With the England v New Zealand Test Match, in Denver, having provided what must have been a most welcome blank weekend for the rest of Super League, the Salford Red Devils return to action on Friday evening, suitably rested, as they make the short trip to neighbours, Warrington Wolves.
The benefits of the extended break are detailed to us by assistant coach, Martin Gleeson.
“It’s a good chance to give the bodies a rest and a few days off, while at the same time having an extra couple of training days, when the players have come back fresh. In those we can brush up on a few things and then work more specifically on certain aspects of our game that really need it.
“Everyone of the players is fully aware of what they should be doing in every game, but the main things we need to improve upon are our discipline and ball retention. That is what has been costing us in so many matches, because you cannot produce a quality performance when you are giving away a lot of penalties and dropping the ball.
“Thankfully, we went some way towards putting that right, last time out, against Widnes, when we all saw just how competitive we can be when we get those elements right.”
Having seemingly turned the corner with their second half performance at Hull, and having backed that up with a home victory against the Vikings, attention now turns to this coming weekend’s fixture with Warrington.
“If we don’t put ourselves under too much unnecessary pressure we are capable of beating them. They have some high quality, individuals, and that will make it tough, but if we can produce the same kind of performance we did against Widnes, I believe we can come up with the win.
“On the other hand, if we fail to measure up in this respect, that is when the likes of Benny Murdoch-Masila, Chris Hill, and Josh Charnley will get opportunities to make us pay. They are all quick, and if they are running at a tired defence which has been doing more defending than attacking, those quality players are going to cause us problems.
“We have to play well to compete with them, and if we don’t we are not going to win.”
Stark as that warning, is, it comes in the context of a mere handful of games left in the regular season.
“Every point we can get now is crucial, and we could do with getting every one available to us, but even if we don’t get those points we have still got to stay in games and be competitive to the end, so that whichever competition we move onto next, we are in a good run of form.
“So, even on occasions when we don’t get the result we have got to come up with a good performance, in order to generate that momentum for the next stage of the season.”
Looking at the fixture list on paper, this week’s encounter would appear to be the toughest of them all, particularly with it being an away fixture against one of the leading sides in this year’s competition.
“We would certainly be expecting our home matches to produce good results, and having beaten Castleford here last year is some encouragement in this, but they are all going to be tough in the run in.”
The recent strengthening of the squad, with the acquisition of prop, Greg Burke, and utility back, Ed Chamberlain, will undoubtedly go some way towards helping matters.
“Greg is a Wiganer who has come from a good rugby background, and experienced a highly competitive team environment, so with Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan missing last time out, he was perfect to come in and shoulder some responsibility, which he did really well. It’s good to have him on board.
“The try he scored was quite pivotal in the outcome, and it came from our pressure, as a result of getting back-to-back sets.
“Ed will bring some much-needed competition for places, in the backs.”