifiers outing as Hull Kingston Rovers edged them out at Lamport Stadium.
Head-to-Head
This weekend will see Niall Evalds go head-to-head in the fullback position against former teammate Gareth O’Brien who moved to Toronto from the Red Devils earlier in the season.
Evalds returned to the Red Devils squad last month following an eight-week lay-off with a broken leg and has fit straight back into the fold with the form he displayed earlier in the season. The fullback always offers a threat in attack and now with the likes of Rob Lui, Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick opening defences up he simply has to be on their shoulder.


For Toronto, O’Brien has impressed since his arrival from Salford earlier in the season and will play a pivotal role if the Wolfpack are to gain Super League status. O’Brien has a dangerous running game pulling defenders in and allowing him to rack up try-assists. Of course, the former Warrington man also has a place in Qualifiers history thanks to his drop-goal which saved the Red Devils in 2016.
With two dangerous and clinical fullbacks on show it will be a case of whichever gets the most opportunities to punish their opponents and possibly win the game for their team.
Team News:
Salford Red Devils forward George Griffin is named in this week’s 19-man squad and could return to action for the first time since defeat at Warrington at the end of June. Lee Mossop could also be in line to return after missing out last weekend against Halifax.


Luke Burgess made an impressive return at the MBi Shay Stadium and retains his place in the Red Devils squad this weekend. However, Ben Nakubuwai will miss the game through a shoulder injury.
Squads:
Salford: Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds , Rob Lui, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick.
Toronto: Gary Wheeler, Josh McCrone, Jack Buchanan, Bob Beswick, Ashton Sims, Andrew Dixon, Adam Sidlow, Blake Wallace, Olsi Krasniqi, Richard Whiting, Nick Rawsthorne, Cory Paterson, Jacob Emmitt, Matty Russell, Gareth O’Brien, Darcy Lussick, Chase Stanley, Mason Caton-Brown.
Table Permutations
Salford are currently the only team to win all three of their Qualifiers fixtures meaning they currently sit two points above the chasing pack. It would take a Salford defeat and a big point overhaul from one of the four teams currently on four points to move the Red Devils from the top spot heading into Round Five.
Toronto occupy 3rd place heading into this weekend’s fixture and are level on points with Leeds Rhinos, Toulouse Olympique and Hull Kingston Rovers. The Wolfpack would need a win by 83 points to climb to top spot but they could pull away from the rest of the field if they were to better the results of Leeds, Toulouse or Hull Kingston Rovers.
 
Welcome the Wolfpack! 
Tickets for our next home game against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday 8th September are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or SAVE MONEY by buying online, just CLICK HERE.

O’Brien Departs Red Devils

Salford Red Devils can confirm that full-back Gareth O’Brien will join Betfred Championship side Toronto Wolfpack (subject to RFL approval).
At the end of last week the Club were approached by Toronto with an official offer for Gareth. The Club made Gareth aware of the interest and he informed the Red Devils he did not wish to leave. This offer was turned down and it was reiterated to Toronto that Gareth was not for sale on the basis the Club neither wanted nor needed to sell.
Representatives for the player returned the next day requesting permission for Gareth to speak to the Wolfpack.
The Red Devils while disappointed in this sudden change of heart but, not wishing to retain a player who was not 100% committed to Salford Red Devils, granted the appropriate permission.
Salford Red Devils then issued an undisclosed fee for the transfer which was met and the player has since agreed personal terms with the Wolfpack over the weekend.
Everyone at Salford Red Devils would like to thank Gareth for his service. The full-back stepped up with an unforgettable moment – in the 2016 Million Pound Game – when the Club needed it the most and wrote himself into the history of rugby league in Salford.
While the Club is sorry to see Gareth leave, Salford Red Devils are keen to maintain a squad that is fully motivated and committed. With that in mind the Club are currently active in the market for replacements and will make further announcements regarding the strengthening of the squad in due course.
The Club would now ask its fans to come together to support the team and help them pick up two valuable BetFred Super League points against Hull FC this Friday at the AJ Bell Stadium – KO 8pm.

