All photographs provided by Club Photographer Steve McCormick.
Salford Red Devils opened their pre-season campaign with a victory after overhauling local rivals Swinton Lions 50-12 in a competitive friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Two tries from Derrell Olpherts alongside scores from Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Gareth O’Brien, Tyrone McCarthy, Niall Evalds and Rob Lui ensured The Red Devils kicked off 2018 with a merciless display.
After a slow start to the contest, Greg Johnson opened the scoring after ten minutes after some quick hands from Jack Littlejohn and Kris Welham allowed the winger to touch down to claim Salford’s first try of 2018. Occupying a new role in the halves, Gareth O’Brien made no mistake in adding the extras to give Salford a 6-0 lead.
The opening seemed to have instilled a sense of momentum in the Salford camp as The Red Devils swiftly extended their lead through Tyrone McCarthy just seven minutes later. A quick pass from Lama Tasi enabled the Irish international to open his account for the year. Gareth O’Brien kicked the conversion to extend the hosts lead.
Just four minutes later Kris Welham capitalised on a gap in the Swinton defence to claim a fine individual effort. Although, on this occasion O’Brien was unable to kick the conversion, slicing the ball wide.
It was a tough opening period for the visitors, The Lions struggled to gain any distance in their attack due to the resilient Salford defence. Josh Wood skipped from hooker and broke down field before finding the onrushing Niall Evalds whose momentum carried him over the try line soon after.
The visitors did get onto the scoreboard as Hayden Hansen scored his first try for the club. Chris Hankinson confidently added the conversion in what was the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford made the perfect start to the second period when just three minutes into the half O’Brien threw a neat dummy to deceive the entire Swinton back-line before racing 30m to cross over. He then kicked the resulting goal.
The hosts were ruthless throughout and extended their lead shortly afterwards as debutant Derrell Olpherts scored his first try for the club after linking up well with Evalds. Despite the spirited efforts of a committed Swinton defence the lively Olpherts claimed his second try of the game after O’Brien picked the centre out with a looping pass.
Swinton were finally rewarded for their efforts when Chris Hankinson broke clear with eight minutes remaining to add a second try to the Lions account. With a number of minor injuries reducing their squad size, Stuart Littler’s side gave a good account of themselves although Salford proved too much to handle as Rob Lui scored two minutes from time.
However, Salford were not finished there. This time Gavin Bennion broke through a deflated Lions line to score his maiden try for The Red Devils. O’Brien kicked his seventh goal of the contest the complete the scoring.
The squad’s focus now switches to next Saturday’s pre-season friendly at nearby Warrington and after the dominant display versus Swinton, Ian Watson will be confident his side can build some momentum at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, O’Brien, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy Interchanges: Lui, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Nakubuwai, Vatuvei, Olpherts, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion
Swinton Lineup: Fell, Webb, Hankinson, Tyson, Butt, J Hansen, Bracek, Waterworth, Austin, Lloyd, Sarsfield, Worrall Interchanges: H Hansen, Taylor, Caine, Hall, Djaout
Salford Scorers: Tries – Johnson (10), McCarthy (17), Welham (21), Evalds (25), O’Brien (43), Olpherts (49, 65) Lui (78), Bennion (79)
Goals- O’Brien (7)
Swinton Scorers: Tries- H Hansen (34), Hankinson (72)
Goals- Hankinson (2)
Man of the Match: Jack Littlejohn
Referee: M Griffiths
Touch Judges: A Smith, S Houghton
By Ryan Booth.
Salford Red Devils can confirm Kris Welham has added another year onto his current contract which will now see him stay at the Club until the end of the 2019 season.
Welham joined Salford prior to the 2017 season on a two-year deal from Bradford Bulls and made 29 appearances last season for the Red Devils scoring on 12 occasions.
Welham said: “I’m delighted to add another year onto my current contract here at Salford.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my first season here as we managed to finish in the top four after the regular Super League season as well as reach the semi-final of the Challenge Cup.
