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.
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.

Three talking points – Warrington Wolves 18-6 Salford Red Devils

After suffering a 18-6 defeat at the hands of Warrington in our second pre-season friendly of 2018 we take a look at three talking points from the game.

  1. The battle in the halves

There is a real fight underway for the half-back shirts at Salford with Rob Lui, Gareth O’Brien and Jack Littlejohn all having put good cases forward to start the first game of the Betfred Super League season against Wigan in less than two weeks time.
Lui and O’Brien started in the halves against Warrington yesterday with Lui grabbing the Red Devils sole try. O’Brien has adapted well to his way into the halves after a few years at full-back while Littlejohn entered the fray in the second half and was a constant threat.
O’Brien eluded to the competition for places in his pre-Warrington interview and this can already be seen in the push for a half-back spot. This can only be good for the Red Devils attack in 2018. 

  1. Josh Jones’ performance

One standout performer for Ian Watson’s side at the Halliwell Jones Stadium yesterday was second-row Josh Jones.
Jones was tasked with keeping Ben Murdoch-Masila quiet throughout the game and he man did an excellent job matching the former Salford man physically even forcing him to knock-on.
The former St Helens man was also dangerous going forward with his offload game opening a few opportunities for Salford. Last year Jones switched between the centres and back-row but if he continues to play like he did yesterday there is no doubt he’ll cement a permanent spot in the second-row.

  1. Former Salford men

Despite Jones keeping Murdoch-Masila quiet for the majority of the game it was two former Red Devils who unlocked the Salford defence and helped Wire to victory.
The Tongan forward managed to get a hand free in the closing stages of the first half and offload to Joe Philbin to level the scores going into the interval.
In the opening stages of the second half it was another former Red Devil in Stefan Ratchford who managed to reach out and plant the ball down to give Warrington a lead which they didn’t surrender despite Salford’s best efforts.

Steve Price – “It was a good hit-out”

Following today’s pre-season friendly defeat at the Halliwell Jones Stadium new Warrington Wolves Coach Steve Price gave us his thoughts on a tough game against the Red Devils. 
Price said: “It was a good hit-out it was what we needed I thought defensively we’re at it at the moment.
“Systematically I thought we were quite sound a try off the rebound off the post give them the six points but overall I thought we had good leg speed through the middle.
“Our decision making on an edge I thought was quite sound so that was really positive there’s a few things we have to work on in our offence.
“As I said things are going to take a little bit of time with combinations in the short period with our World Cup players but happy with it at the moment.”
The new Wolves boss also spoke of the importance a former Red Devil could play in Warrington’s 2018 Betfred Super League season.
Price said: “As everyone knows he’s [Ben Murdoch-Masila] is quite damaging on an edge and he set up that try for Joe Philbin just prior to half-time.
“He’s a special player and it’s important we utilise Ben in the way what’s going to make our team better.”

In the Know – Warrington Wolves

In the second episode of our new weekly feature called ‘In the Know’ we speak to League Express journalist Matt Shaw (@M_Shaw1) as he gives the lowdown on all things Warrington Wolves.

Warrington had a difficult season last year. Do you feel they’ll have put that behind them and we’ll see the Warrington of old in 2018?

Yes, but not instantly. There will be a bedding in period for Steve Price and the new-look squad, but you can’t keep a good team down and Wire will eventually come good.

They’ve made a few big signings this year. What do you think these sort of players will bring to the Warrington squad?

I think as a collective unit they’ll bring a freshness to the squad. Life under Tony Smith sadly became stale after a fantastic spell, but they say a coach has a lifespan and that can probably relate to a squad too. There’s no doubting the talent they’ve recruited. It’s certainly an exciting year.

Obviously one signing is Ben Murdoch-Masila who was formerly with Salford. What do you think he’ll offer to Wire?

An obvious observation, granted, but he’ll give them some much needed size. Over the past two years we’ve seen more and more clubs go for bigger forwards. Hull FC and Wakefield are the best examples. In comparison, Warrington probably lacked that sheer size in the pack compared to others. Big Ben will help change that.