Flashback | Castleford Tigers 16-32 Salford Red Devils | Sunday 13th March 2016

Ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Super League tie with Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle we take a look at the last time Salford earned victory at Castleford.
Salford managed to earn a comfortable 16-32 victory which marked their first win at Castleford since 2004.
On-loan winger Justin Carney was the difference between the sides on his return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle however he spent ten minutes in the bin in the early stages following an altercation with Nathan Massey.
Gareth O’Brien got the scoring underway converting a long-range penalty goal before Greg Johnson’s try extended the lead for Salford. However, Castleford did narrow the arrears to just two points before the interval with a score in the corner from Denny Solomona.
Josh Griffin would cross in spectacular fashion after half-time before Carney grabbed his first try of the afternoon to put Salford in command.
The Tigers hit back as Solomona notched two tries in quick succession. His first coming from a break from Paul McShane before squeezing over in the corner to round off his hat-trick.
But, any hope Castleford had off completing a comeback was soon diminished as Griffin scored his second of the afternoon. Carney also scored a double in the dying stages latched onto a long kick to add insult to injury for The Tigers.
Following the game Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson said: “We haven’t seen the game out over the last few weeks so it’s pleasing to come to Castleford and get such a massive result. They’re a good team.”
The teams that day:
Castleford Tigers: Dorn, Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Solomona; Hampshire, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, McMeeken, Cook, Massey. Interchanges: McShane, Boyle, Springer, Maher. 
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien, Carney, Sa’u, J. Griffin, Johnson; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Lee, G. Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Lannon. Interchanges: Flanagan, A. Walne, Tomkins, Joseph.

Match Report | St Helens 34-2 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils were unable to record successive Betfred Super League victories as they suffered a 34-2 away defeat to St Helens.
Two tries from Ben Barba alongside further scores from Tommy Makinson, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jonny Lomax and Luke Thompson ensured the Saints ran out deserved winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
Despite not claiming any points within the early stages, the Red Devils made a bright start to the contest and minimised any potential threats from the St Helens fold.
Salford opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Gareth O’Brien converted a penalty 12 yards in front of the posts to give The Reds a two points lead.
St Helens responded well and almost crossed over when McCarthy-Scarsbrook powered towards the Salford line, although Logan Tomkins was equal to the forward’s efforts and held him up in goal.
Saints’ determination paid dividends as Makinson pounced onto Barba’s grubber kick to give the hosts the lead, however Danny Richardson was unable to convert the extras.
Makinson’s effort appeared to instill some belief with the hosts, they extended their lead five minutes from time as the lively Barba seized upon a gap in the Salford backline before racing 30m to cross over in what proved to be the final point scoring action of the half, Richardson again missed the resulting goal.
It took Saints just five minutes to pick up where they left off after the interval, Barba fought off several tackle attempts before diving over to give the home side some breathing space, Richardson successfully converted the extras to leave the scores at 14-2.
Minutes later, Saints increased the margin between the sides by a further two points as Richardson landed a penalty in front of the sticks, after O’Brien’s drop-out flew into touch on the full.
With less than thirty minutes of the game remaining, Salford were temporarily reduced to twelve men as Lama Tasi was sin binned for two dangerous tackle attempts in as many minutes.
Salford had a glorious opportunity to claw their way back into the tie, Jack Littlejohn found Junior Sa’u out wide although the former’s pass was deemed forward.
Despite the Red Devils’ perseverance, St Helens crossed over again eleven minutes from time as McCarthy-Scarsbrook powered over, Richardson converted the extras.
Soon after, Saints were in again as former Salford man Theo Fages poked the ball into space before Lomax touched the ball down, Richardson successfully kicked the resulting goal.
Unfortunately for Ian Watson’s side, the hosts weren’t finished there as Thompson broke away after the full-time hooter before diving over, Richardson converted the extras to complete the rout.
The win now means the hosts sit top of the Betfred Super League table.
St Helens Lineup: Barba, Swift, Makinson, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Richardson, Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin
Interchanges: Fages, Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas
Salford Lineup: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Tomkins, Tasi, McCarthy, Jones, Flanagan
Interchanges: Kopczak, Burgess, Nakubuwai, Wood
St Helens Scorers: Tries- Makinson (25’), Barba (35’, 45’), McCarthy-Scarsbrook (69’), Lomax (72’), Thompson (80’)
Goals- Richardson (46’, 49’, 70’, 73′, 80’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- N/A
Goals– O’Brien (17’)
Man of the Match: Josh Wood
Referee: S.Mikalauskas 
Touch Judges: G.Jones, M.Craven
In Goal Judges: T.Owen, J.Butterfield
Attendance: 10,008
 
