Tag: Jackson Hastings

Ian Watson | “Our forwards laid the platform”

Head Coach Ian Watson accepts his backs will get the plaudits after Salford’s 4-62 mauling of Halifax but feels they were allowed to play due to the hard work of his forwards.
Watson said: “Our middles did really well today and set us on a platform.
“Halifax controlled our first few early sets but once our forwards got on top it allowed the likes of Jackson [Hastings], Rob [Lui] and Niall [Evalds] to play and link up.
“The first twenty minutes we were a little bit scratchy and Halifax came at us but I think the boys adapted well and got back to the processes.
“The boys had spoken a lot in the week about the attitude and discipline. I thought we were outstanding.”
Watch Ian Watson’s full press conference below:

Three Talking Points | Halifax RLFC 4-62 Salford Red Devils

A rampant twelve-try performance from the Red Devils against Halifax saw Salford go clear at the top of the Qualifiers table and here are three talking points.
Defensive effort
It was another resilient performance with Salford conceding just one try at the MBi Shay Stadium. The Red Devils currently have the strongest defence in The Qualifiers conceding just twenty points so far; thirty less than any other side.
Halifax scored first through Sam Wood, but Ian Watson’s men toughed it out for over seventy minutes afterwards without breaking in defence. The hosts put pressure on Salford’s line on numerous occasions as Scott Murrell tried to unlock the defence.
However, the Salford forwards held Halifax up short on a few occasions while the outside backs covered any threats out wide from the Fax dangermen.
The Qualifiers could very well come down to points difference this season and with Salford’s stern defence being on show for the first three rounds this puts the Red Devils in good stead for the upcoming weeks.
Ruthlessness  
Despite the Red Devils controlling the game for the full eighty minutes and heading into half-time with the game almost won we saw a ruthlessness from Ian Watson’s men that we haven’t seen for some time.
The likes of Rob Lui, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick, Josh Wood and Niall Evalds caused Halifax problems in attack throughout. Once Hastings scored the first try, Salford’s momentum just built throughout with a number of Red Devils ending up on the scoresheet.
Derrell Olpherts was the main beneficiary of this ruthlessness with Red Devils realising they could cause issues down the left-hand side and Olpherts crossed for a hat-trick. Salford’s attack was in full force until the final minute when Junior Sa’u scored with the last play.


The Red Devils have racked up more points than any other side so far in The Qualifiers and will be looking to take that attacking form into next week’s game against Toronto.
Travelling support
It wasn’t just the players who turned up at the MBi Shay Stadium as the Red Devils travelled in numbers with almost 1000 Salford fans making the trip over the Pennines.
The support was the largest away following since last year’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final and the constant stream of noise pushed the lads on to victory.
Thanks to everyone who made the trip.


 

Match Report | Halifax RLFC 4-62 Salford Red Devils

Salford made it three wins from three in The Qualifiers to open up a two-point from four other teams with a convincing 4-62 victory over Halifax at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Derrell Olpherts crossed for his first hat-trick in Salford colours while Jackson Hastings and Junior Sa’u both notched braces. Ed Chamberlain, Ben Nakubuwai, Kris Welham, Lama Tasi and Josh Wood were all also on the scoresheet. Sam Wood scored Halifax’s only try.
But it was the hosts who were quickest out of the blocks and opened the scoring early on. Heaton streaked away down the flank before finding Sam Wood in support to give Halifax an early lead.
However, the Red Devils soon found their feet and it was Hastings who levelled the scores as he dummied and ghosted his way through the defensive line. Hastings was central to Salford’s second as his high kick was knocked down by Welham before the ball found Chamberlain out wide who put Ian Watson’s men ahead.


Fellow Australian half Rob Lui settled into the game and began causing the Halifax defence issues and it wasn’t long until Olpherts crossed in similar fashion to Chamberlain before him. This time it was Josh Jones who rose highest before Olpherts grabbed his first of the game.
Nakubuwai would soon force his way through the Halifax defence under the posts as Salford strengthened their grip on the game.
With five minutes of the first half remaining the Red Devils showed no signs of letting up crossing for two quickfire tries. Hastings scooped up a loose ball when it had looked like the chance had passed finding Niall Evalds who in turn looped the ball wide to Olpherts to score his second of the game.
On the half-time hooter, Chamberlain broke down the opposite wing before throwing the ball inside to an onrushing Welham giving Salford a comfortable lead going into the break.
Half-time didn’t affect Ian Watson’s who scored inside the opening few minutes of the second half with Olpherts claiming his hat-trick. However, the hard work was done by mercurial halfback Hastings who broke from deep before finding the former League One winger.
Tasi was the next Red Devil to break the Halifax defence powering his way over for his first try of the 2018 season. Hastings again provided a try-assist as Sa’u crashed over from close-range before gliding through a big gap in the Fax defence to score himself.


