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 The Salford 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.
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.
🗣️ "Our spine is really in sync."
👉 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.
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) August 19, 2018
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.
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 The Salford 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.
🗞️ In the Press:
👏 @Mark_Flash_Flan is also included in the team.
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) August 31, 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Referee: Tom Grant.
Touch Judge: Chris Kendall.
Touch Judge: Andrew Sweet.
You can still purchase tickets for Sunday’s game at the The Salford 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 The Salford Stadium Ticket Office on Saturday 1st September at 4pm. Click HERE for ticket prices and Supporters’ Coach details.