By Ryan Booth

Ian Watson | “We knew Josh was going to be a good player”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has been impressed with his squad over the past few weeks in particular young hooker Josh Wood who featured in the 36-12 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers.
Watson said: “We knew Josh was going to be a good player.
“The tricky thing for Josh was he’d had a couple of injuries years with his shoulder so it was about last year more nurturing him through and if then we got through to this year we could have a real good crack at it and he’s standing up really well at the moment.
Watson went on to praise Man of the Match Junior Sa’u, his forward pack and even Mark Flanagan who missed the game but was named in the 19-man squad.
Watson said: “Junior’s great he’s really on fire at the moment with his performances but everyone stepped up to be fair.
“Like I said our middles obviously you include your back-rowers in that Weller [Hauraki] and Jonesy [Josh Jones] as well.
“He’s [Mark Flanagan] fully fit we just decided to continue as we had with the big lads. He was ill for the Wigan game but that’s probably been somebody’s opportunity where they’ve come in and played really well and at the moment he’s just got to bide his time like everyone else.
“Flash is a professional he just knows that people are playing well at the moment but it’s tough to leave Flash out because he’s a great guy and a great player.
“Last year he was probably our go-to man in asking him to lead things so it is tough leaving him out of the team at the moment but he’s had no heirs or graces about it and he’s been really good in the changing rooms and training really well he’s been a good pro to be fair.
The Red Devils boss also went on to talk about the injured Kriss Brining and trialist Gene Orsmby who has been training with the Club.
Watson said: “It’s quite slow to be fair. He’s [Kriss Brining] going to see a specialist and he’s going to have to go back and see him again and see whether he needs to have surgery – he’s got a disc bulge.
“Gene’s [Ormsby] been training with us now and he’s been first class to be fair since he came in his attitude has been really good.
“We just wanted to have a little look at Gene because we are short in the outside backs.
“Gene had been released by Huddersfield and I’d known Gene from Warrington and obviously Gareth O’Brien and Tyrone [McCarthy] know him as well and there were a couple of players who gave him really big raps to be fair at Huddersfield about how he’s really knuckled down.
“We’ll see how the trial goes at first.”

Jack Littlejohn | “I love winning footy games”

Following Friday evening’s dominant victory over Hull Kingston Rovers, Australian half-back Jack Littlejohn was pleased with the result after settling in well at Salford.
Littlejohn, who is available for sponsorship, said: “I’m loving it here especially after a win, I love winning and I love winning footy games.
“I think we were scratchy in some parts of the game but I thought once we settled massive credit to our middles they worked hard and I reckon they deserve all the credit.
“That was a bit of our game plan. Our middles matched their middles and I thought we did a good job of that.
“There tries were from fluky little kicks too – I thought our defensive line was really strong.”
Littlejohn occupied the half-back position alongside Robert Lui while Gareth O’Brien was at full-back and the three linked up very well.
Littlejohn said: “We’re building a good combination – our talks definitely a lot clearer out there.
“Gareth O’Brien’s been really good for me out the back I feel like he’s talking to me a lot and us three are working in a real good combination at the moment.”