Hastings and fellow halfback Lui were both taken from the field with twenty minutes remaining with one eye on next week’s game against Toronto. Youngster Wood stepped into the halves and went through to score shortly after.
It was down to Sa’u to wrap up a rampant Salford display as he plucked Evalds’ pass out of the air before stepping inside to score in the final minute.
Halifax: Moss, Heaton, Wood, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Baldwinson, Tangata, Grady, Grix.
Interchanges: Maher, Moore, Cooper, Fairbank.
Salford: Evalds, Olpherts, Sa’u, Welham, Chamberlain; Lui, Hastings; Tasi, Wood, Murray, Jones, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Burke, Lussick.
Halifax Tries: Wood (9)
Salford Tries: Hastings (12, 65), Chamberlain (19), Olpherts (23, 36, 44), Nakubuwai (27), Welham (40), Tasi (49), Sa’u (54, 80), Wood (71). Salford Conversions: Chamberlain (20, 28, 37, 45, 50, 66, 73)
Man of the Match: Rob Lui.
Referee: Tom Grant.
Touch Judge: Chris Kendall.
Touch Judge: Andrew Sweet.
Attendance: 2555.

Preview | Halifax RLFC vs Salford Red Devils | Sunday 2nd September

Salford are heading into this weekend’s fixture against Halifax RLFC at the MBi Shay looking to make it three consecutive Qualifiers victories. 
Last Time Out
The Red Devils backed up a massive away victory over Hull Kingston Rovers with a dominant 32-6 win over Widnes Vikings at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Charly Runciman opened the scoring however this didn’t faze Salford who went into the break ahead thanks to a Junior Sa’u double. Ian Watson’s side controlled the game and tries from Rob Lui, Niall Evalds and Mark Flanagan capped off a terrific performance.

As for Halifax, they fell to a second defeat in The Qualifiers in France against Toulouse. Chris Centrone grabbed a brace in the second half before tries from Paul Marcon, Stan Robin and Anthony Marion gave the French side the victory. Dan Fleming scored a late consolation try for Fax.
Form
Salford come into this weekend’s game in their best form of the 2018 season on the back of three consecutive victories over each of the fellow Betfred Super League teams in The Qualifiers – Leeds Rhinos, Hull Kingston Rovers and Widnes Vikings.
There have been a number of factors in the Red Devils upturn in form with new acquisitions Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick being key alongside Rob Lui’s consistent quality and a returning Niall Evalds down the spine.


Halifax, as mentioned, are yet to win in The Qualifiers with defeats against both Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique but prior to the split they had lost just one of their final seven Betfred Championship fixtures.
Richard Marshall’s side suffered a narrow defeat against London Broncos but did overcome the likes of Swinton Lions, Batley Bulldogs, Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers, Toulouse Olympique and Rochdale Hornets in the lead-up to The Qualifiers.
Head-to-Head
This weekend will see two very different halfbacks go head-to-head as Salford maverick Jackson Hastings will face Halifax’s experienced campaigner Scott Murrell.
Hastings arrived at the AJ Bell Stadium last month and has been instrumental in the Red Devils upturn in form and renewed vigour in attack. He has managed to carve openings in Betfred Super League teams in recent weeks and will be looking to do the same this weekend.


