Salford Red Devils Education Academy U16’s 36-32 Barrow

The very brief period, which constitutes the U16s’ season, got underway on Sunday morning, as part of the Red Devils’ Season Launch, and curtain raiser to the first team home friendly with Swinton Lions, when the Red Group of the squad  (not Black as previously reported) played their part in what proved to be a highly successful day, by starting off with a win.
For Player Development Manager, Danny Barton, this was all most gratifying, as he watched his players earnestly endeavouring to bring the elements, on which they have been working, into a game situation.
“Obviously you don’t expect too much from them in their first game together,” he confides, “ and it did get a bit scrappy at times, but it was really good to see the way the lads turned up for one another, remained positive throughout the game,  and stood shoulder  to shoulder against the opposition.”
A much larger crowd than might otherwise have been expected, including a number who had travelled down from Cumbria, gathered along the touchline and spurred on the players from both sides, in this the first match to be played under the new game structure at this level, which involves four quarters of twenty minutes each, instead of the traditional two halves, and, as might be expected, this had its own impact upon the game.
“It was quite strange, really,” comments Danny, “because it made the game seem longer than normal.  It was probably due to the fact that there are  three stoppages in which to speak to the lads, whereas we are used to having just one.  That is good though, because they get a rest, and you can give more feedback to them.
“ It’s a learning curve for me at the moment though, in knowing just how much information to pass on and how much to hold back for later in the game.  There was definitely evidence that the players  had listened on each occasion, and had then, immediately afterwards, gone about adapting what they had been doing to take account of what they had been told.”
As things panned out, the Red Devils got off to a good start, running in four unconverted tries without reply to put themselves in a fine position to control proceedings from then on.  Goal kicking, however, proved to be rather tricky in the windy conditions, and only two attempts proved to be successful.
“Having access to the whole squad, and the obligation to ensure that every player gets to play, also requires careful management,” Danny considers, “and to a certain extent continuity of play suffers as a result, particularly for the half backs, who crucially have to have a good understanding with each other.”
Having made the journey all the way from Cumbria, the visitors were not going to succumb without a fight, however, and they rallied well in the later stages of the game to pull the score-line back to just four points by the end.
“At this level it is the progress and development of the players which is priority, and we shouldn’t be overly concerned with any of the results,” Danny clarifies.
Next Match (Black Group) at Home, Sunday 28th Jan v Featherstone

Salford Red Devils confirm new captaining structure for 2018

Salford Red Devils are delighted to confirm their new team captains, vice-captain and Club captain as part of a new leadership structure on and off the field within the Club.
Mark Flanagan and Lee Mossop have been named as team captains for the upcoming 2018 season while Tyrone McCarthy will take the role of vice-captain. Weller Hauraki has been picked to represent the Club as Club captain.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson said: “We’ve designed a new captaining structure this season with the aim to encourage leadership and develop more leaders within our squad.
“Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan will be team captains as both are excellent players with a lot of experience and who are very vocal out on the field. Tyrone McCarthy is another great voice and leader and as vice-captain he can step up when needed.
“Weller Hauraki as Club captain is a big one for me because as Club captain he leads both on the field and off it. Weller is a perfect example of what you want from a representative of the Club he never turns down appearances and always gives 100% – I couldn’t think of any better to be Club captain.”
Salford Red Devils CEO Ian Blease said: “Myself and Head Coach Ian Watson have discussed these decisions at length and we are trying something new in terms of the leadership roles within the Club this season.
“The aim is for the younger members of the squad to aspire to be captains and look at progressing from vice-captain to team captains and possibly even up to Club captain at some stage of their career here at Salford Red Devils.
“All four of the players chosen are fantastic leaders and voices within the changing room and on the field. But, with Weller Hauraki as Club captain we feel he epitomises everything our Club represent on and off the field and he’s a brilliant ambassador for us moving forward.”

