Match report | Wakefield Trinity 14-12 Salford Red Devils

Salford Red Devils succumbed to a second successive Super League defeat as Wakefield Trinity triumphed 14-12 in a nail-biting clash at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday evening.
The hosts were dominant in the early stages and took the lead in the 5th minute when Scott Grix spotted a gap in the Salford backline before breaking 20m to power over the whitewash, Liam Finn successfully kicked the extras to extend the lead to 6-0.
Salford responded well and were unfortunate not to have claimed their first score of the contest less than ten minutes later as Josh Wood attempted to find the onrushing Jake Bibby in the right-hand corner, but the ball was out of the winger’s reach and saw him knock the ball on.
The home side almost claimed their second try of the contest as confusion in Salford’s defence saw Referee James Child call upon Video Referee Ben Thaler to determine whether the ball was touched down by a Wakefield player or not, fortunately Thaler did not award a try.
However, Wakefield extended their lead to an 8-point margin two minutes prior to the interval as Liam Finn converted a penalty in front of the posts.
Salford’s perseverance paid off seven minutes into the second period, an excellent break from Bibby kick-started the move before Rob Lui dived over from acting half-back which appeared to deceive the entire Wakefield line, Gareth O’Brien was unable to score the resulting goal.
Lui’s effort seemed to spur some life into the Salford ranks, seven minutes later The Red Devils levelled the scoring as Junior Sa’u broke down the left-hand side before finding the unchallenged Niall Evalds who had the simple task of crossing the try line, O’Brien again failed to convert the extras.
Despite a good spell of pressure from Salford, Trinity restored their lead after a looping cross-field kick from Ryan Hampshire outwitted everyone but Jacob Miller who caught the high ball before crossing over to claim his first try of the evening, Finn landed the goal to prolong his 100 percent kick record.
Wakefield were denied a try for the second time of the evening in the final ten minutes, Referee Child adjudged Tom Johnstone to have knocked on before the ball was grounded.
Salford showed determination throughout and scored in the final minute of the game as Kris Welham spun around the Wakefield line to touch down in the corner, O’Brien was unable to salvage Salford a point as his goal landed narrowly wide.
Wakefield Lineup: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Wood, England, Ashurst, Horo, Arona. Interchanges: Hampshire, Kirmond, Pauli, Huby
Salford Lineup: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy. Interchanges: Kopczak, Tomkins, Burgess, Nakubuwai
Wakefield Scorers:  Tries-  Grix (5’), Miller (65’)
Goals- Finn (6’, 37’, 66’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Lui (47’), Evalds (54’), Welham (80’)
Man of the Match: Weller Hauraki.
Referee: James Child
Touch Judges: J Roberts & R Thompson
By Ryan Booth