They’ve got a new Coach in Steve Price. What do you know about him and how do you expect Warrington to play under his stewardship?

Steve comes with a fantastic reputation, but not so much for the expansive attacking play we’ve come to expect from Warrington. When I first interviewed him his go-to phrase was “tough to beat.” He’s a defensive based coach and that will mean a noticeable change to Warrington’s brand of rugby.

Overall, what are your predictions for Warrington in 2018?

A steady start that will see them go under the radar before picking up momentum once the Super 8s arrive. Will it be their year? Very hard to say, but if you were judging it on mere quality, they’ve every chance.

Score prediction: 20-14

Warrington Wolves vs Salford Red Devils – Preview

Salford are set to face Warrington in their second pre-season friendly before the beginning of the 2018 Betfred Super League season.
The Red Devils head to the Halliwell Jones Stadium (3pm kick-off) looking to make it two wins from two in pre-season.
Match Preview 
This weekend’s match will make it two derby matches in quick succession for the Red Devils after beating Swinton last weekend.
Last season was a difficult one for Warrington who finished in the bottom four and had to fight their way through The Qualifiers to secure Super League rugby for another season. However, new coach Steve Price has arrived at the Club and has been very active in his transfer activity which many feel will make Wire a serious threat in Super League in 2018.
Salford managed to do the double over Warrington last season earning a narrow victory at the The Salford Stadium before a memorable 38-12 victory at the Halliwell Jones Stadium at the backend of May marked seven consecutive wins for Ian Watson’s men.
Last Time Out
It was a comfortable victory for Ian Watson’s men in their first game of the year as they ran out 50-12 winners over local rivals Swinton at the The Salford Stadium. Greg Johnson, Tyrone McCarthy, Kris Welham, Niall Evalds, Gareth O’Brien, Derrell Olpherts, Robert Lui and Gavin Bennion all getting in on the act in a nine-try performance.
Warrington head into the game on the back of a pre-season victory over Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena last weekend. The Wolves earned a hard-fought 10-24 victory over Rochdale but did have a number of regular first teamers absent from the side. Luis Johnson, Harvey Livett, George King and Taylor Prell grabbed the visitors tries.
Previous Meetings 
As mentioned, Salford managed to win back-to-back games against Warrington in 2017 however it hasn’t always been plain sailing against the Wolves. Before last season the Red Devils suffered nine straight defeats against Warrington.
The Red Devils have only won two of their last eleven visits to Warrington however they have won their most recent as well as a memorable win in 2011 which you can read about here.
This week’s head-to-head sees one of our new additions take on a former Salford forward as we pit Ben Nakubuwai against Ben Murdoch-Masila. Both men had terrific World Cup campaigns both reaching the semi-finals with Fiji and Tonga, respectively.
Both forwards are dangerous in the opposition third and can power their way over the line on the back of a short ball and we could see a real battle between the two Bens this weekend.
Team News
Ian Watson will be running with a similar squad to last weekend’s fixture against Swinton. Kriss Brining, who didn’t feature last weekend, will again miss out as a precaution however Luke Burgess is set to make his first appearance since returning to the The Salford Stadium. Ryan Lannon is serving his second game of a three-match suspension.
Former Red Devil Ben Murdoch-Masila could feature in his first game for Warrington following a successful World Cup campaign with Tonga. Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown and Chris Hill all come into the squad but Ben Westwood isn’t named.
Full Squads
Salford: (Starting Line-Up): Niall Evalds, Derrell Olpherts, Jake Bibby, Junior Sa’u, Manu Vatuvei; Robert Lui, Gareth O’Brien; Lee Mossop, Josh Wood, Lamai Tasi, Josh Jones, Weller Hauraki, Tyrone McCarthy. (Interchanges): Greg Johnson, Kris Welham, Jack Littlejohn, Craig Kopczak, George Griffin, Mark Flanagan, Luke Burgess, Ben Nakubuwai, Levy Nzoungou, Daniel Murray, Gavin Bennion.
Warrington: Ryan Atkins, Kevin Brown, Mitch Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, Jack Johnson, Luis Johnson, George King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Pat Moran, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Taylor Prell, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell, Morgan Smith.
Tickets are still available from the Club Ticket Office for tomorrow’s game at Warrington or alternatively you can purchase tickets tomorrow from the the Warrington Ticket Office prior to kick-off.

