Tag: Pre-Season

Ian Watson | “Total Ninja offered the lads something different”

On Monday, the Salford Red Devils first team and backroom staff visited Total Ninja as their pre-season routine went adventurous with lads facing a number of obstacle courses.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach, Ian Watson, said: “We had a great morning down at Total Ninja at Trafford Park.
“It was about getting the boys out of our normal routine of focusing on our rugby non-stop and trying to focus on areas such as team spirit, working together and conquering a few different and unusual challenges.
“The first few weeks of pre-season have been really tough on the lads – they’ve worked hard. This is why we wanted to move them out of their normal environment and bring them into something different.
“Total Ninja really offered the lads a different stimulant in pre-season and that can be really beneficial to the lads to keep them on their toes. You could see that the lads really enjoyed it and got a bit of relaxation while still being tested physically which is always good.
“It was good to explore a new avenue with our sessions this week as it’s going to be a really tough few weeks now for the lads as we build to Christmas.”
You can take a look at a gallery from the Red Devils’ trip to Total Ninja HERE.

Salford Red Devils to host local rivals Swinton Lions in pre-season

Salford Red Devils can confirm we will face local rivals Swinton Lions in a pre-season friendly on Saturday 12th January, 1pm kick-off.
The Red Devils hosted the Lions in pre-season last year and are delighted to welcome them back to the AJ Bell Stadium again in 2019.
Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “We’re excited to host Swinton for the second consecutive season.
“A big factor in us welcoming Swinton to the AJ Bell Stadium again was the success of last year’s fixture which saw us renew the rivalry. We’re hoping this fixture can become a bit of a community day and event for all the fans.
“There are a lot of ties between the Club’s and it really is a special fixture which is important to the City of Salford and surrounding areas.
“Of course, this will be the first opportunity for fans to see some of our new signings in action. I hope the fans of both Salford and Swinton turn out in force for our opening game of 2019.”
Ticket details for the game will be confirmed in due course.
Salford Red Devils will also take on current Betfred Super League champions Wigan Warriors in pre-season at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 20th January. Click here for more details.

Salford Red Devils to host Wigan Warriors in pre-season

Salford Red Devils can confirm that we will face fellow Betfred Super League side Wigan Warriors in a pre-season friendly at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday 20th January, 2pm kick-off.
The Red Devils have opened their Betfred Super League campaign at home against Wigan for two consecutive seasons but will host the Warriors in pre-season this time around.
Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming Wigan Warriors to the AJ Bell Stadium in pre-season.
“We wanted to make sure the lads had a real test ahead of the 2019 Betfred Super League season and there’s no bigger test than the current champions.
“I’m sure this will be a strongly contested game and an enjoyable one for the fans. We are hoping that both the Salford and Wigan fans turn out in force as we head into the 2019 season.
“Of course, there’ll be a host of new players on show for both sides which makes the game even more exciting.”
Ticket details will be confirmed in due course. Salford Red Devils will also be confirming a second pre-season friendly in due course.
Ian Watson’s side will begin their 2019 Betfred Super League campaign at Huddersfield Giants on Friday 1st February before hosting newly-promoted London Broncos on Sunday 10th February.
2019 Season Tickets are still available, and you can spread the costs over eight months via our Direct Debit payment plan. For the Direct Debit breakdowns, click HERE. Sign-up by visiting the AJ Bell Stadium Ticket Office or calling 0161 786 1570.

Craig Kopczak – “We took a lot of positives”

Salford Red Devils forward Craig Kopczak feels there were a lot of positives despite his sides loss at Warrington on Saturday afternoon.                           
Kopczak, who is still available for sponsorship, said: “We took a lot of positives out of it.
“First half was nip and tuck a bit of an arm wrestle and that’s what it’s going to be like in Super League so yeah a positive outcome really.”
Ian Watson has added a lot of new faces to the Salford Red Devils squad for 2018 but Kopczak feels like the side is coming together well particularly in the forwards.
Kopczak said: “We’re doing great fantastic at the moment.
“Against better opposition in Warrington I know we didn’t come away with the win but we came away with positives from that game and we can take that forward into the Wigan game.
“We felt pretty strong out there pretty physical and dominant as well really to be fair.
“We’ve just got to cut out some silly errors and some penalties but we are a flair kind of team we know that we like to pass the ball and like to play a little bit.
“You know the conditions didn’t really suit our style of play but you know when it comes nice the skills will come back out again.”

