RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V WAKEFIELD

There is nothing more surprising than outcomes and results in any sport, and the only thing which we should be surprised by is our own surprise at unexpected results, because they happen so often, all of which is what makes it so fascinating to watch.  That was certainly the case, this weekend, for Salford Red Ded Devils when they took on the visiting Wakefield Trinity, with their visitors languishing without a victory at the foot of the table, whilst the Reds themselves were on the back of a sixty-point scoreline from the previous week.

Expectations for this encounter, therefore, had the sky as the limit in the minds of many, and when Matty Costello crossed for a converted try, in the fourth minute, thanks to a considerable overlap that their signature, slick handling had forged, a few more, rathermore guarded individuals will have joined their ranks.

It has been said, on previous occasions in these pages. that scoring too early and too easily can become something of a double-edged sword, by encouraging over-confidence in a team’s ranks, which leads to a small but important drop in their intensity, which in turn feeds into a growth in self-confidence among their opponents.

Factor in the desperation at Wakefield’s current plight, which must be eminent throughout their ranks, coupled with the fact that they had obviously done a very thorough job in their preparation for the game so that every strike player for Salford had been identified and was carefully marshalled.  Kallum Watkins, for example, found, in opposite number Matty Ashurst, an almost ever-present obstacle to his breaking clear.

So the longer the Red Devils went without scoring again, the more the visitors grew in self-belief, and they found themselves getting to those try-saving tackles which kept their deficit to manageable proportions.  For their part the home side started to show signs of frustration with themselves at their further lack of success, and a wild pass on their own line caused a goal-line drop-out, from which Wakefield opened their account, after ten minutes, to draw level.

A thwarted opportunity to score through Deon Cross, in the 23rd minute, as often happens in these circumstances led to the opposition going to the other end and taking a 6-10 lead with an unconverted try in their right corner.  Fortunately, Salford still had one more try left in them before the interval, from a simple, basic scoot by Chris Atkins which was sufficient to get him over to restore a two-point half-time lead.

It would appear that discussions over half-time had shifted the Reds’ focus for the second half to establishing midfield dominance by the forwards, and for the first twenty minutes this went well with the pack gaining good field position and keeping the visitors penned in their own half.   Tyler Dupree might not have made any eye-catching clean breaks, but he certainly made the Wakefield six struggle to contain him.

It was similarly great to see the now-returned, Adam Sidlow, rolling back the years by a decade since his last spell here, and wearing the opposition down using his power and size to grand effect, as he has done against us so many times during the interim period.

The nearest the home side were to come to scoring though was on 59 mins, when Rhys Williams got over the line, only to lose the ball in a last-ditch tackle, and, when Wakefield did eventually get to the other end, they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which tied the score at twelve all, ten minutes from time.

It is at times like these that someone has to emerge to set their seal on the game, and, on this occasion, it was man-of-the-match, Marc Sneyd.  He had been one of the Salford players, throughout the game, to have been able to trouble the Trinity defence, but drop-goals, after all, are one of his specialities. How reassuring it was, therefore, to watch him take complete control of the situation in the final five minutes, and through extra time.

His first, with five minutes remaining, was promptly wiped out by Wakefield, who were gifted possession from the restart, by Salford’s failing to take the ball before it went into touch, his second attempt was a rushed affair which went wide and his third was successful in itself but with it being disallowed for an incorrect play-the-ball immediately before. There was no such doubt over his final kick which won the match, much to everyone’s relief.

Disappointing as the performance might have been, however, the benefit of going through a dour, tough encounter, not to mention experiencing golden-point extra time, will undoubtedly stand them in good stead for the future, for it is not just having players who have gone through these experiences elsewhere themselves, but the whole group going through it together and learning from one another how to do so, successfully.

ADAM SIDLOW RETURNS TO THE RED DEVILS

Salford Red Devils are pleased to announce that prop Adam Sidlow will return to the club from 2023, signing on a two-year deal.

Sidlow, who has been a key part of Leigh Centurions’ forward pack in their promotion from the Betfred Championship this year, first donned the Salford shirt in 2008. He went on to make 82 appearances for the club in his four-year stint – scoring 14 tries – before moving on to Bradford Bulls.

The front rower made over 100 appearances from Bradford, with two seasons in the top flight and a further two in the Championship, which continued his development as a player. Following the Bulls liquidation in 2017, Sidlow joined Toronto Wolfpack, who were newcomers to League One.

In his first season with the club, Toronto stormed to the title and earned promotion to the Championship. He has since moved to Leigh Centurions and spent a year in the Betfred Super League before earning the club promotion straight back to the top flight a weeks ago.

His experience will be extremely valuable amongst our forward pack and will compliment the mixture of youth and experience we already posses.

Upon signing for the Red Devils, Sidlow said: “It feels unbelievable to be back at Salford after all these years – and I have to pinch myself sometimes. Paul and Kurt have assembled an outstanding squad and I love the brand of Rugby League the team is playing.

“I feel humbled and privileged to be brought into the squad and can’t wait to get in with all the players and start the hard work it takes to be a Super League player again. Personally, I’m only a couple of games from 100 appearances at the club, so I’m looking forward to that and completing some unfinished business.”

Head Coach, Paul Rowley also added: “I’m really pleased to welcome Adam to the team. He’s an experienced player and a fantastic professional to further enhance the standards being set by the boys.

“The coaches and I felt that Adam’s leadership, skillset and character make him a great fit within our group.”

Ian Blease said: “It’s great to announce Adam Sidlow has returned to the Salford Red Devils.

“When I first met Adam, it became apparent  that he had clear passion for our club and couldn’t wait to sign and come back – it showed to me he is the right fit for our club again.