Match Preview | Wakefield Trinity vs Salford Red Devils | Friday 9th February

Ian Watson’s Salford Red Devils travel to the Mobile Rocket Stadium to face Wakefield Trinity in their opening Betfred Super League away game of the 2018 season and will be looking for their first competitive victory of the year.
Match Preview
Last season both Salford Red Devils and Wakefield Trinity were two of the surprise packages. Both sides managed to earn their places in the Super League Super 8s with The Red Devils earning their highest-ever Super League regular season finish.
While Salford started the season stronger, Wakefield finished the season in fine form and almost really upset the apple cart by earning a Super League semi-final spot but were just edged out by St Helens.
Both sides have strengthened in pre-season bringing in big names and will be looking to build on their positive campaigns last year. Salford are looking for their first win of the 2018 Super League season while Wakefield will want to make it back-to-back victories in front of their home crowd.
Last Time Out
The Red Devils didn’t have the perfect start to the 2018 season suffering a 12-40 defeat at the hands of Wigan Warriors. Kris Welham crossed early for Salford to open the scoring but unanswered tries from Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart (2), Morgan Escare, Liam Marshall (2) and Tony Clubb sealed victory for the visitors. Niall Evalds grabbed a late try for Salford.
As for Wakefield, they carried on where they left off last season defeating Betfred Super League newboys Hull Kingston Rovers. Tom Johnstone was pivotal crossing for a hat-trick while Bill Tupou, Liam Finn and debutant Ryan Hampshire all scored for Chris Chester’s men. Hull KR managed just a solitary try through Chris Clarkson after the break.
Previous Meetings
Salford overcame Wakefield in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final last season but lost the other three meetings against Trinity in the Super League and Super 8s.
However, the arrears are even in the last ten meetings between the sides with The Red Devils winning on five occasions and Wakefield similarly. Salford’s last victory at Trinity came in 2015 thanks to a Harrison Hansen double – more details in this week’s factfile here.
In this week’s flashback we took a trip down memory lane to a memorable 32-6 win over Wakefield in 2011 which you can read here.
This week’s head-to-head sees us pit two young wingers against each other in Salford’s Jake Bibby and Wakefield’s Tom Johnstone. Both have broken into their respective teams in recent seasons and offer serious threats on the flank for both sides.
Bibby has really consolidated a regular first team spot in The Red Devils side and with Manu Vatuvei looking to be out for the season this really could his breakout season. As for Johnstone, he grabbed a hat-trick in Trinity’s opening game of the season against Hull Kingston Rovers and is looking to continue where he left off before his injury.
Whichever winger can keep the other one quietest this evening could well see their side come out on top.
Team News 
Greg Johnson and Mark Flanagan are the two people who leave the Salford squad this weekend with Ben Nakubuwai and Logan Tomkins coming into the 19-man squad. Tomkins has recovered from a small knock which saw him miss last weekend’s game against hometown Club Wigan Warriors.
Craig Huby is set to make his first appearance for Wakefield since returning from an injury which saw him miss the backend of last season. Pauli Pauli, Ryan Hampshire and Justin Horo could all be set to make their home debut for Trinity.
Wakefield: Arona, Ashurst, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Finn, Grix, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Huby, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Kirkmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Tupou, Wood.
Salford: O’Brien, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Kopczak, Tomkins, Griffin, Jones, Hauraki, Tasi, Burgess, McCarthy, Nakubuwai, Wood, Olpherts, Mossop, Bibby.

Ian Watson names 19-man squad to face Wakefield on Friday

Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for our trip to Wakefield Trinity on Friday evening. 
Derrell Olpherts and Ben Nakubuwai could be set to make their first Betfred Super League appearances for The Red Devils after both being named in the 19-man squad.
Logan Tomkins returns to the squad after missing out last weekend with a small knock.
The full squad can be seen below:

Mark Flanagan – “I think we need to start well again”

Salford Red Devils team captain Mark Flanagan attended the 2018 Super League launch yesterday at the John Smith’s Stadium. 
The loose-forward spoke to Rugby AM about Salford’s ambitions for the upcoming season and hopes the side can achieve something special this year.
Flanagan, sponsored by Sparta Lightning Services, said: “It’s been tough training.
“We’ve been doing a lot of wrestling and a lot of defence so hopefully we should start off with a good defensive record.
“We’ve got some new recruits Jack Littlejohn and Ben Nakubuwai from Australia and Luke Burgess has returned to the Club and he’s been training really well.
“Some new faces and some old faces as well who are ready to go and just hoping for the season to start tomorrow to be honest because it has been a long cold pre-season.”
“I think we need to start well again.
“If we can replicate we’ll be in a good position I think you need a bit of luck we were unlucky with injuries last year we lost a lot of key personnel at the same time.
“I think it’s just kicking on to the next level we were in a good position to do well and win some silverware last year probably fell down at the last hurdle but we’ll gain from the experience.
“I think the lads will be better prepared this season and there’s no reason why we can’t really do something special this year.”
Flanagan missed the last third of the 2017 season with a shoulder injury and is aiming to get a full season under his belt with the Red Devils this time around.
Flanagan said: “Off the field keep being happy and keep smiling and on the field just keep playing hopefully stay injury free and lets do something special and maybe win something get to a final and really kick on from last year.”

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.