Three talking points – Warrington Wolves 18-6 Salford Red Devils

After suffering a 18-6 defeat at the hands of Warrington in our second pre-season friendly of 2018 we take a look at three talking points from the game.

  1. The battle in the halves

There is a real fight underway for the half-back shirts at Salford with Rob Lui, Gareth O’Brien and Jack Littlejohn all having put good cases forward to start the first game of the Betfred Super League season against Wigan in less than two weeks time.
Lui and O’Brien started in the halves against Warrington yesterday with Lui grabbing the Red Devils sole try. O’Brien has adapted well to his way into the halves after a few years at full-back while Littlejohn entered the fray in the second half and was a constant threat.
O’Brien eluded to the competition for places in his pre-Warrington interview and this can already be seen in the push for a half-back spot. This can only be good for the Red Devils attack in 2018. 

  1. Josh Jones’ performance

One standout performer for Ian Watson’s side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium yesterday was second-row Josh Jones.
Jones was tasked with keeping Ben Murdoch-Masila quiet throughout the game and he man did an excellent job matching the former Salford man physically even forcing him to knock-on.
The former St Helens man was also dangerous going forward with his offload game opening a few opportunities for Salford. Last year Jones switched between the centres and back-row but if he continues to play like he did yesterday there is no doubt he’ll cement a permanent spot in the second-row.

  1. Former Salford men

Despite Jones keeping Murdoch-Masila quiet for the majority of the game it was two former Red Devils who unlocked the Salford defence and helped Wire to victory.
The Tongan forward managed to get a hand free in the closing stages of the first half and offload to Joe Philbin to level the scores going into the interval.
In the opening stages of the second half it was another former Red Devil in Stefan Ratchford who managed to reach out and plant the ball down to give Warrington a lead which they didn’t surrender despite Salford’s best efforts.

Steve Price – “It was a good hit-out”

Following today’s pre-season friendly defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium new Warrington Wolves Coach Steve Price gave us his thoughts on a tough game against the Red Devils. 
Price said: “It was a good hit-out it was what we needed I thought defensively we’re at it at the moment.
“Systematically I thought we were quite sound a try off the rebound off the post give them the six points but overall I thought we had good leg speed through the middle.
“Our decision making on an edge I thought was quite sound so that was really positive there’s a few things we have to work on in our offence.
“As I said things are going to take a little bit of time with combinations in the short period with our World Cup players but happy with it at the moment.”
The new Wolves boss also spoke of the importance a former Red Devil could play in Warrington’s 2018 Betfred Super League season.
Price said: “As everyone knows he’s [Ben Murdoch-Masila] is quite damaging on an edge and he set up that try for Joe Philbin just prior to half-time.
“He’s a special player and it’s important we utilise Ben in the way what’s going to make our team better.”

Ian Watson – “Exactly what we needed”

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson was ‘really pleased’ with his sides performance despite falling to a 18-6 defeat at Warrington in their second pre-season friendly.
Robert Lui had given Salford the lead but tries from Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford and Ryan Atkins meant Warrington came away with the victory but Watson feels it was exactly what his side needed prior to their Betfred Super League opener against Wigan in two weeks time.
Watson said: “We’re really pleased to be fair.
“I thought it was exactly what we needed at this time going up against an international pack if you like to kind of test us as to where we were physically and in the first half was outstanding for us.
“Second half we started to rotate some of our other guys who needed the game time to see whether they can play kind of Super League level as well.
“Warrington kept flipping their main middles on in short spells which was good for us because it challenged us and like I say we’ll have got a load out of that.”
Watson was impressed with his sides resilience in defence but admits there are things to work on before they take on Wigan on Friday 2nd February at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Watson said: “Yeah we were very good defensively.
“We’d spoken in the week how we wanted to set out for this game and the start of the game was really important for us and the first half overall as well.
“We kind of made some changes on the backend of that so what we kind of set out to do we got there.
“There are little things we will need to work on and pick on I thought Warrington were really good in the second half in kind of where they started and finished the sets and that’s something that some of our younger guys will have to learn.”
Ian Watson’s full press conference will be available on Salford Red Devils TV tomorrow.

