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:
Salford’s Niall Evalds will face his hometown side this weekend and the England Knights fullback has pointed to one man who the Red Devils need to keep quiet.
Evalds, sponsored by The Dog and Partridge, said: “Scott Murrell is their main go-to man. He controls everything for Halifax and we need to keep tabs on him for sure.
“His kicking will slow the game down, he’s always trying to find touch and kill momentum and it’s going to be an arm-wrestle.
“Hopefully, we’ll start stong because we know if we go into the game with the wrong attitude or the failure to start quickly that they can turn us over.
“The fans will get behind them and they’re a tough side to beat at home. We’ve got to remain composed and not try to score on every play, sometimes you’ve got to grind games out and I think that’s something we’ve done well so far in The Qualifiers.
“Our completion rate has got to be high and we’ve got to force some repeat sets if we’re not scoring.
“We’ve worked hard in training all week and we’ll go there confident we can claim another win.”
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Ahead of this weekend’s huge Qualifiers clash against Halifax – for which Salford will be taking a large away following – we take a look at some interesting facts behind the fixture. Previous Meetings
While Salford Red Devils did win the last meeting between the sides back in 2015 thanks to a 50-28 victory in the Qualifiers – which you can read more about here– they haven’t enjoyed much luck against Halifax over the years. https://www.instagram.com/p/BnJjT63F-ri/?taken-by=salfordreddevilsrlfc
Prior to this, the Red Devils hadn’t met Halifax since 2002 in a season where they lost twice against the West Yorkshire side but did earn a 15-12 win at the MBi Shay in April of that season.
The 2001 season also favoured Halifax. Two high-scoring affairs at The Willows saw Halifax win 34-50 and 30-41 in addition to a 30-18 win earlier in the season. In fact, you have to go back to 2000 to find the last time Salford won consecutive games against Fax with the first of those coming thanks to a Martin Offiah drop-goal on 23rd July.
Salford won the first two meetings following the move to the Summer era but would then lose six consecutive matches against Halifax between 1998 and 2000. Home vs Away
In the build-up to this weekend’s game, Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson pointed to Halifax’s terrific home form throughout the 2018 season as an indicator of how tough Sunday’s match will be.
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???? Head Coach Ian Watson was full of praise for his counterpart at @Halifax_RLFC – Richard Marshall – who he feels has developed a strong side during his tenure.
Halifax have won 11 home games in the Betfred Championship this season including victories over full-time opposition like Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions. A 22-22 draw with Dewsbury Rams and two losses to Toronto Wolfpack – with the most recent coming in Round One of The Qualifiers – are the only blips on this record.
On the other hand, Salford’s away form this season has been a contrast to that of Fax’s home form. The regular Betfred Super League season saw the Red Devils notch just one away victory over Huddersfield Giants in April, but they did win their last match on the road against Hull Kingston Rovers in Round One of The Qualifiers.
The form book – in terms of home vs away – will need to be thrown out the window if the Red Devils are going to make it three from three in this season’s Qualifiers. Played for Both
Salford prop-forward Daniel Murray has actually featured for both clubs this season following a short loan spell with Halifax at the start of the year. Murray made five appearances for Halifax in 2018 powering his way over for two tries in this time.
72': HALIFAX TRY! And that, should be the game. Daniel Murray crashes over following the initial powerful run by Maher, and the Fax fans are delighted. 22-10.
Last year the two clubs worked a dual-registration agreement which saw a number of Salford players take to the field for Halifax. Murray, Ryan Lannon, Josh Wood and Jake Bibby all featured for Fax in 2017 and have now made themselves regulars in the Salford first team.
Halifax centre Steve Tyrer – who will miss this weekend’s fixture through injury – enjoyed a season with the Red Devils back in 2010. The centre made 20 appearances for Salford crossing for six tries including a hat-trick against Harlequins – now known as London Broncos – in just his third outing.
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.
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???? Head Coach Ian Watson pointed to his key playmakers in the middle of the field as the difference in the past few weeks and is excited to see them continue in the Qualifiers.
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.