Salford Red Devils 50-12 Swinton Lions

Salford Red Devils opened their pre-season campaign with a victory after overhauling local rivals Swinton Lions 50-12 in a competitive friendly at the The Salford Stadium.
Two tries from Derrell Olpherts  alongside scores from Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Gareth O’Brien, Tyrone McCarthy, Niall Evalds and Rob Lui ensured The Red Devils kicked off 2018 with a merciless display.
After a slow start to the contest, Greg Johnson opened the scoring after ten minutes after some quick hands from Jack Littlejohn and Kris Welham allowed the winger to touch down to claim Salford’s first try of 2018. Occupying a new role in the halves, Gareth O’Brien made no mistake in adding the extras to give Salford a 6-0 lead.
The opening seemed to have instilled a sense of momentum in the Salford camp as The Red Devils swiftly extended their lead through Tyrone McCarthy just seven minutes later. A quick pass from Lama Tasi enabled the Irish international to open his account for the year. Gareth O’Brien kicked the conversion to extend the hosts lead.
Just four minutes later Kris Welham capitalised on a gap in the Swinton defence to claim a fine individual effort. Although, on this occasion O’Brien was unable to kick the conversion, slicing the ball wide.
It was a tough opening period for the visitors, The Lions struggled to gain any distance in their attack due to the resilient Salford defence. Josh Wood skipped from hooker and broke down field before finding the onrushing Niall Evalds whose momentum carried him over the try line soon after.
The visitors did get onto the scoreboard as Hayden Hansen scored his first try for the club.  Chris Hankinson confidently added the conversion in what was the final point scoring action of the half.
Salford made the perfect start to the second period when just three minutes into the half O’Brien threw a neat dummy to deceive the entire Swinton back-line before racing 30m to cross over. He then kicked the resulting goal.
The hosts were ruthless throughout and extended their lead shortly afterwards as debutant Derrell Olpherts scored his first try for the club after linking up well with Evalds. Despite the spirited efforts of a committed Swinton defence the lively Olpherts claimed his second try of the game after O’Brien picked the centre out with a looping pass.
Swinton were finally rewarded for their efforts when Chris Hankinson broke clear with eight minutes remaining to add a second try to the Lions account. With a number of minor injuries reducing their squad size, Stuart Littler’s side gave a good account of themselves although Salford proved too much to handle as Rob Lui scored two minutes from time.
However, Salford were not finished there. This time Gavin Bennion broke through a deflated Lions line to score his maiden try for The Red Devils. O’Brien kicked his seventh goal of the contest the complete the scoring.
The squad’s focus now switches to next Saturday’s pre-season friendly at nearby Warrington and after the dominant display versus Swinton, Ian Watson will be confident his side can build some momentum at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
Salford Lineup: Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, O’Brien, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy  Interchanges: Lui, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Nakubuwai, Vatuvei, Olpherts, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion 
Swinton Lineup: Fell, Webb, Hankinson, Tyson, Butt, J Hansen, Bracek, Waterworth, Austin, Lloyd, Sarsfield, Worrall  Interchanges: H Hansen, Taylor, Caine, Hall, Djaout
Salford Scorers: Tries – Johnson (10), McCarthy (17), Welham (21), Evalds (25), O’Brien (43), Olpherts (49, 65) Lui (78), Bennion (79)
Goals- O’Brien (7)
Swinton Scorers: Tries- H Hansen (34), Hankinson (72)
Goals- Hankinson (2)
Man of the Match: Jack Littlejohn
Referee: M Griffiths
Touch Judges: A Smith, S Houghton
Attendance: 2,036
By Ryan Booth.