“The aim for us as a group is to carry on building this season and continue to make Salford a force on the field which I’m definitely looking forward to being a part of.”
Salford Red Devils CEO, Ian Blease, said: “For me Kris was one of our standout performers last season and was always there to take the hard balls in from our own half as well as finishing them at the other end of the field.
“He slotted in well after arriving from Bradford and became a regular starter for the side and we know how difficult high-performing centres are to come by.
“Kris is ambitious and hungry to help Salford continue in a positive direction and we’ve rewarded him with a contract extension due to his performances last season.”
Remember to see Kris Welham in action in 2018 you can purchase your Season Ticket at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online here. A list of all our ticket prices and their respective Direct Debit payment schemes can be found here with the Direct Debit option being available from the Ticket Office or over the phone.
Ian Watson has made just one change to his 19-man squad for this weekend’s visit of St Helens in the Red Devils final game of the 2017 season.
George Griffin drops from the squad after picking up a knock in last Friday’s defeat to Leeds Rhinos. Josh Wood comes into the 19-man squad for Thursday night’s game.
Wood was included in the match day squad last weekend after Kris Welham had to pull out with a toe injury however the centre returns this weekend.
Michael Dobson, Olsi Krasniqi and Todd Carney, who are all set to depart the club at the end of the season, aren’t included in the 19-man squad.
Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Mark Flanagan and Greg Johnson all remained sidelined.
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the season against St Helens and can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Fans can also watch our end of season awards for an extra £5 in the 1873 suite post-game. Season Tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.
The Red Devils travel to Leeds for their penultimate Super 8s game of the season knowing that anything but a win will see them lose their hopes of a top four finish.
Ian Watson’s side managed to end their losing run last weekend with an emphatic 52-14 victory over Huddersfield Giants at the AJ Bell Stadium. Salford ran in nine tries – thanks to scores from Kris Welham, Manu Vatuvei, Niall Evalds, Josh Jones, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jake Bibby and Tyrone McCarthy – earning their biggest victory since they hosted Catalans in May.
Leeds head into the game already guaranteed to finish 2nd in the Super League Super 8s and with a home semi-final on the cards. The Rhinos have won three of their five Super 8s outings but do come into the fixture on the back of a 24-38 defeat against Castleford last weekend. However, Brian McDermott’s men have managed to overcome Wigan, Saints and Hull FC already in the Super 8s.
This week’s key battle features former Red Devil Joel Moon and current Red Devil Kris Welham in the centres. Both Moon and Welham have scored in this fixture already this season.
Welham returned to the Red Devils first team last weekend and crossed for two tries in a destructive display against Huddersfield. The 31-year-old has tonnes of experience in the Super League and looks dangerous whenever he gets the ball near the opposition’s line as well as helping earn the hard yards in the Red Devils half as well.
Moon signed for the Rhinos from Salford back in 2013 after making a great impression at the AJ Bell Stadium for the Red Devils. The Australian has continued to excel at Headingley and has even played in the halves at times for the Rhinos this season. However, expect him to be in the centres tonight and to be causing Watson’s side issues down the flank.
Meetings this season
Leeds were one of only two sides to do the double over the Red Devils in the regular season this year. The Rhinos earned a narrow, and rather fortuitous, victory over Salford in the third week of the season edging out Watson’s men 20-14. Logan Tomkins and Welham scored for the visitors but a late Leeds try from Liam Sutcliffe meant the Red Devils fell to defeat.
The sides met again in early July in a game which saw some fantastic attacking rugby league with Leeds winning 24-50 at the AJ Bell Stadium. Michael Dobson, Josh Wood and a Murdoch-Masila double weren’t good enough for the Red Devils with McDermott’s men running in nine tries – Tom Briscoe notched a brace alongside scores from Ryan Hall, Kallum Watkins, Matt Parcell, Joel Moon, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Anthony Mullally and Jack Walker.
Salford’s record against the Rhinos since the incarnation of Super League doesn’t make for pretty reading with just two wins in 40 Super League fixtures. However, the Red Devils did overcome Leeds last season with a 14-10 victory at home. But, the Red Devils haven’t been as fortunate at Headingley with just one win at Leeds in over twenty years.
