RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD v WIGAN

For the second time in three matches, the Salford Red Devils had the heart-breaking experience of losing by a single point from a late drop-goal.  Indeed, the only difference in this latest denouement was that there was no extra time involved, but the devastation at having the league points snatched from their grasp, minutes from the final whistle, must have been every bit as hard to take for our players as was that Golden Point Quarter-Final loss to Castleford Tigers.

It certainly was for we Salford fans, returning in numbers to the The Salford Stadium, after some fourteen months’ absence, but there again, we had not had to spend eighty minutes of intense concentration and physical buffeting which they had had to endure, in an encounter which had seen every single one of them give their all, in the Salford cause.

And how well they measured up to their illustrious opponents.  In similar fashion to the previous outing against St Helens, they were the quicker to settle to their task, and produced yet another magnificent display of defence, which had the visitors attacking flair completely subdued for lengthy periods of the game.

The difference, however, was that the attack, which against the Saints had been quite lacklustre, was a far more potent force, that had the Warriors on the back foot, particularly in the first half.  How confident they looked as they swung the ball along the line, ran the angles, and questioned the visitors’ goal-line defence at every opportunity, forcing them into conceding a first half 6:3 penalty count in the Reds’ favour.

Twice, on the ninth and twenty-fourth minutes they breached the Wigan try line to take the lead, only for their opponents to hit back with tries of their own on eighteen and thirty-three minutes, but thanks to a penalty goal, from the trusty boot of Harvey Livett, the Red Devils left the field at half time with a narrow four-point lead.

Salford’s opening try came as some compensation for Morgan Escare’s earlier disallowed effort owing to an adjudged obstruction from Ryan Lannon’s venturing into the Wigan line.  This time there was nothing to complicate the issue, as Livett got on the end of an offload from an overly ambitious Wigan player.  His thirty-metre sprint to the line saw him ground the ball in almost the same place as Escare had done a mere minute before.

The ever-improving Jack Ormondroyd laid the foundations for the second with a tremendous, forceful run which took him through the Wigan line and into the clear.  Jack Wells was excellent in providing the necessary support to be on hand to take the pass and cross close to the posts.

Good as the Salford performance overall had been to this point, however, errors did start creeping into it.  These succeeded in providing the Warriors with opportunities to put their hosts under pressure of their own.  Their first try came as a result of a set restart after two tackles and the extra plays enabled them to progress the length of the field and use the power of Singleton to force his way over for the first of his two tries.

Probably even more irritating to the coaching staff would have been the second, in which a poor attacking kick into the Warriors’ overcrowded, righthand corner, ricocheted into the arms of winger, Harry Smith, and he took advantage of a momentary lapse of concentration to round the advancing Salford left flank, each of whom appeared not to recognise the danger until he was on his way to getting into the clear.  With the whole field in which to run, Smith cleverly exploited the space to thwart two or three attempts to stop him before putting Farrell over to the left of the posts.

Coming as this did, just over five minutes before the interval, it put the visitors in a much better position to overturn their half time deficit, in the second half, and their penchant for doing so, this season, has been quite widespread as local rivals Leigh Centurions will testify.  Few would have gambled on four points being sufficient cushioning against such a robust outfit as Wigan, and so it proved.

The Reds’ second half performance did not quite match up to that of their first half, and the errors became a little more evident, starting with Ormondroyd losing control of the ball in a tackle in the very first set of the half – not an unknown occurrence this season – but with the considerable improvement, this time, of holding their line intact for the next set.

The balance of possession however started to shift in Wigan’s favour, primarily from an increase in the number of penalties and repeat sets which started to go their way, and the extra defensive work which was consequently thrust upon the Red Devils started to take its toll.  By the later part of the half they were clearly tiring, for let us not forget that there was probably also some residual after-effects from the exertions of the St Helens game, five days earlier.

To compound the situation, the end-of-set options which were taken did not seem to help matters.  Long, high kicks downfield require an energetic determined chase, and, with this becoming increasingly more difficult for them, Hardaker at fullback was put under rather less pressure.  Drilling the ball downfield into touch would, at least, have brought some few seconds respite for them to get some air into their lungs.