Salford Red Devils vs Swinton Lions – Preview

Salford are set to open their 2018 season against local rivals Swinton Lions as an old rivalry is renewed in the Red Devils first warm-up game before another Betfred Super League Season.
Swinton will visit the The Salford Stadium (1pm kick-off) looking to cause an upset and there is a whole host of new faces on show for both sides.
Match Preview 
Salford versus Swinton has long been a fierce rivalry and many in the local community are excited to see its return but there are a lot of stories around both clubs heading into Sunday’s game.
The Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson was the man in charge at Swinton before making the move to the The Salford Stadium and spent time with both clubs throughout his playing career. On the other hand, Stuart Littler has also spent time with both teams as a player and he will lead the Lions into battle this weekend.
From the sidelines to the boardrooms and both clubs are entering new eras. Last week it was confirmed that ownership of Salford Red Devils had been transferred to a consortium of Salford supporters following Dr Marwan Koukash’s five-year tenure. Swinton have also had a change at the top as Andy Mazey has taken the reins as Chairman and will be looking to steer the Lions in a new direction. 
Last Time Out
This weekend’s fixture will be the first runout before the 2018 season for both the Red Devils and Swinton Lions but both clubs have something to build on after 2017.
Salford experienced their most successful season in recent memory with a 4th place regular season finish in the Betfred Super League as well as making an appearance in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup semi-final for the first time in twenty years. Ian Watson’s side will be looking for another top eight finish and to build on last year’s single victory in the Super 8s.
As for the Lions, Swinton avoided relegation to League One with a memorable win over Lancashire rivals Oldham following a difficult season both on and off the field. Swinton have made wholesale changes both at the top and on the field and will be looking to consolidate themselves as a Championship side for the foreseeable future.
Previous Meetings 
Salford and Swinton is a rivalry that stretches back to the beginning of the 20th century with the two local rivals meeting in the 1899-1900 Challenge Cup final in which Swinton came out victorious 16-8.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2015 pre-season, almost three years to the day, as the local community banded together to commemorate the life of aid worker Alan Henning. The Red Devils had a comfortable afternoon against the Lions 66-4 and for an in-depth look at the game click here.
While they’ll not be directly in competition in terms of position both Salford and Swinton have new additions set to start – Jack Littlejohn and Hayden Hansen.
Both men have come from Australia to further their careers and Littlejohn has big boots to fill taking the role of Salford cult hero Michael Dobson following his retirement. Littlejohn has gained NRL experience with the Wests Tigers and is a big, dynamic half-back who could hold the keys to unlocking the Lions defence.
As for Hansen, he has arrived from Queensland Intrust Super Cup team Redcliffe Dolphins for whom he was captain. Hansen can play at hooker or loose forward and is a powerful runner whose eye for a killer pass will make him a serious threat in the Championship next season.
Team News
Swinton have made 13 additions to the squad in the off-season, but Head Coach Stuart Littler has only been able to name a 18-man squad due to several minor injuries.
New signings George Tyson, Hayden Hansen, Aaron Hall, Elliot Caine, Marcus Webb, Danny Ansell, Connor Taylor and Chris Worrell could all pull on the Lions’ shirt for the first time. Meanwhile, Gabe Fell will be in line to make his second debut for the club upon his return to the Lions from Wigan. French trailist Omer Djalout is also involved in the Lions’ matchday squad.
Marquee player Matt Sarsfield, who rejoined the club in 2017, will be keen to make an impact having only featured for the Lions twice last season due to long-term injury.
New signing Littlejohn will start in the halves alongside Gareth O’Brien while 2017 top try-scorer Niall Evalds will begin the game at full-back. Youngsters Josh Wood and Jake Bibby will also both start the game.
Ben Nakubuwai, Levy Nzoungou, Derrell Olpherts and Gavin Bennion will all start bench for Salford Red Devils but Head Coach Ian Watson has said that everybody named in the matchday squad will feature at some stage.
Meanwhile, suspended Ryan Lannon and Luke Burgess who is recovering from a small knock are the only two Salford players who don’t make the matchday squad.
Full Squads
Salford: (Starting Line-Up): Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby; O’Brien, Littlejohn; Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy. (Interchanges): Lui, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Flanagan, Nakubuwai, Brining, Vatuvei, Olpherts, Nzoungou, Murray, Bennion.
Swinton: Ansell, Austin, Bracek, Butt, Caine, Djalout, Fell, Hall, Hankinson, J. Hansen, H. Hansen, Lloyd, Sarsfield, Taylor, Tyson, Waterworth, Webb, Worrall. 
Referee: M. Griffiths.
Touch Judges: S. Houghton & A. Smith.