Warrington Wolves 18-6 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils were unable to finish the pre-season period with a victory as Warrington Wolves ran out 18-6 winners at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. 
Rob Lui’s first-half effort wasn’t enough for Salford to win the contest as tries from Joe Philbin, Ryan Atkins and former Salford man Stefan Ratchford, clinched the win for Warrington.
The hosts made a bright start to the game and mounted serious pressure against the Salford back-line on numerous occasions. Nevertheless, the Reds defence remained resilient.
Salford were unfortunate not to have broken the deadlock inside the first ten minutes when Junior Sa’u broke from Wire’s 20m line, but the Samoan centre was stopped in his tracks by a fierce Warrington backline.
The Red Devils were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 23rd minute when Gareth O’Brien’s grubber kick ricocheted off the post before Lui pounced onto the loose ball and threw himself over the try line to open the scoring, O’Brien successfully converted the extras to extend Salford’s lead to 6-0.
Soon after, Salford missed a glorious opportunity to extend their lead as some quick hands from Weller Hauraki helped forge an opening for Derrell Olpherts, but the former Newcastle man was unable to capitalise and knocked the ball on.
Warrington responded well and were unfortunate not to have opened their points tally for the contest, a fantastic tackle from Junior Sa’u prevented Matty Russell from scoring in the right hand corner in what looked a certain try.
However, Wire’s pressure inevitably paid off in the 36th minute when former Salford forward Ben Murdoch-Masila cleverly offloaded the ball to the onrushing Philbin who effortlessly crossed the Devils line. Harvey Livett kicked the resulting goal to level the scoring at 6-6 in what was the final points of the half.
After the break, it took Wire just two minutes to pick up where they left off as Ratchford skipped through several tackles, before stretching over the line to give Warrington a 10-6 lead, Livett again converted the goal to extend the difference to six points.
Salford responded well and forced a Warrington goal-line drop out, the Red Devils bulldozed Mitch Brown into the in-goal area as the visitors began to grow in confidence.
Derrell Olpherts will feel aggrieved not to have scored for the second game in succession as Weller Hauraki’s pass was adjudged to have been forward before the back touched down in the corner.
Despite the promising response, Salford’s efforts ultimately amounted for nothing as Manu Vatuvei misjudged the flight of Kevin Brown’s high kick before Atkins crossed over. Livett maintained his 100% succession rate to give the hosts an 18-6 lead.
Salford struggled to build any real momentum throughout the second period, a combination of a determined Warrington back-line and numerous individual errors, thwarted the visitors from forging any major openings.
Reds boss Ian Watson will be pleased with Salford’s progress during pre-season, though he will hope his side can reduce the frequency of their mistakes before Wigan Warriors arrive at the AJ Bell for the opening fixture of the Super League, in just two weeks time.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Olpherts, Bibby, Sa’u, Vatuvei, Lui, O’Brien, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy  Interchanges (All used): Welham, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Flanagan, Burgess, Nakubuwai, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion
Warrington Lineup: Ratchford, Russell, M Brown, Atkins, J Johnson, K Brown, Livett, Hill, Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Murdoch-Masila  Interchanges: King, Pinder, Moran, Philbin, Prell, Smith, L Johnson
Salford Scorers: Tries- Lui (23’)
Goals- O’Brien (23’)
Warrington Scorers: Tries- Philbin (36’), Atkins (50’), Ratchford (42’)
Goals- Livett (37’, 43’, 51’)
Man of the Match: Josh Jones
Referee: C Kendall
Touch Judges: D Arnold and J Smith
Attendance: 3,208
By Ryan Booth