Consequently, it was Wigan, only, who, on 63 minutes, were able to cross and draw level, following Livett’s solitary penalty goal, and in the final moments of the half Salford were unable to raise the same degree of energy to pressure Jackson Hastings’s drop-goal that Wigan had put on Escare a few minutes earlier, and the half back promptly slotted the ball between the uprights to take the spoils.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: ST HELENS v SALFORD

After the most heart-breaking of Betfred Challenge Cup exits against Castleford Tigers, probably the last thing the Salford players needed was to be travelling to face the might of the Betfred Super League Champions, St Helens, ten days later.  If that were the case, however, there was absolutely no evidence of it, whatsoever, in the opening forty minutes, for throughout the whole of the first half, the valiant Red Devils went head-to-head with their hosts, matching their unrelenting, fastidious defence, with an equally uncompromising one of their own.

Indeed, for a full twenty minutes, when both defences were causing significant problems for the other’s attack, it was the Saints who made the first three handling errors, the second of which saw the pitting of the power of Chris Atkins’s magnificent tackle on the man-mountain that is Alex Walmsley, in the greatest mismatch of the evening.

Mismatch, as far as size is concerned, it may have been, but the little halfback got everything just right and the result was the giant prop not only being toppled to the ground but coughing up possession in the first tackle of their set, in the process.  If anyone on the ground had had any doubts about the visitors’ resolve and determination, they were left with none, thereafter, and the Saints continued to struggle to find their attacking rhythm in the face of such determined tackling.

Not that Salford were able to make any in-roads into the St Helens defensive line, either, however, with the home side virtually negating any Reds’ forward advancement up the field, when in possession.  That became equally the case on the occasions when, as a result of penalties or troublesome kicks, Salford got within sight of their opponents’ try line, with a totally flawless goal-line defence keeping them pointless, for the full 80 minutes.

It was 23 minutes of complete stalemate before a try was eventually registered, and, as so often has happened this season, it came as a result of a Salford handling error, whilst on attack in the Saints half, and then, this time, further compounded by conceding a penalty.  If only the Red Devils’ attack could have been as efficient as their defence had been, they really would have caused St Helens some concern, but sadly that was not the reality.

On a positive note, it should be observed that, unlike in many previous games, that first try did not lead to another just before half-time, and it must have been a much happier dressing-room to which the team retired, at the interval, trailing by only six points and still very much in contention.

Sadly, that happy state was not to remain for very long with the home side reappearing determined to increase the pace of the game, to their own advantage, and the next score came within two minutes of the resumption Dispiritingly, it came from one of Salford’s best attacking moves of the evening, with the ball having been moved swiftly to the right wing, where Ken Sio had been freed up to race clear.

The kick he put infield for his teammates to latch onto, unfortunately, stood up beautifully into the arms of Theo Fages, who, with the involvement of two teammates, started, and then finished, a sixty-metre inter-passing run to the line, to double the Saints’ score.

That try, and in particular the circumstances in which it came, proved to be a real game changer, for although it was over a quarter of an hour before they scored again, St Helens went on to notch up a total of five tries, four of which were converted.

The most disappointing of those came on the stroke of time, when Salford, with three seconds remaining, produced some rather static resistance on the right, from a play the ball in front of their own posts.  It would have been a fair reflection of their efforts during the first half, had they snuffed out any chance of conceding again.  As it was, the scoreboard became a rather uncomfortable representation as to how the second half had unfolded.

It would also be true to say, however, that had they been playing any less commanding a side than St Helens, that first half performance could well have paved the way for a deserved victory.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD | BETFRED CHALLENGE CUP QUARTER-FINAL

The pain of any loss in a sudden-death cup-tie is bad enough when one side has clearly been the better of the two, but when there is virtually nothing to choose between either of them then it is considerably worse for those on the losing side.  The parity of the two teams in Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Final was underlined by the 18-18 draw at the end of eighty minutes, before moving into Golden Point extra time.

To lose in those circumstances is really heart-breaking, and takes so much longer to get over than the average, run-of-the-mill, league game.  For the more neutral-minded general public, however, this must have been the most riveting and enjoyable spectacle – a game balanced on a knife edge, with cut and thrust, thrills and spills, fifty-fifty decisions, an abundance of ifs and buts, the momentum swaying from one side to the other, and the result in doubt right up to that Golden Point drop-goal, one and a half minutes into extra time.

It takes two good teams to make a really good game, but this was a great game which did rugby league a world of good being as it was on national television, and everyone connected with the club can take great pride in our team’s contribution to such an excellent evening’s entertainment.