Stuart Littler – “They play an attractive brand of rugby”

Ahead of tomorrow’s pre-season friendly Swinton Lions Head Coach and former Red Devils player Stuart Littler has given his thoughts as his side travel to Salford to renew an old rivalry.
Littler said: “We’re obviously looking forward to this weekend and getting back into games. We’ll prepare thoroughly, showing players exactly what we want going forward. It’s all about getting ourselves right for that first month of the season and starting big.”
“There’s no set team in my mind so far. I’m pretty honest with my group of players. It’s up to them in the next few weeks to step up and put themselves on the plane for that first game.
“We’ve not quite got a full squad yet. We’ll be rotating our players, giving everyone a shot, keeping bodies fresh. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll get a few bodies back from knocks and people will be able to play more minutes. I’m talking with the medical staff to see where we are at the moment but we will get there.”
The former Red Devil complimented Salford following their most successful season in recent memory and admitted they could be difficult to stop going forward.
Littler said: “They were in the position they found themselves in last year on merit. They play an attractive brand of rugby to be honest and they are coached well. It’s going to be a tough ask, but as with any game we are going to have a go.”
Fans can purchase tickets for tomorrow’s game against Swinton from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. The Ticket Office will be open prior to the game but remember our ‘2018 Season Launch’ begins at 10:30am in the 1873 suite. The match kicks off at 1pm.

Flashback – Salford Red Devils 66-4 Swinton Lions

The last time Salford hosted Swinton was back in 2015 as the local community joined to celebrate the life of aid worker Alan Henning with a ninety second applause from players and fans taking place before the game as well as Alan Henning’s family receiving gifts from the respective captains.
On the field, it turned out to be an extremely comfortable day at the office for the Red Devils who ran out 66-4 winners after naming a very strong side.
Salford set their stall out early as Gareth Hock latched onto a low kick after just four minutes. Full-back Kevin Locke and half-back Rangi Chase both crossed in quick succession before Hock went over for his second and Salford’s fourth inside the opening twenty minutes.
Iestyn Harris’ sides dominance continued into the latter stages of the first half with Niall Evalds diving over in the corner before Locke and Chase both notched their doubles either side of Jon Ford’s effort. Salford went into the break 42-0 ahead after a dominant display in the first half.
Swinton improved following the interval but it was Chase who was first to cross in the second-half furthering the Red Devils lead. However, the Lions did get themselves on the scoresheet through Shaun Robinson latched onto a Chris Atkin kick fifteen minutes from time.
But, it was the hosts who finished the stronger with Theo Fages going over before Chase racked up his fourth try of the game in the closing stages. Tony Puletua rounded the scoring off in the final minute to seal a big win for Salford.
Salford Red Devils Coach Iestyn Harris said following the game: I’m very happy with the run out and to give some players quality time on the pitch and will do the same again next week as we get nearer to the Super League start. It was a very good day and was happy with most of the aspects of the game but not too happy about allowing them to score.”
The teams that day:
Salford: Kevin Locke, Niall Evalds, Josh Griffin, Jason Walton, Jon Ford; Rangi Chase, Theo Fages; Scott Taylor, Tommy Lee, Lama Tasi, Harrison Hansen, Cory Paterson, Gareth Hock.
Interchanges: Adrian Morley, Darrell Griffin, Tony Puletua, George Griffin, Matty Gee, Jordan Walne, Adam Walne, Liam Hood, Brad England.
Swinton: Richie Hawkyard, Shaun Robinson, Stuart Littler, Andy Ball, Alex Hurst; Jimmy Rowland, Ben White; Mike Morrison, Lewis Hulme, Tommy Gallagher, Darren Hawkyard, Grant Beecham, Connor Dwyer.
Interchanges: Aaron Lloyd, Jack Morrison, Liam Coleman, Chris Rothwell, Chris Atkin, Mick Nanyn, Harry Aaronson, Dale Cunniffe.
Fans can purchase tickets for tomorrow’s game against Swinton from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. The Ticket Office will be open prior to the game but remember our ‘2018 Season Launch’ begins at 10:30am in the 1873 suite. The match kicks off at 1pm.