Murrell is now in his fifth season with Halifax and has been an integral part of the Club consistently challenging for a top four spot in the Betfred Championship. His organisational skills and ability to read the game make him a constant threat.
Sunday’s game will come down to who makes the most openings for their side and will no doubt centre on some very important game management from either halfback.
Team News 
Luke Burgess returns to Ian Watson’s 19-man squad after a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. In fact, the prop-forward could make his first appearance since a defeat against Wigan Warriors in early May.
https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJCPV2FM4l/?taken-by=salfordreddevilsrlfc
Fellow forward Tyrone McCarthy also returns to the squad after missing out against Widnes a fortnight ago. Greg Burke and Kris Welham retain their places while Craig Kopczak and Lee Mossop are the forwards who miss out for Salford.
Halifax head into this weekend’s game with issues out wide. Centre Steve Tyrer suffered a season-ending injury a fortnight ago against Toulouse while fellow three-quarter Ed Barber remains sidelined with a knee injury. Harry Kidd is also out.
However, the hosts welcome the return of powerhouse forward Adam Tangata.
Full Squads:
Halifax: Jordan Baldwinson, Chester Butler, Liam Cooper, Jacob Fairbank, Dan Fleming, Shane Grady, Simon Grix, Ben Heaton, Ben Johnston, Sion Jones, Ben Kaye, Will Maher, Brandon Moore, Kieren Moss, Scott Murrell, Will Sharp, Adam Tangata, Sam Wood, James Woodburn-Hall.
Salford: Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Jake Bibby, Daniel Murray, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick.
Table Permutations
Salford head into Sunday’s fixture at the top of The Qualifiers table ahead of Leeds Rhinos on points difference. Leeds face host Hull Kingston Rovers on Saturday afternoon but Salford will remain top as long as they better the Rhinos results – should Leeds win.
Toronto Wolfpack, Toulouse Olympique, Hull Kingston Rovers and London Broncos all currently sit on two points, but would all need a significant points swing if they were to overtake the Red Devils this weekend.
Halifax are currently one of two winless sides – alongside Widnes Vikings – but a win over Salford could see them climb off the bottom of The Qualifiers table. The Vikings face Toulouse in France on Saturday.
Match Officials
Referee: Tom Grant.
Touch Judge: Chris Kendall.
Touch Judge: Andrew Sweet.
 
You can still purchase tickets for Sunday’s game at the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570 with Salford Red Devils retaining 25% of your purchase. Tickets will go off sale at the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office on Saturday 1st September at 4pm. Click HERE for ticket prices and Supporters’ Coach details.

Ian Watson | “It will centre on our attitude, professionalism and discipline”

This weekend’s opponents Halifax are yet to register a win in the Qualifiers however Head Coach Ian Watson knows the talent and danger they possess ahead of Sunday’s clash at the MBi Shay.
Watson said: “Thinking back to a couple of years ago, Halifax did really well in this competition and in Widnes and Leigh they beat a couple of teams they hadn’t expected to beat. I think that they will shock a couple of teams again this time, so it means we will have to be completely up to speed on Sunday.
“I really enjoyed playing there in my playing days because the pitch is immaculate and enables you to produce good rugby. We are going to go to enjoy playing there.
“The danger for us is that having lost those early couple of games Halifax will be keen to get some points. They have been used to winning all season, and we know that they have some good systems in place and some really good, experienced players in their team.
“We simply have to be aware of the threats they pose to us, but equally aware of the threats we can pose to them.
“I do watch quite a lot of Championship games so I am well aware of the players in there and know just what Halifax are going to throw at us, how they play, and how their systems work. I also know their coach Richard Marshall. They do like to express themselves but it will all centre upon our attitude, professionalism and discipline.”


Salford head into this weekend’s clash on the back of two Qualifiers victories against Hull Kingston Rovers and Widnes Vikings.
“The lads have shown good game management, which is taking account of the playing conditions, knowing when to kick, and when to run the ball.
“We have a really good balance within the spine of the team now, and this is showing itself to be the most consistent it has been all season, as they have grown to know one another and build relationships among themselves which is good for the whole team.
“Rob has had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders all season, not only for himself but also the team as a whole, but the acquisition of Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick has freed him up for him to show once again just what he is capable of doing.”
“It all goes to show that we have a good team, and now that these key players have been brought in, it is showing throughout them all. Our pack has been dominating other sides throughout the season, but at that time we just lacked the link to take the advantage, but we knew that sooner or later the right personnel would become available and we would then be able to turn it all around.”
Tickets are still available to purchase from the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570 up until 4pm on Saturday 1st September. Remember, the Club retain 25% of any advanced purchases from the AJ Bell Stadium. All ticket details can be found HERE.
There is still room on the second Supporters’ Coach available to book at the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570. The Club retain 100% of your booking fee. All Coach details can be seen HERE.