Not that it looked that way in the early stages, with Salford players really struggling to cope with holding onto possession.  With the ball being lost in the earliest of stages in several sets, it did give the impression that they have not, as yet, fully come to terms with the new laws on ball stealing, which are significantly more relaxed.

As if to make up for this, it was Salford, who, on their first real foray into the Castleford twenty metre area, opened the scoring, when Harvey Livett continued his scoring run by falling onto a loose ball in Castleford’s in-goal area, after having contested against Derrell Olpherts for possession in the air, from Kevin Brown’s high kick.  He also continued his one hundred percent goal kicking record for not only this, but the two subsequent Red Devils’ tries.

Indeed. It was both teams’ ability to cross their opponents’ line, just when it looked as though that was not to happen, which kept spectators on the edge of their lounge seats.  Twice Salford took the lead in the first half only to fall behind for the first time, 18-12, midway through the second half.

It has often been said that it is not how you start it is how you finish, that really matters, and for those who witnessed the Salford onslaught on the Castleford line and defence, in the final quarter, will swear testimony.  The never-say-die Red Devils launched wave after wave of attacks which had the Tigers back-pedalling, and stretched to capacity.  The kicking game, which had been excellent throughout, was now matched by slick, confident handling skills.

Twice Salford players crossed the Tigers’ line, and a further twice kicks into the in-goal area were within inches of bringing about a score, only for each to be ruled out by the combined adjudications of the match officials.  Some will feel some sympathy for the Yorkshire side’s being twice reduced to twelve men, and very briefly eleven, but, in truth, it was as a result of the tremendous pressure under which their whole team was under, which led to their indiscretions.

It has been said that the end-of-set charge-down, from the speedy Paul McShane, was the determining factor in the whole game, but there was possibly an even greater one, which came forty-five seconds before the half-time hooter sounded.  Castleford crossed for an equalising six-pointer, against a tiring defence which failed to number up and snuff out the attack, unlike the magnificent efforts that had nullified the Tigers for so much of the game.

Had Salford retaken the field for the second forty, still six points in the lead, the likelihood of extra time might never have materialised.  And that tiring defence was, one must assume, as a consequence of all the extra tackling forced upon them, as a result of all the aforementioned lost possession, in that opening quarter.

If only the magnificent Lee Mossop’s seventy-ninth minute try had come several minutes earlier by means of one of those near misses, there would have been enough time for the momentum, which they had generated, to take them over for a winning score before the final hooter.  As it was, the break in play, prior to the onset of extra time, served to bring some respite to the beleaguered Castleford side, affording them the opportunity to regroup and also retake the field with a full complement, including the deadly kicking boot of Gareth O’Brien.

It was not to be, sadly, but knowledge of all the neutrals whom they must surely have won round with such a spirited, dedicated, and enthusiastic performance, will enable all Salford supporters to hold their heads high and celebrate their team’s exceptional progress and improvement over the past seven days, which oh so nearly turned the tables on the team which had beaten them last week with much greater comfort.

Kevin Brown – “It’s work time”

Despite being 36 years old, Salford Red Devils’ number 7, Kevin Brown, is feeling as sharp as ever.

The halfback is one of the most senior players in the squad, but he won’t let age dictate his condition and his performances.  scoring two tries in last weekend’s win over Leigh Centurions.

Brown said: “My body’s feeling unbelievable.

“I’ve played 5 games now this year, at the age of 36 I’m feeling fantastic and hopefully I’ll build on the form I’ve been performing at.”

Brown is eager to build on his side’s first win of the 2021 Betfred Super League season last week and insists with a fully fit squad, Salford can provideown  plenty of excitement to this year.

“We’ve had quite a few injuries and we’ve not wanted to talk about it,” said Brown.

“But the quality of Danny Addy, Kallum Watkins, Joe Burgess still to come in is something that really excites me.”

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Second in command at Salford, Brown has become a leader in the dressing room, on and off the field.

Brown added: “I think my role has been pretty similar for the last 10 years.

“That’s to make everyone else understand the coaches plans on the game plan, really push and understand where they need to be and attack and try and lead by example.

“That’s my role as a player and the vice-captain of the club. Number one is to play well and then closely followed by getting everyone in position and letting them know what the coach wants.”

Salford welcome Castleford Tigers to the A.J Bell stadium this evening, before the two sides face off again next week in the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Final.

“We’ve done some video on them, for me they’re the best attacking side in the competition… they have been for a number of years.”