“Adam talked about showing the fans how he has developed his game and matured over the year and wants to prove he is a first-rate front rower.

“Adam wanted to be part of our set-up going forward and was excited on how far we have come as a club over the last six years or so. He is now an experienced player who will add presence and size to our pack and will look to lead from the front.”

Sidlow is available for sponsorship in 2023 and you can contact hannah.edge@salfordreddevils.net for more information!

Factfile | Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils | Dacia Magic Weekend

We’ve got a special stat-packed ‘Factfile’ this week covering everything you need to know about Salford’s history at the Dacia Magic Weekend and our upcoming fixture against Catalans Dragons.
Magic Weekend
Salford are one of eleven teams to have featured at the Magic Weekend on ten or more occasions. The Red Devils have competed at the Magic Weekend ten times, the same amount as Castleford Tigers and Hull Kingston Rovers.
Salford currently sit 9th in the all-time Magic Weekend table with eight points (four wins), the same as Hull FC with the Black and Whites having played one more game at the event. A win against Catalans on Sunday would see Ian Watson’s side climb to 8th in the all-time table as they currently trail the Dragons by one point however the Frenchmen have played one more fixture at the Magic Weekend.
Salford at the Magic Weekend
Salford’s Magic Weekend record didn’t get off to a good start with the Red Devils failing to win any of their opening four games at the event.
Warrington beat Salford in Cardiff in 2007 18-50 in a season which saw the Red Devils relegated meaning they missed out on a place in Cardiff the year after.
Once Salford returned to the top flight they suffered defeats in Edinburgh in 2009 and 2010. Harlequins beat Salford 16-24 before Warrington once again earned a dominant victory, 16-68.
Wales-based Crusaders overcame Salford 42-12 in 2011 as the Magic Weekend returned to Cardiff. However, the Dacia Magic Weekend moved closer to home and it garnered the Red Devils first win at the event as Adam Sidlow’s late try won the game 38-34 against Huddersfield Giants.
Another year in Manchester marked another victory for Salford as they edged out Widnes Vikings 28-22. However, Salford couldn’t remain unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium as the Vikings returned the favour a year later with a 30-24 win.
Widnes and Salford shared victories in the first two events at Newcastle’s St James’ Park. The Red Devils won their most recent Dacia Magic Weekend fixture with a 22-36 win over event debutants Leigh Centurions in the Toon.
Catalans at the Magic Weekend
Catalans have a similar record to Salford at the Dacia Magic Weekend winning four, losing six however they have played an extra game which they drew.
The Frenchmen’s first two Magic Weekend appearances came against Harlequins RL (Now London Broncos) with a narrow 28-32 in 2007 before an even smaller margin of victory a year later as Catalans won 18-16.
In Edinburgh, Catalans suffered defeats to Leeds and Castleford before another loss at the hands of Harlequins RL in Cardiff in 2011. The Dragons finally ended their losing-streak at the Dacia Magic Weekend in 2012 as they overcame London Broncos (Previously known as Harlequins RL).
A 42-18 win over London in 2012 was followed up by an almost identical win in 2013 as they ran-out 46-18 win at the Etihad Stadium. Catalans earned a two-point victory over London in 2014 at Newcastle before a 22-22 draw with Huddersfield Giants in 2015.
Wakefield Trinity edged out the French side thanks to a monster Jacob Miller drop-goal in 2016 before Catalans lost to Huddersfield 10-18 in last year’s event.
Scoring in Salford games at Magic Weekend
Luke Dorn crossed for Salford’s first-ever Dacia Magic Weekend try in the 18-50 loss against Warrington in 2007. Martin Gleeson crossed in this game for Warrington and would score for Salford in the event six years later.
Dorn – alongside Gleeson – was a player who scored both for and against Salford at the Dacia Magic Weekend as he crossed for Harlequins RL when the sides met in 2009. Richie Myler is also amongst the list of players to score for and against Salford crossing for the Red Devils in 2009 before scoring a brace for Wire a year later in 2010.
Stefan Ratchford scored a brace for Salford in this game which he followed up with another double a year later against Warrington. Ratchford is Salford’s all-time top try-scorer at the event with four tries.
While Ratchford sits on two doubles at the event there’s a host of other Red Devils who have also scored braces at the Dacia Magic Weekend – Joel Moon (2012), Jodie Broughton (2012), Adam Sidlow (2012), Jordan James (2013), Daniel Vidot (2016), Ben Murdoch-Masila (2017) and Greg Johnson (2017). Salford are yet to have a player score a hat-trick at the Dacia Magic Weekend.
However, three players have scored hat-tricks against the Red Devils at the Dacia Magic Weekend – Michael Witt (Crusaders, 2011), Joe Mellor (Widnes, 2013) and Kevin Brown (Widnes, 2015).
Of the current squad, Greg Johnson leads the way with Dacia Magic Weekend tries sitting on three after a double last year against Leigh Centurions alongside a solitary try versus Widnes in 2015. Junior Sa’u (2014), Kris Welham (2017) and Niall Evalds (2017) are the other current Salford players to score for the Club at the event.
Head-to-Head
Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons have had shared success in recent seasons with three wins apiece in the fixture since a memorable 40-40 draw in March 2015.
The Red Devils have won each of the last two meetings between the teams both coming in the form of dominant home victories at the The Salford Stadium – 32-16 (March 2018), 50-12 (May 2017).
The back and forth results against each other have been a regular feature since Catalans’ inclusion into Betfred Super League with Salford winning 11, the Dragons winning on 12 occasions and there being one draw between the two sides.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the sides at the Dacia Magic Weekend.

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