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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.