Three talking points | Salford Red Devils 36-12 Hull Kingston Rovers

A 36-12 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers on Friday evening opened Salford’s account for the 2018 Betfred Super League season and we take a look at three talking points from the game.
Multiple standout performers
It’s difficult to pick one standout performer for the Red Devils from Friday’s victory over Hull KR. Junior Sa’u was awarded the Man of the Match for his tough defensive efforts combined with a crucial try but there were over a handful of Salford players who shone.
Young hooker Josh Wood was once again impressive with his speed and decision making around the ruck and looks to be settling into a regular first team role with ease.  Gareth O’Brien was a constant threat coming into the attacking line from full-back while Niall Evalds crossed for a brace.
All the Red Devils forwards put on a good showing and completely dominated the KR pack.
Defensive effort 
A fortnight ago we hailed Salford’s defence against Wakefield and this weekend the defence was just as impressive again conceding just twice.
Hull KR were extremely impressive down the middle against Catalans Dragons in their last outing however the likes of Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop and Tyrone McCarthy were just too solid in defence for the Robins to break down.
Out wide the Red Devils were equally as tough to break down with Junior Sa’u and Kris Welham standing up strong every time the ball came their way.
Resilience
While the Red Devils sealed a comfortable victory over the Robins it may have been forgotten that Ian Watson’s men fell behind through a Thomas Minns try after just two minutes however this didn’t impact the final result.
Salford hit back almost immediately through Gareth O’Brien before then taking control of the game and never looking back.
This is a real indicator of the team’s resilience and determination to come away with the result after almost fighting back two weeks ago against Wakefield.

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 36-12 Hull Kingston Rovers

Salford Red Devils earned their first victory of the Super League season in style after a brilliant performance saw them triumph over Hull Kingston Rovers 36-12 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two tries from Niall Evalds alongside further scores from Gareth O’Brien, Junior Sa’u, Jake Bibby and Robert Lui ensured The Red Devils ran out deserved winners and secured their first points of the campaign.
Ian Watson’s side headed into the game full of confidence after an encouraging display at Wakefield Trinity but made the worst start possible when Thomas Minns crossed over inside the opening two minutes to give the visitors an early lead, Ryan Shaw successfully converted the extras.
Despite the early setback, Salford regrouped and claimed their first points of the evening five minutes later when O’Brien’s grubber kick ricocheted off an opponent before the full-back latched onto to his own kick before diving over to claim his first try of the season, O’Brien successfully kicked the resulting goal.
O’Brien was heavily involved in Salford’s next move, this time finding the lively Jack Littlejohn who produced some quick hands to play in Sa’u, who touched down to open his try-scoring account for the campaign.
Salford extended their lead to eight points minute later, the hosts opted to kick at goal after some sluggish play from The Robins resulted in a penalty, O’Brien subsequently converted.
Minutes later The Reds were over again, Lui delivered a looping pass to Welham and the former KR man delivered a sublime offload to give Bibby the simplest task of touching down, although on this occasion O’Brien missed the conversion. However, Salford went into the break with a comfortable lead.
And, Lui turned scorer after the break as he slid in under the posts following a scampering run and break from young hooker Josh Wood. O’Brien converted to open up a 20-point lead for the hosts. But, Hull KR immediately hit back as full-back Adam Quinlan latched onto a low kick, Shaw added the extras.
Evalds – making his 100th career appearance – would cross twice in the final fifteen minutes to wrap up a fantastic result for Watson’s men. A slick, flowing Salford move put Evalds over in the corner on the 65-minute mark which O’Brien again converted.
But, it was Evalds’ second which really stole the show. The winger forced his way over the line following Sa’u’s pass and despite being stood up by two Hull KR defenders still managed to plant the ball down to confirm a 36-12 victory.
Salford Lineup: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy  Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Kopczak
Hull KR Lineup: Quinlan, Shaw, Heffernan, Minns, Carney, Atkin, Blair, Jewitt, Lee, Masoe, Kavanagh, Greenwood, Mulhern  Interchanges: Lunt, Scruton, Tickle, Salter
Salford Scorers: O’Brien (7’), Sa’u (18’), Bibby (30’), Lui (41’), Evalds (65’, 70’)
Goals- O’Brien (8’, 18, 25’, 42’, 46’, 66’)
Hull KR Scorers: Tries- Minns (2’), Shaw (54’),           
Goals- Shaw (3’, 55)
Man of the Match: Junior Sa’u
Referee: James Child
Touch Judges: A Smith & D Bowmer
Attendance: 2948
By Ryan Booth