Jackson Hastings | “Rob Lui is the best halfback in the competition”

Jackson Hastings was again instrumental as the Red Devils overcame Widnes Vikings on Saturday afternoon however he pointed to his halfback partner Rob Lui as the ‘best in the competition’.
Hastings, sponsored by Advanced Steel, said: “He’s the best halfback in the competition for he – hands down.
“There are some great halfbacks in the competition but these last three games I haven’t seen anything like it.
“He went off with fifteen minutes to go and we sort of lost our way a little bit.
“I love playing with him, the raw talent that bloke has is unbelievable and he just turns up for training and pulls stuff off that I’ve never seen before.”


Salford have won three consecutive games – for the first time since May 2017 – since Hastings’ arrival last month but the Australian points to the set-up at the Club as a key factor in the upturn in form.
Hastings said: “It’s a credit to the Club and the way its run.
“The Club has received a lot of criticism this season in terms of results and the way its been run but it’s been nothing short of amazing since I arrived.
“Our coaching set-up is second to none. They’re all former internationals and world class players and their knowledge is just filtering down and slowly but surely, we’re developing a game plan that suits us.
“We’ve got such a good culture here at the moment and we’ve just got to keep the ball rolling and hopefully we’ll do something special.”
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.
Jackson Hastings’ full post-match interview can be seen below:

Three Talking Points | Widnes Vikings

Following yesterday’s stunning triumph over Widnes Vikings, we take a look at the three talk points in the aftermath of the game. 
Three in a row
Salford headed into the tie on the back of two convincing wins over Leeds Rhinos and Hull Kingston Rovers but despite being labelled as the favourites by most of the experts, Ian Watson’s men didn’t underestimate the visitors’ capabilities and produced a creditable display to emerge as comfortable 32-6 victors.
Last week, we touched on the impact Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick have had on the side and whilst neither of the duo managed to get on the scoresheet this time around, they were instrumental in Salford’s success, though the latter was sin-binned in the 37th minute.
Hastings in particular, was heavily involved throughout. The 22-year-old featured in the build-up for the first of Junior Sa’u’s double, before putting the second on a plate for him just four minutes later. Hastings also helped carve the opening for Mark Flanagan’s try – via some assistance from Lussick – in what proved to be the finest try of the afternoon.


The Vikings did initially take the lead through Charly Runciman but the host hit back in style to earn their third successive victory – two of which have arrived in the dreaded Qualifiers. The win moves Salford into pole position in the Qualifiers table, though there are other games still to be played over the course of the weekend. Having said that, Salford are undoubtedly the in-form team and will take some stopping as the side edges nearer to securing its Super League status.
Lui stars once again
Hastings’ arrival has well and truly freed half-back Robert Lui in recent weeks and 28-year-old Lui produced yet another impressive performance during yesterday’s win.


Lui – who notched his third try in as many matches – was the second strongest contender for the Man of the Match award behind Hastings. He picked up a neat assist to send Sa’u crashing over when the Reds were trailing in the opening period, before kick-starting the move for the centre’s second.
If that wasn’t enough, the playmaker turned from provider to scorer. Just five minutes had passed in the second period when Lui darted over from dummy half. The half-back faked to play the ball out to the left before forcing himself over from close-range.
This score seemed to spur Lui on further as he claimed another well-worked assist twenty minutes from time. After picking up Hastings’ short ball, Salford’s ‘star man’ Lui then jinked his way through several Widnes defenders before feeding the onrushing Evalds.
Evalds prolific in attack
Alongside the arrivals of both Hastings and Lussick, Niall Evalds’ return to the side has been on a similar scale to a new signing. The 24-year-old suffered an unfortunate leg break during Salford’s defeat at the hands of Huddersfield back in May.
Initially, it was suggested Evalds wouldn’t feature again this season, but the full-back has made a triumphant return to the squad and is arguably better than ever.
After making his long-awaited comeback during the recent trip to Catalans, Evalds has racked up four tries in as many appearances.
With his sheer pace and game intelligence, the Salford academy graduate is a renowned creative threat and has added another dimension to the Red Devils’ lineup.
His defensive capability is undoubted, but it was in attack where he truly excelled yesterday and linked up well with the starring Lui to finish off a slick move.