“It’s work time this week, there’s a lot of work to do. We want to go on a run now and put some back-to-back performances in.”

Due to the social media boycott that Salford Red Devils are in support of, live coverage of tonight’s Round 5 clash with Castleford will not be provided by the club, but will be available on the Betfred Super League website.

Written by: Callum Williams

Consistency is crucial for Marshall in back-to-back Castleford contests

Head coach Richard Marshall is relishing the chance to play Castleford Tigers this Friday at the A.J Bell Stadium.

The Red Devils got their first Betfred Super League win over Leigh Centurions last Friday, but Marshall is now focused on building momentum and consistency.

“A win raises everybody’s spirit but then expectations are lifted as well,” said Marshall.

“We want to be able to back up our performances and build on our efforts. We know the challenge is going to be difficult against Castleford but we’re at home, and we want to build on our home form as well.”

Castleford, who recently appointed Lee Radford as head coach for the 2022 Betfred Super League season, have started the season strongly.

The Tigers sit 4th in the Betfred Super League, winning three out of their first four league games this season.

Castleford’s attack has been particularly impressive, boasting the most tries scored so far this season. Marshall knows his defence will be have to be on top form.

Marshall said: “That would be the main challenge this week.”

“Castleford are a very good attacking team. They’ve got some flair and skills on the edges. Are we able to compete and go against them? Yes, we are.”

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Marshall is faced with another selection headache with Matt Costello unavailable and Elijah Taylor still ruled out, but there will be a return to the squad in the shape of Kallum Watkins.

It will also be the first of back-to-back contests with Castleford Tigers, with both teams meeting again in next week’s Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals. But that won’t have too much bearing on Friday’s game according to Marshall.

“You know a lot more about the opposition but at the level we coach at you watch 3-4 games of opposition every week before a game,” Marshall added.

“It’s a double-edge sword really, they find a little more about you and you find a little more about them. But we’re not a team that wants to change too much. We want to find our own style. Castleford have been working as a team for a long time. They do things in certain ways and there very, very effective, so our defence has to be on this week.”

“A cup game is completely different though. A cup game is a one-off, it’s knockout and it’s a Quarter-Final so we’ll look forward to that but hopefully win this one first and build some momentum into that game.”

Subscribe to RDTV to hear everything Richard Marshall had to say ahead of Round 5.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Marshall – “We’ll have to be at our best”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall is looking to build momentum from his team’s first Betfred Super League win of the season when his side take on Castleford Tigers this Friday.

Salford ran out 34-8 winners over Leigh Centurions last Friday. Yet Marshall knows that his team will have to be at their best come their next tie.

“It will be a tough game, they’re a good team,” Marshall said.

“We’ll have to be at our best, our defence will have to improve, our ball control will have to improve. But I think there’s a lot more improvement with this squad, we’ve gave ourselves a chance and we’ll be going to compete.”

Castleford lost their first game of the season 22-12 last Thursday to Wigan Warriors. The Tigers sit 4th in the Betfred Super League standings and will be looking to bounce back from their loss when Salford welcome them at the AJ Bell stadium.

But spirits will be high in the Salford camp after their first league victory for not only the club, but the head coach as well.

“We feel good,” said Marshall. “We know we have to play better over the next couple of weeks.

“We’re all in it together. It’s not about me. For our club and our supporters, we owed them a performance. When you do that you usually win the game, so we look to concentrate on the performance first and as a result of performing really well.”

Marshall will have some thinking to do ahead of the clash with Tigers, with a number of regulars potentially unavailable for Round 5.

Marshall added: “We had a couple of injuries from the Catalans game. Kallum Watkins he’s got a small fracture in the hand; we don’t think it’s too bad, but he may miss next week (this Friday).

“Pauli Pauli rolled his ankle, so he wasn’t fit. Elijah (Taylor) has a shoulder problem that we can’t keep on top of.”

You can watch Salford Red Devils vs Castleford Tigers live on Sky Sports, kick-off at 7:45pm, or on Our League if you’re a season ticket holder.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD v LEIGH

You just never know how a game is going to unfold, and throughout any match all a team can do is to hang on in with the opposition so that when the decisive moment comes, if it goes in their direction, they will be in a position to take advantage of it and secure the result for themselves.