The victory was a 20-30 triumph back in 2009 with youngsters such as Richie Myler, Stefan Ratchford and Jordan Turner all featuring for the Red Devils. The win was made even more impressive due to the fact Salford had just been promoted and the Rhinos would go on to win both the League Leaders’ Shield and the Super League that season.
Last weekend Kris Welham crossed twice as the Red Devils cruised past Huddersfield with a 52-14 victory at the AJ Bell Stadium. Welham’s first marked his 100th Super League try before he then notched his 1o1st just 25 minutes later. The centre has scored 90 Super League tries for his former side Hull KR and has now grabbed 11 tries in the league for the Red Devils this season.
George Griffin, who is included in this weekend’s 19-man squad after being injured last weekend, could also be set to make his 100th Super League appearance. Griffin has appeared in Super League 18 times for Hull KR, 19 times for London Broncos, 5 times for Wakefield and has now featured 57 times since arriving at the AJ Bell Stadium back in 2015.
While the Red Devils are yet to beat Leeds this season they did come close in February losing out 14-20. Logan Tomkins grabbed his only try of the season in the defeat at Headingley earlier in the season. Tomkins also crossed the last time the Red Devils beat Leeds back in 2016 while Josh Wood, who started at hooker the last time the sides met, also scored from acting half-back.
Ben Murdoch-Masila didn’t feature in the trop to Headingley at the start of the 2017 season however he managed to power his way over twice when Salford welcomed Leeds to the AJ Bell Stadium in July. Murdoch-Masila is currently level with full-back Niall Evalds as the Red Devils top Super League try-scorer.
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the 2017 season against St Helens on Thursday 21st September. Tickets can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Supporters are reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games but are encouraged to look at our fantastic hospitality offer for them for our final home game.
The Red Devils returned to winning ways with a dominant nine-try display against Huddersfield at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Kris Welham and Manu Vatuvei both crossed for braces while Tyrone McCarthy, Niall Evalds, Jake Bibby, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Josh Jones also got themselves on the scoresheet.
Ian Watson’s men got off to the perfect start as Welham latched onto a neat kick from Robert Lui to open the try-scoring on a fruitful afternoon for the Red Devils. Gareth O’Brien had kicked a penalty goal in the opening minutes to get the scoreboard ticking.
After scoring his first Super League try for Salford last weekend McCarthy made it two in two games at the AJ Bell Stadium forcing his way over from close-range. Fellow mid-season signing Vatuvei powered his way over shortly after scoring his first out wide.
Murdoch-Masila was a constant thorn in the Giants side and his quick hands put centre Welham over the line for his second. Salford made it two tries in as many minutes as Evalds was the beneficiary of some smart link-up play between Lui and Murdoch-Masila.
Jermaine McGillvary scored in the final minute of the first half however the Red Devils went into the break with a 26-point lead.
However, any chance of a Giants fightback was stopped in the opening minute of the second half as Vatuvei managed to score following Junior Sa’u’s pass. Jake Bibby, who was a late replacement for Greg Johnson, scored with an acrobatic finish in the corner shortly after.
Oliver Roberts managed to spin his way over but it didn’t slow down the Red Devils dominance as O’Brien added another penalty goal before Murdoch-Masila took three defenders over the line with him.
With five minutes remaining Jones rounded off the Salford scoring as he burrowed over after several offloads. Ryan Hinchcliffe scored late on for the Giants but it was a comfortable victory for the Red Devils.
Red Devils: Evalds, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Vatuvei; Lui, O’Brien; Kopczak, Tomkins, Hauraki, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, McCarthy. Interchanges: A.Walne, Brining, Lannon, J. Walne.
Giants: Rankin, McGillvary, Mellor, Turner, Ormsby; Gaskell, Brough; Ikahihifo, Leeming, Ta’ai, Roberts, Ferguson, Hinchcliffe. Interchanges: O’Brien, Rapira, Lawrence, Clough.
Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad ahead of Friday night’s crucial Super 8s clash with Wakefield Trinity.
Kris Welham returns to the side after missing the Red Devils last two Super 8s outings. Fellow centre Junior Sa’u remains in the squad and will be looking for his first start since the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Full-back Niall Evalds is left out of the squad while forward Ben Murdoch-Masila and half-back Michael Dobson are both also absent.
Lee Mossop, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi and Connor Williams are all out for the remainder of the 2017 season.
Tickets are still available for Friday’s game against Wakefield with fans able to purchase over the phone, at the club ticket office or online via the club website. Supporters are reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.
Despite having a rare weekend off the Red Devils player’s competitive nature hasn’t been pushed aside as the first team went racing at Daytona Manchester.
The unlikely duo of Kris Welham and Weller Hauraki came in first place while Jordan Walne and Jack Ratcliffe were in 2nd with the coaching team of Martin Gleeson and Ian Watson earning a bronze medal.
Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson said: “It’s always good to do stuff like this it’s keeps a good energy in the camp and gives the players a bit of time to relax.
“This week off is going to be good for us, we need to find a balance between training and freshening people up mentally and physically as well.
“Other teams have had weeks off to freshen up and to be honest some of our guys are probably mentally beat at the moment.
“Hopefully it’ll give us time to get a couple of players back too and get some experience back in the side.”
Red Devils CEO Ian Blease added: “In the difficult spells, it’s important that you keep a strong bond between the lads and keep morale high in the camp which everyone here at Salford is fully aware of.
“The on-the-field stuff can become all-encompassing at times and sometimes you just need to take a step back and have a bit of time to relax, recover and recharge the batteries.
“That’s what the lads have done this week, they’ve had a bit of a break and we’ve had them out at things such as the Daytona racing to keep spirits high and to ease the pressure on them.
“We’ve got four massive games coming up so we want the lads to be in the perfect physical and mental state to give it all they’ve got and we feel that allowing a bit of down time was the ideal way to do so.”
Tickets are on sale for all Red Devils Super 8s home games as we look to fill The Shed against Wakefield. Fans can buy their tickets over the phone, at the club ticket office or online by clicking here. Supporters are reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.
Ahead of Friday’s Super 8s trip to Challenge Cup finalists Wigan Warriors we look at the Red Devils previous visit to the DW Stadium this season.
Ian Watson’s side headed into the game having lost just one of their last eight games in all competitions but knowing they hadn’t picked up a win in Wigan since a 21-14 victory over the Warriors back in 1997.
Wigan came into the fixture on the back of three wins from their last four games however their most recent was a 54-4 hammering at the hands of early runaway league leaders Castleford.
The Red Devils managed to put an end to their retched 20-year winless run in Wigan by sealing a 16-31 win, which was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests. Watson’s men warded off a late fightback from the Warriors to continue to climb the Super League table.
Kris Welham broke in the opening stages to get the Red Devils off to the perfect start. Niall Evalds crossed for his first of the evening as his decision to run the ball on the last tackle proved dividend and Ben Murdoch-Masila continued his trend of powering over from close-range moments later to send the visitors into the break with a 16-point lead.
Salford began the second half in identical fashion to the way they ended the first – in control. Full-back Evalds grabbed his second of the game as the full-back latched onto a low Michael Dobson kick before Greg Johnson rounded off a flowing Red Devils move.
However, Wigan wouldn’t lie down and back-to-back tries in quick succession courtesy of Liam Marshall and Ryan Sutton gave the hosts hope. Lewis Tierney found his way over shortly after to cut the arrears to just 12 points.
But, a late drop-goal and penalty goal from Gareth O’Brien confirmed a memorable victory for the Red Devils.
Salford team that day: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Jones, Bibby; Dobson, Lui; A. Walne, Tomkins, Tasi, Murdoch-Masila, Lannon, Krasniqi. Interchanges: Kopczak, Murray, Brining, O’Brien.