 

Match Report | Salford Red Devils 32-6 Widnes Vikings

Junior Sa’u’s first-half brace paved the way for Salford Red Devils to earn their third-successive victory, after the Red Devils came from behind to pummel Widnes Vikings 32-6 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Alongside the centre’s double, scores from Robert Lui, Niall Evalds and Mark Flanagan helped secure a comfortable triumph for Ian Watson’s side.
The Red Devils headed into the contest on the back of an emphatic victory at Hull Kingston Rovers eight days prior, but they made a sluggish start this time around.
A mere three minutes had passed by the time Liam Finn forged the first opening, the veteran half-back’s looping kick caused an array of confusion within the Red Devils line and Charly Runciman scooped up the loose ball, before beating Evalds in a footrace to touch down.
Krisnan Inu added the extras to give the visitors a six-point lead but the Red Devils fought back swiftly.
In recent weeks Salford have enjoyed the luxury of having one of the most expansive half-back pairings around in Jackson Hastings and Lui. The pair were integral in carving Salford’s first score of the afternoon, as some slick hands from the latter sent Sa’u crashing over in the left-hand corner.
Ed Chamberlain nailed the resulting touchline goal, but Salford were in again just four minutes later.
Half-back pairing Hastings and Lui were involved once more, but on this occasion, it was the former who produced the crucial pass to allow Sa’u to cross over in an almost identical fashion.
Sa’u’s double seemed to galvanise Ian Watson’s men, Craig Kopczak – who returned to the side following a short layoff – latched onto a short pass from Hastings before surging towards the line, but the forward was held up in-goal after some heroic defending from Olly Ashall-Bott and Patrick Ah Van.
In a dramatic turn of events, home debutant Joey Lussick was sin-binned by referee Ben Thaler three minutes before the half-time whistle, after the hooker allegedly produced a ‘crusher tackle’.
Despite being a man down, Salford flew out of the blocks after the break. After a sustained spell of pressure saw the Red Devils hound Widnes towards their own line, Lui dummied from the play-the-ball and burrowed his way over to extend the margin.
Soon after, Salford were on the front foot once more. Evalds made an excellent break after Josh Jones intercepted Inu’s wayward pass, but Lloyd White made a remarkable recovery to halt the attack.
However, it was from the kicking tee where the hosts would extend their lead. Aaron Heremaia failed to clear the ruck, consequently allowing Chamberlain to confidently stroke the ball over the posts for his fourth goal of the afternoon.
Hastings’ arrival at the club has sparked a resurgence from fellow half-back Lui. The fifth-eighth has been in inspiring form in recent weeks and he capped off another fine display with 19 minutes left on the clock.
After jinking his way past several Widnes defenders, the 28-year-old produced a stunning offload to assist the onrushing Evalds, before Chamberlain added the extras to increase the lead further.
Salford weren’t finished there though. Watson’s men claimed another stunning try deep into the half, a piece of fantastic link-up play from Man of the Match Hastings and Lussick resulted in the supporting Mark Flanagan sliding over the whitewash, before Chamberlain landed the goal to wrap up a comfortable victory.
Salford Lineup: Evalds; Chamberlain, Welham, Sa’u, Olpherts; Lui, Hastings; Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Lannon, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Kopczak, Burke, Lussick, Nakubuwai.
Widnes Lineup: Ashall-Bott, Ah Van, Inu, Whitley, Runciman, Mellor, Finn, Hansen, Heremaia, Dudson, Dean, Houston, Hauraki.
Interchanges: Leuluai, Gerrard, Olbison, White.
Salford Scorers: Tries- Sa’u (17, 21’), Lui (45’), Evalds (61’), Flanagan (72’) | Goals- Chamberlain (18’, 22’, 46’, 53’, 62’, 73’
Widnes Scorers: Tries- Runciman (3’) | Goals- Inu (4’)
Salford Sin-Bin: Lussick (37’)
Half-Time Score: 12-6
Man of the Match: Jackson Hastings.
Referee: Ben Thaler.
Touch Judges: Liam Moore & Richard Thompson.
Video Referee: Robert Hicks.