That philosophy could never have been more aptly fitting than to Salford’s victory over Leigh, on Friday evening, when a finely balanced contest swung completely out of the grasp of the spirited Centurions, and suddenly the scoreboard was working overtime to keep track of the home side’s newfound dominance.

That crucial moment came almost exactly midway through the second half, when a most threatening Leigh attack, via their left flank, was thwarted to devastating effect.  Krisnan Inu it was who produced the most extraordinary feat of ball handling skill, which really has to be viewed in slow motion to be fully appreciated.  He not only blocked what could have been a try-scoring pass, he then one-handedly regathered and flipped out the ball, with unbelievable accuracy to wing partner, Ken Sio, and all this whilst he was tumbling forward onto the ground.

With ninety metres then to cover, Sio’s pace and clever tactical running skills – involving veering first inside and then out to the righthand corner as he neared the try line – prevented him being overhauled by his pursuing opposite number.

Inu’s conversion, from wide out, succeeded in opening up a ten-point gap which had the most profound of effects on the Red Devils.  Gone, suddenly, was all the apprehension that had seemed to have dogged their attack for much of the game, to be replaced by a self-belief, assurance, and confidence that they had lacked recently.

From that point on, the pace of their game went up two gears, the ball was swung about from side to side with an accuracy that they had struggled to produce earlier, support for the man with the ball increased, and holes in the visitors’ defence line were exploited to the full. Marshall’s men enjoyed their ascendency to the full, adding a further three tries in a ten-minute period, which had the Centurions on the rack for the remainder of the encounter.

The Leigh players themselves must have been totally bemused and bewildered by this turn of events, and particularly by the one-sided look of the scoreline, for, in truth, the game hitherto had been anything but that. Indeed, the Centurions had had the better of the early exchanges, as they out-enthused their hosts, winning the battle of the hard yardage with strong running which gave them field position to score the opening try.

It was the Salford kicking game, which, in the first half, troubled Leigh most, with a number of high bombs being dropped, and goal-line drop-outs being forced from others, all of which brought a period of concerted Salford attack, and a converted try, to take the lead.  That lead proved to be quite short-lived, however, as the possibility of protracted home dominance, on the back of it, never materialised.

Rather the reverse, in fact, was the case, with Leigh enjoying their greatest period of pressure, during which they regained the lead to take with them into half time.  It was nip and tuck on the resumption, with Salford regaining a slender lead, which they held right up to that crucial moment of Inu’s intervention and Sio’s finish.

Great as it was to have gained their first league points of the season, there were a number of individual performances to enhance the enjoyment of that. As expected the stalwarts of the side, Mossop, Ikahihifo, Brown, and Lolohea, were the go-to players but a number of others also stood out.

Not least of these were Elliott Kear who was a revelation at fullback, Oliver Roberts who had his best game to date for Salford, Harvey Livett who built upon his personal performance at Catalans with involvement in three tries, one of which he was the scorer, and Chris Atkin whose introduction at dummy-half led to a much more fluid attacking game. Good individual performances from them all, but it was teamwork which won the match.

Marshall – “We’ve got that in abundance”

Salford Red Devils travel to Perpignan this Saturday to face Catalans Dragons in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League and head coach Richard Marshall and his side are up for the challenge.

Salford are still on the hunt for their first Super League win of the season, but last Saturday’s blowout victory over Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup has Marshall optimistic of his team’s chances against a Catalans side who are unbeaten in 2021.

Marshall said: “The preparation was good last week, the same with this week,”

“We scored a lot of points, some really good tries and there was a lot of interplay. We’ll build off our last performance albeit in the cup.

“It’s all about discipline when you go over there to France, whether there’s a crowd there or not.”

Having won all three of their games in all competitions this season, Catalans Dragons will provide a tough test for the Red Devils.

Marshall said: “They’ve got really good half backs who guide them and a big physical team who take it right to the edge, we’ll be ready for that.

“We will need a real strong, resolute defensive line but also manage the game correctly. That’s something we’ve been talking about all week. It’s that Salford ‘never say die’ attitude and we’ve got that in abundance.”

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Salford will be the first team to travel to France during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Marshall has made it clear that player welfare is at the forefront of his preparation.

“The safety and the welfare of our players is paramount for me as a coach,” Marshall added.

“We’re just flying in on the date, we’ll play and fly out on the same day. It’s get in, get the job done and then get back. We’re in our own bubble. We won’t be mixing with anyone outside of that.”