Murray Metals continue their sponsorship into 2018

Long-term sponsors and partners Murray Metals will continue their support of the Club throughout 2018 as player sponsors of Gareth O’Brien.
Murray Metals have been associated with the Club for well over a decade now through both Austin Trumann and Murray Metals.
Barry Gregory, Director of Murray Metals and lifelong Salford supporter, said: “We’ve been sponsors for fifteen years now consecutively.
“Austin Trumann’s which is part of the Murray Metals group in fact used to sponsor the stand at The Willows and we were the founding sponsor of the Platinum Club.
“We’ve had a good connection with the Club for all those years and obviously we’re regular attendees who bring clients to games.
Salford Red Devils CEO, Ian Blease, said: “We’re thrilled to have Murray Metals on board again for the 2018 season.
“They’ve been long-term sponsors and partners of the Club as have quite a few of our sponsors and we’re looking forward to working with them again this season.”
Gregory added: “Gareth O’Brien is a great player to have and is always good for brand awareness particularly with his Million Pound Game drop-goal a few years ago.
“We’re looking forward to watching Gaz in action this season and seeing our advertising on the LED boards.”
 
There are still sponsorship opportunities available with Salford Red Devils in 2018 with a handful of players being available as well as match sponsorship for our Betfred Super League games up for grabs.
There are also advertising opportunities available with us this season with programme ad space, perimeter boards and time on state of the art LED boards all available.
If you’re interested in any of the above please contact us on 0161 786 1590 or E-Mail Fiona.Woods@SalfordRedDevils.net.

Ian Watson | “We deserved more out of it”

Following a narrow 14-12 defeat against Wakefield Trinity, Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson thought his side were outstanding and deserved more from the game. 
Watson said: “I thought we were outstanding to be fair and consistent in areas which is what we’d spoke about.
“Against Wigan we were really good for like forty-five, fifty minutes and after that we kind of fell off it and we stopped doing things together as a team.
“We’d asked for consistency in our performance today and that’s what the boys worked on and to be fair I think they delivered and deserved more out of it to be fair.”
The result went down to the wire as Gareth O’Brien’s late conversion attempt went wide but Ian Watson concentrated on his sides performance rather than the result.
Watson said: “We’ve come to a team who’ve been talked up and spoke about being a top four team this year and kicking on from where they’ve been for the last three years.
“To come here and outscore them 3-2, we defended really well in large parts where our backs were against the wall on our goal-line defence in the first half.
“I just think the boys have stuck to the task and they’ve shown what we want to be about this season really which is competing against the top teams we just need to learn how to turn those into our results.”
Both sides turned the game into a real arm-wrestle at times and Watson was particularly impressed with his pack.
Watson said: “I thought our bench really lifted us.
“Lama [Tasi] and Moose [Lee Mossop] always gives us a solid start but I think our bench today really lifted us and lifted the intensity of the game.
“I’d say that’s probably the best game Koppy’s [Craig Kopczak] had for a long time.
“I thought Ben [Nakubuwai] showed what I kind of saw in Ben – great footwork at the line, getting his nose through and defensively very solid and worked really hard.
“He’s going to be a big player for us with a big future in the game as well.”