Ben Murdoch-Masila leaves Salford for Warrington

Salford Red Devils can confirm that Ben Murdoch-Masila has signed for Warrington Wolves.
Ben Murdoch-Masila has been a great person and player to have at the Club and was loved by everyone. Everyone at Salford would like to wish Ben the best of luck and thank him for his efforts over the past two seasons.
As disappointing as it was allowing Ben to leave it will now enable the Club to strengthen and kick on from last season’s success.
Ian Watson has been actively scouting for the players he feels he needs to make this Salford squad a force to be reckoned with for a second consecutive season.
Purchasing your Season Tickets ahead of a 2018 season enables the Red Devils move forward on and off the field.

Three Red Devils named for match day one of the RLWC

Four Salford Red Devils have been named in their respective countries squads for the opening round of fixtures in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Craig Kopczak is set to captain the Welsh side in their first group game against Papua New Guinea at the Oil Search NSF Stadium in Port Moresby at 5:00am (3pm PGT).
Manu Vatuvei has been named in the Tonga squad for their opener against Scotland on Sunday at Barlow Park, Cairns with a 6:15am kick-off (17:15 AEDT).
Fellow mid-season signing Tyrone McCarthy will feature for Ireland as they take on Italy at Barlow Park, Cairns prior to the Tonga vs Scotland game in the first double-header. The game will kick-off at 4:00am (15:00 AEDT).
All three games are set to be shown in full on Premier Sports.
Salford Red Devils 2018 Season Tickets are still on sale with the ‘early bird’ window now having less than two weeks remaining. Supporters will need to purchase before the 3rd November if they wish to pay for their 2018 Season Ticket via Direct Debit. All 2018 Season Ticket prices can be found here while a full Direct Debit breakdown can be found here. 

Vatuvei included in Tonga’s Rugby League World Cup squad

Manu Vatuvei has been named in the Tongan squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
Vatuvei, who debuted and scored for Tonga earlier in the year after featuring regularly for New Zealand, joined the Red Devils midway through the season.
The former New Zealand Warriors winger scored five tries in eight games since joining Salford prior to the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Ben Murdoch-Masila has also been included in the squad following a fantastic season at Salford.
Kristian Woolf’s Tongan side are set to face Scotland in Cairns on 29th October before facing rivals Samoa and New Zealand in Hamilton on the 4th and 11th November.
The full Tongan squad is as follows:
Andrew Fifita, Mahe Fonua, David Fusitu’a, Siliva Havilli, Ata Hingano, Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, Michael Jennings, Solomone Kata, Sione Katoa, Samisoni Langi, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sika Manu, Manu Ma’u, Sam Moa, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Ofahengaue, Tevita Pangai Jnr, Ukuma Ta’ai, Sio Siua Taukieaho, Jason Taumalolo, Peni Terepo, Daniel Tupou, Manu Vatuvei.