Preview | Salford Red Devils vs Widnes Vikings | Saturday 18th August 2018

After earning their first Qualifiers victory at Hull Kingston Rovers last weekend, Salford head into this week’s showdown with Widnes knowing that another win will dramatically enhance the club’s bid to retain its top flight status. 
Last Time Out
Following a memorable triumph over the Leeds Rhinos two weeks prior, Salford produced another impressive display to annihilate Hull Kingston Rovers 10-28 on their own turf.
Debutant Joey Lussick starred in his maiden outing for the Red Devils and claimed a well deserved try in the second period. The hooker’s score combined with further efforts from Niall Evalds, Robert Lui and Josh Wood ensured Ian Watson’s side got off to a flyer in the seven-game competition and earned two crucial points.

As for the visitors, Widnes have endured a miserable campaign. Francis Cummins were unable to boost their relegation fight from their opening Qualifiers tie as Betfred Championship side London Broncos came from behind to pick up a shock 20-21 victory at the Select Security Stadium.
Jarrod Sammut’s late drop-goal condemned the Vikings to their 17th successive defeat and ensured Interim Head Coach Cummins is still searching for his first win in charge, despite arriving at the club two months ago.
Form
The two sides couldn’t have more contrasting fortunes if we’d have tried. The arrivals of Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick have helped the Red Devils on their way to picking up two emphatic wins in as many games. The pair both scored on their respective debuts and have proved to spearhead Salford’s new look attacking spine alongside Robert Lui and Niall Evalds.


Widnes meanwhile, are in a poor run of form. Cummins’ men are without a win since beating Salford 24-16 back in March. The Vikings have racked up just six points throughout the current Betfred Super League campaign – an abysmal feat for the seven time Challenge Cup winners.
The club had hoped that the recent acquisitions of Wakefield Trinity – and Ireland international half-back – Liam Finn, NRL prop forward Charlie Gubb and former Salford captain Harrison Hansen would help transform the club’s fortunes. But if last week’s defeat to the Broncos is anything to go by, the club’s fan-base is in for an inconsolable end to the season.
Head-to-Head
This week’s head-to-head sees us compare influential back-rowers Niall Evalds and Olly Ashall-Bott against each other and evaluate their roles within their respective sides.
Despite suffering a broken leg during Salford’s home defeat to Huddersfield back in May, full-back Evalds has made a miraculous recovery to become a prominent figure during the club’s Qualifiers run-in. Evalds made his long awaited return as Salford made the long journey to Perpignan to take on the Catalans Dragons last month and hasn’t looked back since.
The 24-year-old has shone since the arrivals of both Hastings and Lussick and his impact has been hailed as ‘like having a new signing’. Evalds scored a brace as the Red Devils pummelled Leeds Rhinos at the AJ Bell Stadium two weeks ago, before notching a further effort at Hull KR last weekend.


Ashall-Bott likewise, has impressed heavily in recent weeks. The 20-year-old has made just six appearances this term but has shone during his breakthrough season with Cummins’ first-team.
The full-back come winger has been labelled as the most promising Academy Graduate to emerge out of the Select Security Stadium in recent years and has also spent time on-loan at North Wales Crusaders where the youngster effectively learnt his trade.
Ashall-Bott featured during Widnes’ loss to London and was arguably the side’s finest performer after notching his maiden try for the club.
This battle could well determine which side emerges victorious from the contest, both players are key figures and could heavily influence the outcome with their sheer pace and creative ability.
Team News
Forward Greg Burke – who joined the club on a two-year permanent deal from the Vikings this week – returns to face off with his former club following a short injury layoff. Australian duo Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick both retain their place in the squad after impressing during the visit to KCOM Craven Park.