In the know – Swinton Lions

This year we’ll be introducing a new feature on our website called ‘In the Know’ which will see us quiz a journalist on our upcoming opponents and to start things Tom Bramwell (@tmbrmwll) of the Manchester Evening News has told us everything we need to know about Swinton Lions and Sunday’s game.

Swinton narrowly avoided the drop in 2017. What did you make of their season and their heroics to stay up?

I thought it was pretty incredible with everything that was going on off the field that the players could put in the performances they did and get the results they needed to stay in the Championship. To be totally honest, I just couldn’t see it happening, especially when John Duffy went to Featherstone and Chris Atkin’s move to Hull KR was brought forward. So much credit has to go to Stuart Littler for how he stepped up into the head coach role and helped the side to kick on – going to Odsal and getting that result against Bradford in his first match in charge is one that will live long in the memory.

The Lions have recruited quite heavily in pre-season. What do you make of their new signings and how do you think they can impact Swinton this year?

I’ve been very impressed with their recruitment, especially as no one was really sure what to expect because of the financial situation. Gabe Fell was long talked about as a future star at Wigan and I think if Sam Tomkins hadn’t returned, he’d have had plenty of chances in the first team by now, so he’ll be a good replacement for Jack Murphy. I haven’t seen much of Hayden Hansen who has come in from Redcliffe Dolphins in Australia, but I know the club are very excited to have him on board and think he can bring something special this season. George Tyson is the one that stands out for me though – I’ve been impressed whenever I’ve seen him play for Oldham or Sheffield and I’m sure working with Stuart Littler, who was such a good centre himself, will only help him develop his game even further.

Who do you think will be the key players for the Lions this season and why?

Josh Barlow has re-signed and he often gives the team a big lift, whether it’s breaking the line, getting an offload away or putting in a big hit, so I think he can be really important – provided he keeps his discipline in check! Mike Butt had a fantastic 2017 season and I’d expect him to get plenty of chances to demonstrate his finishing skills this year with centres like Tyson, Chris Hankinson and Rhodri Lloyd playing inside of him.

There has been a lot of activity of the field. Do you think the Lions can stabilise progress both this season and going forward in the coming year?

A lot of the signs coming out of the club are really, really positive – particularly the launch of the Swinton Lions Academy with The Rugby College and more progress with the development at Agecroft. I think Andy Mazey is doing a great job as chairman to steady the ship after such a turbulent time last year, and in Stephen Wild they’ve got a director who is incredibly passionate about the club and has a wealth of experience in the financial sector – I’m confident the club is in good hands and it’s no more than the fans deserve, especially after all their fundraising efforts last year.

Of course, there’s a lot of history between the Clubs added to by Stuart Littler and Ian Watson being coaches. How good is it to see the derby back and what does it bring?

Local rivalries are one of the things that make this sport so great and this derby is no different. I’m sure the players and staff on both sides are excited to be able to kick off their pre-season games with a match that will be this fiercely contested – there’s no friendlies in rugby league really, is there? It seems the two clubs have a fantastic relationship off the field though, but with Stuart and Ian having played and coached together, that probably shouldn’t be much of a surprise.

How do you see the game going?

It’s always a bit of an unknown kicking off pre-season, but with so many new recruits, I won’t be expecting Swinton to look anything close to the finished article. The warm-up matches they’ve got lined up will be all about building up the relationships and understanding between the players, as well as their fitness. For Salford, I’m really keen to see how Rob Lui and Jack Littlejohn get on in the halves, because I think that partnership will be the key to the entire season. Hopefully, we’ll also get a look at Levy Nzoungou and Ben Nakubuwai because I expect they will be further examples of more really astute recruitment from Ian and his coaching staff.

Score prediction: Salford 24-10 Swinton.