Ben Murdoch-Masila is named in the 2017 Super League Dream Team

Salford Red Devils back-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila has been named in the 2017 Super League Dream Team.
The Tongan forward has crossed for 14 Super League tries this season and was the form forward in the league in a run which saw Salford win 12 out of 13 games on the run in all competitions.
Murdoch-Masila becomes the first Red Devil to appear in the Super League Dream Team since David Hodgson back in 2006.
Murdoch-Masila said: “It was a massive surprise for me to be selected but I am delighted with being named in the team.
“There’s some really good players been named in this side and to be amongst them means a lot to me.
“We’ve had a real good season this year particularly if you look back to where we were at last season. Of course, we’d have liked to have kicked on and pushed a little more in the Super 8s but we’re heading in the right direction.
“I’ve just done my bit for the side throughout the season and scored a few tries. Now, I’m looking forward to a bit off and spending some time with my family who have been supportive of me since I first arrived at Salford.”
Seven Super League clubs are represented in this year’s team with League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford Tigers (6) dominating the selection along with Hull FC (2), Huddersfield Giants (1), St Helens (1), Leeds Rhinos (1), Salford Red Devils (1) and Wigan Warriors (1).
The 2017 Dream Team features eight players making their debut, including Huddersfield Giants’ Sebastine Ikahihifo, St Helens’ centre Mark Percival and Leeds Rhinos hooker Matt Parcell, who makes his debut in his first year in Super League.
Wigan Warriors and England Captain Sean O’Loughlin makes his sixth Dream Team appearance – his last appearance was in 2014.
All three players shortlisted for the prestigious Steve Prescott Man of Steel award: Albert Kelly, Zak Hardaker and Luke Gale are included.
Joining Hardaker and Gale from Castleford Tigers, who have the most representatives in the Dream Team, are centre Michael Shenton and debutants Greg Eden, Grant Millington and Mike McMeeken.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup winners Hull FC have two representatives in the Dream Team – Albert Kelly, who features for the first time and Mahe Fonua, who appears for the second consecutive year. The Betfred Super League Dream Team is selected by a panel of the sport’s broadcasters and journalists in a secret ballot and represents the form team of the Betfred Super League season.
The 2017 Betfred Super League Dream Team is as follows:

  1. Zak Hardaker (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2017)
  2. Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  3. Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 3 (2014, 2015, 2017)
  4. Mark Percival (St Helens) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  5. Mahe Fonua (Hull FC) Dream Team appearances: 2 (2016, 2017)
  6. Albert Kelly (Hull FC) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  7. Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 3 (2015, 2016, 2017)
  8. Grant Millington (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  9. Matt Parcell (Leeds Rhinos) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  10. Sebastine Ikahihifo (Huddersfield Giants) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  11. Ben Murdoch-Masila (Salford Red Devils) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  12. Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers) Dream Team appearances: 1 (2017)
  13. Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors) Dream Team appearances: 6 (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017)

Factfile – Leeds Rhinos vs Salford Red Devils

Salford’s record against the Rhinos since the incarnation of Super League doesn’t make for pretty reading with just two wins in 40 Super League fixtures. However, the Red Devils did overcome Leeds last season with a 14-10 victory at home. But, the Red Devils haven’t been as fortunate at Headingley with just one win at Leeds in over twenty years.
The victory was a 20-30 triumph back in 2009 with youngsters such as Richie Myler, Stefan Ratchford and Jordan Turner all featuring for the Red Devils. The win was made even more impressive due to the fact Salford had just been promoted and the Rhinos would go on to win both the League Leaders’ Shield and the Super League that season.
Last weekend Kris Welham crossed twice as the Red Devils cruised past Huddersfield with a 52-14 victory at the The Salford Stadium. Welham’s first marked his 100th Super League try before he then notched his 1o1st just 25 minutes later. The centre has scored 90 Super League tries for his former side Hull KR and has now grabbed 11 tries in the league for the Red Devils this season.
George Griffin, who is included in this weekend’s 19-man squad after being injured last weekend, could also be set to make his 100th Super League appearance. Griffin has appeared in Super League 18 times for Hull KR, 19 times for London Broncos, 5 times for Wakefield and has now featured 57 times since arriving at the The Salford Stadium back in 2015.
While the Red Devils are yet to beat Leeds this season they did come close in February losing out 14-20. Logan Tomkins grabbed his only try of the season in the defeat at Headingley earlier in the season. Tomkins also crossed the last time the Red Devils beat Leeds back in 2016 while Josh Wood, who started at hooker the last time the sides met, also scored from acting half-back.
Ben Murdoch-Masila didn’t feature in the trop to Headingley at the start of the 2017 season however he managed to power his way over twice when Salford welcomed Leeds to the The Salford Stadium in July. Murdoch-Masila is currently level with full-back Niall Evalds as the Red Devils top Super League try-scorer.
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the 2017 season against St Helens on Thursday 21st September. Tickets can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Supporters are reminded that season tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games but are encouraged to look at our fantastic hospitality offer for them for our final home game. 

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