Forward Tyrone McCarthy is the only absentee in the Salford squad from last Friday’s win over the Robins. The experienced forward picked up a slight knock.
Widnes will be without new signing Charlie Gubb after the forward sustained a nasty injury during his debut last Thursday versus the Broncos. Olly Ashall-Bott retains his place after a stunning individual display, as do recent arrivals Liam Finn and Harrison Hansen. Veteran forward Chris Houston is also included in the squad and will captain the side.
Squads
Salford Red Devils: Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds, Rob Lui, Craig Kopczak, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Ben Nakubuwai, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Daniel Murray, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick.
Widnes Vikings: Patrick Ah Van, Olly Ashall-Bott, Jay Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Chris Dean, Gil Dudson, Liam Finn, Alex Gerrard, Harrison Hansen,Weller Hauraki, Aaron Heremaia, Chris Houston, Krisnan Inu, MacGraff Leuluai, Joe Mellor, Tom Olbison, Charly Runciman, Lloyd White, Matt Whitley
Table Permutations 
Prior to the launch of the Qualifiers, all points tallies were reset for the competition which has given every side a chance to essentially start the season again.
After triumphing at Hull KR last time out, Salford currently occupy 2nd position in the Qualifiers table. A Salford Red Devils victory could potentially see the Red Devils lead the standings come Saturday evening.
Widnes are 5th in the table, but are essentially joint bottom. If the Vikings were to suffer a second successive defeat at the hands of Salford on Saturday, then pressure will soon begin to mount on Cummins’ men.
Match Officials
Referee: Ben Thaler
Touch Judge: Liam Moore
Touch Judge: Richard Thompson
Video Referee: Robert Hicks

Three Talking Points | Hull Kingston Rovers 10-28 Salford Red Devils

Following last night’s enthralling victory over Hull Kingston Rovers, we take a look at the three talking points in the aftermath of the game. 
Off to a flyer
Despite pummelling Leeds Rhinos 38-22 last time out, nobody underestimated the task ahead as the Red Devils made the long journey to Humberside.
Whilst many wrote Salford off prior to kick-off, Ian Watson’s men silenced their critics with a memorable performance at KCOM Craven Park.
It was crucial that Salford started their Qualifiers campaign with a bang and they certainly did so. The Red Devils dominated the tie throughout and scores from Niall Evalds, Robert Lui, debutant Joey Lussick and Josh Wood helped clinch a deserved 10-28 victory and spark euphoric scenes in both the stand and away dressing room.


Salford undoubtedly commenced their Qualifiers campaign in the best manner possible and now head into next week’s showdown with Widnes in full confidence after securing successive victories. The Vikings meanwhile will be looking to end their 17-game winless run after dramatically losing 20-21 at home to the London Broncos on Thursday evening.
Lussick stars on debut
Australian hooker Joey Lussick – who joined the club as a free agent two weeks ago following his release from Manly Sea Eagles – made his long awaited debut in Salford colours and the 22-year-old failed to disappoint.
Not only did the former Australian RU Schoolboy cross for a well-worked maiden try, but he performed impeccably throughout. The hooker linked up well with former Manly teammate Jackson Hastings and full-back Niall Evalds in attack, whilst also adding another dimension to plays with his devastating kicking game – a rare sight for a hooker.


If last night’s showing is anything to go by, Lussick could prove to be one of the club’s most impressive acquisitions in recent times.
New spine in fine form once again 
We’ve previously touched on the influence of recent arrival Jackson Hastings linking up with Robert Lui and Niall Evalds during his dazzling debut versus Leeds, but Lussick’s introduction at KCOM Craven Park yesterday really signalled that the final piece of the jigsaw had well and truly been unearthed.
Salford demonstrated an expansive style of Rugby throughout and executed a series of quick combinations between the foursome. This newly found attacking flair has ran parallel to the arrivals of Hastings and Lussick and has seriously enhanced the Red Devils’ spine.
Hastings in particular has extracted heaps of pressure from the shoulders of Lui and has allowed the fifth-eighth to play his natural game. 28-year-old Lui was voted Man of the Match following the triumph over Leeds and excelled once again versus the Robins. Salford’s ‘star man’ provided a moment of brilliance in the 55th minute after latching onto a wayward pass from Chris Atking, before racing ninety-metres to cross for a stunning individual try.


Alongside Lui, Hastings and Lussick have also aided full-back Evalds’ game. 24-year-old Evalds suffered a broken leg in May, but after returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Salford’s marquee signings have linked up remarkably well with the former Salford academy graduate. Hastings produced an exquisite dummy to send Evalds over for the first of two tries versus the Rhinos a fortnight ago and Evalds continued his good run of form at Hull KR.
After Mark Flanagan picked up a short ball from Josh Wood, the experienced forward pierced his way through the Rovers backline before releasing the onrushing Evalds who slid over the whitewash to grab his third try in two games.