One player returning to familiar ground is full-back Morgan Escare. The Frenchman was born in Perpignan and played for Catalans for three years, and after his impressive performance against Widnes, there may be some added motivation for the 29-year-old to deliver against his former team.

“He knows about the place being it’s his former club and I’m looking forward for him to be an energiser for our team,” Marshall added.

“They’ll be no crowd there or friends and family but he’s on his home soil. I was really happy with his performance last week.”

Catalans Dragons v Salford Red Devils kicks off at 17:00 BST live on Sky Sports, and is also available to watch on Our League if you’re a season ticket holder.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Ormondroyd – “My goal is to try and nail down a spot in the team every week”

Prop Jack Ormondroyd seized on his opportunity last Saturday, capping off his great performance against Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup with a Man of the Match honour.

Now Ormondroyd will be knocking on head coach Richard Marshall’s door for a consistent spot in the starting line-up.

“My goal is to try and nail down a spot in the team every week,” Ormondroyd said.

“I had a meeting with Rich (Richard Marshall) and Danny (Orr) pre-season, and we set some goals and that was one of my goals. I’ve put quite a lot of work in pre-season and hopefully Rich and Danny have seen that and hopefully it will pull off.”

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The number 25 made 7 appearances in his debut season in Salford last term. By his own account, Ormondroyd believes his performance against Widnes is a way to help nail down his spot in the Salford team.

There were also a lot of opportunities handed to new signings, with players such as Morgan Escare, Darcy Lussick and Matt Costello all featuring in the weekend’s win.

Ormondroyd talked about building chemistry with the newer players in the squad and the harmony within the dressing room.

“With all new teams it takes quite a bit of time to gel. I think we’ve had a long pre-season, we met up the week before Christmas, so we’ve had a lot of time now together. All the new lads are good lads.”

“That’s a big thing here at Salford, we talked about it a lot last year and this year. I’ve been good mates with everyone, having no bad eggs in the team, and that goes a really long way in making you a successful team. Everybody wants to work hard for each other and work hard for the coach as well. “

The Red Devils return to Betfred Super League action this Saturday against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan. Catalans have won all three of their opening games this season and Ormondroyd knows they are going to be a tough test.

Ormondroyd added: “It will be a tough game. They’ve got a big pack, but I think it’s a good chance for us.

“We didn’t have two great performances in our last two, so we talked about restarting our season against Widnes. It’s a step up this week.”

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

Marshall – “He’s a shining star for us”

Head coach Richard Marshall was delighted with a number of individual performances from his Red Devils side in last Saturday’s comfortable victory over Widnes Vikings in the Betfred Challenge Cup.

 The dominant 68-4 victory over Widnes booked the Red Devils a place in the Quarter-Finals of the Betfred Challenge Cup, in what was Marshall’s first runout in the competition as the Salford head coach. 

 The victory was highlighted by a Man of the Match performance from Jack Ormondroyd, and Morgan Escare and Matt Costello both picking up two tries each on their debuts for Salford.

 It was a particularly great afternoon for Ormondroyd, who repeatedly broke the Widnes line and looked a constant threat, capping his Man of the Match performance with a try of his own. 

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 Speaking on Salford’s number 25, Marshall said: “He’s one of those unsung heroes within our team. He had a really good, solid game for us, he looked strong in contact, but his challenge would be to do that every week.

 “Hes probably on the periphery of the first team at our club. He’s not a young man anymore, if he wants to be Super League player, hes going to have to play week in, week out against the best team and packs in the country. 

“He’s been good over the past couple of weeks so he’s a shining star for us.”  

 Marshall was also full of praise for Escare and Costello.

 “They’ve obviously been knocking on the door the last couple of weeks,” Marshall added.

“Both new players to our club and both took their opportunities really, really well. I thought defensively, Matt had some reads when challenged and I thought Morgan was everywhere… he’s electric. They’ll gain a lot of confidence.” 

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 Despite the blowout win, Marshall still acknowledged the effort put in from Widnes, in a contest that began quite evenly matched.

Marshall said: They had some quality in their troops. I thought their half backs had a good go and challenged us at times. But for our guys we scored some wonderful points.

“Albeit it was against a Championship side, but you’ve still got to score, make breaks, offload and from that point of view it was really encouraging.”  

Salford travel to Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, which will be contested over the first weekend of May.

Image credit: Steve McCormick

Written by: Callum Williams

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