Salford Red Devils vs Swinton Lions – Sunday 14th January

Salford Red Devils host Swinton Lions in our opening game of the 2018 season on Sunday 14th January, 1pm kick-off. Here are all the details you need to know:
Tickets for our ‘2018 Season Launch’ event and the pre-season friendly against Swinton Lions will be able to purchase from the Club Ticket Office on Sunday.
The ‘2018 Season Launch’ is scheduled to begin at 10:30am so fans are advised to purchase their tickets early. If supporters are only intending to watch the game and not attend the pre-season event they can purchase any time before 1pm on Sunday. There will be a separate window for upgrades to the ‘2018 Season Launch’ for any fans who have purchased regular tickets.
Our concession discount for employees of Salford City Council, Manchester City Council, Trafford Council and Peel Holdings will also apply on gameday with any employees receiving a concession price for the ticket they wish to purchase.
All fans will be situated in the West Stand with Salford Red Devils supporters towards the South Stand and Swinton Lions fans towards the North Stand. A full list of ticket prices for Sunday’s game can be found here.
Following the game supporters will be able to purchase or collect their 2018 Season Tickets from the Club Ticket Office. Also, tickets for our pre-season friendly at Warrington and our 2018 Betfred Super League opener against Wigan Warriors will also be on sale. You can also purchase tickets for the Wigan game here.
‘2018 Season Launch’ event
Our ‘2018 Season Launch’ is scheduled to begin at around 10:45am so we advise that all fans are in the 1873 suite by 10:30am.
The ‘2018 Season Launch’ will include the full reveal of our 2018 Salford Red Devils squad and our new captains before interviews with Head Coach Ian Watson and new Director Andrew Rosler. Swinton Lions will also be represented with Head Coach, and former Red Devil, Stuart Littler and Chairman Andy Mazey both speaking.
Salford Red Devils legend Keith Fielding will also be in attendance and shall be interviewed by Paul Highton. Fans can also then go outside to watch the Salford Red Devils Education Academy U16’s open their season against Barrow provided they are wristbanded.
There will also be a minutes applause prior to kick-off to remember Alan McInnes, Hugh Duffy, Fred Smith, Tommy Grainey, Gary Lloyd and Kato Ottio.
Fans Bar and Kiosks
The fans bar downstairs will be open prior to the game as well as the bar in our 1873 suite being open for our ‘2018 Season Launch’.
The fans marquee will not be open for Sunday’s game but will resume normal service when we face Wigan Warriors in our Super League opener on Friday 2nd February at the The Salford Stadium.
Club Shop 
Steeden will be present at Sunday’s game and will be setting up their pop-up Club shop in the downstairs fans bar beside reception.
Fans are free to browse and purchase any items on sale and Steeden will do replacements if the stock is there. However, we encourage fans to exchange their merchandise by contacting Advantage Sport directly rather than on Sunday.
Volunteers from the Salford RLFC Supporters’ Trust will be helping out with the Steeden store with the Supporters’ Trust also having a table upstairs to take memberships.
Car Park
Car Parking will be available at the game and will cost £5 however the price is set to increase to £6 in the regular season. Season Car Park passes will be valid for Sunday’s game. 
The Red Devil will not be on sale at Sunday’s game with a brand-new programme set to be launched for our Super League opener against Wigan Warriors however a teamsheet including all Salford Red Devils fixtures for 2018 included.

Ian Watson names squad for pre-season friendly with Swinton

Salford Red Devils Head Coach has confirmed his starting line-up and full squad to face Swinton Lions on Sunday afternoon in our opening pre-season friendly.  
New signing Jack Littlejohn will start in the halves alongside Gareth O’Brien while 2017 top try-scorer Niall Evalds will begin the game at full-back. Youngsters Josh Wood and Jake Bibby will also both start the game.
Ben Nakubuwai, Levy Nzoungou, Derrell Olpherts and Gavin Bennion will all start on the interchange bench but Head Coach Ian Watson has said that everybody named in the matchday squad will feature at some stage.
The only two Red Devils not to feature in this Sunday’s squad are the suspended Ryan Lannon and Luke Burgess who is still recovering from a minor knock.
The full Salford Red Devils squad can be seen below:

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