Three talking points – Salford Red Devils 50-12 Swinton Lions

Following a 50-12 pre-season victory over local rivals Swinton Lions we take a look at three talking points from the game
1. Impressive Debutants
Yesterday’s game saw a handful of Red Devils wear the Salford shirt for the first time with Levy Nzoungou, Gavin Bennion, Ben Nakubuwai, Jack Littlejohn and Derrell Olpherts all debuted for Salford.
Australian half-back Jack Littlejohn was named as the press’ Man of the Match before also winning the Twitter Man of the Match poll after a fantastic opening performance. Levy Nzoungou and Ben Nakubuwai displayed their power in the forwards making yards with every carry.
Both Derrell Olpherts and Gavin Bennion found themselves on the scoresheet with the former Newcastle Thunder centre finishing off two flowing moves before Bennion powered over in the closing stages.
I’m sure all the Red Devils fans are looking to see more of the new additions.
2. Young guns on show
This pre-season friendly was the perfect opportunity for Ian Watson to try out all his players and youngsters Josh Wood, Jake Bibby and Daniel Murray all got a runout.
Josh Wood was one of the standout performers for the Red Devils breaking the Swinton line on multiple occasions with his quick jump from acting half-back.
Jake Bibby became a regular starter at the backend of the 2017 season and it’s clear to see why with another solid performance in the back line. Daniel Murray made an impact of the bench and will be a real contender for a starting position in the forwards this season.
3. Rugby in the local area
If there’s one thing to take from the yesterday’s game it’s that there is definitely an appetite for Rugby League in the local area with both Salford and Swinton putting on a great showing on the field with the fans turning up in numbers.
Both clubs are entering new eras and it will be exciting to see how both sides progress both on and off the field throughout 2018 and onwards.

Ian Watson – “A few of them impressed me to be fair”

Following an impressive 50-12 victory over local rivals Swinton Lions, Salford Red Devils Head Coach Ian Watson praised the performances of his new additions. 
Levy Nzoungou, Ben Nakubuwai, Gavin Bennion, Jack Littlejohn and Derrell Olpherts all wore the Red Devils shirt for the first time and Watson was impressed with all of them.
Watson said: “A few of them impressed me to be fair. I thought Derrell took his opportunities well he was strong in his back field play as well.
“Levy did well as well when he came on in his spell he was good in his wrestle and ran strongly and was really difficult to put down but all of the guys have stepped up and put their hand up to say I’m here.”
“Gavin Bennion finished off with a nice try at the end there as well but we did have a bit of a scare at the beginning as we thought he’d done his neck but it seems alright now.
“So all the new guys who have come in on the backend of last season have adapted really well and jumped on board with what we’re trying to do and what we’re about as a Club so it’s good.”
Overall Watson was happy to give the majority of his squad a runout and help them continue to gel as a team under the pressure of an actual game.
Watson said: “It was important just to get a little bit of continuity between some of the guys and the spine of the team in a game situation so having a good run there and coming through it healthy is a big plus for us.
“I thought the way we kind of set up from the beginning the team outlined what we wanted to get out of the game which was to start well and we started really well and I’d say the teams application on the back of it was the main thing for us today.”
One player who didn’t feature despite being named in the matchday squad was Kriss Brining however Watson cleared up any injury worries surrounding the former York City Knights hooker.
Watson said: “Kriss Brining just had a little twinge in his neck but he’s fine if it had been a cup final he could have probably played but it was pointless risking him in a pre-season friendly when you’ve got Josh Wood playing the way he did and Logan out there as well.”

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:

League Express name two Red Devils in their ones to watch

Rugby League Newspaper League Express have named two Salford Red Devils in their ones to watch for the 2018 Super League season.
New signing Levy Nzoungou was named as the Salford’s ‘Rookie to excite us in 2018’ with the League Express tipping the French forward to make an impact off the bench with his ‘tremendous strength and leg speed’.
Nzoungou joined the Red Devils from Championship side Toulouse Olympique after successful spells in the youth ranks at St Helens and Melbourne Storm.
Meanwhile, fellow 2018 acquisition Ben Nakubuwai has been named as one of ’23 under 23’s to watch in 2018’ by the League Express.
Nakubuwai had an impressive 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaign which saw him make five appearances for Fiji on their road to the semi-finals. The World Cup star comes to the The Salford Stadium after a spell in the NRL with Gold Coast Titans.
Both Nzoungou and Nakubuwai could make their first team debuts for the Salford Red Devils this weekend in our opening pre-season friendly against Swinton Lions on Sunday.
Our 2018 Season Launch will also take place on Sunday in the 1873 suite from 10:30am.
Tickets for our Season Launch event (including game ticket) are priced as follows:
Adult (Season Ticket Holder): £13
Concession (Season Ticket Holder): £8
Adult (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £15
Concession (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £10
Regular ticket prices for just the game are:
Adult: £10
Concession: £5
Tickets for our opening pre-season friendly against Swinton are available at the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
Also, Season Tickets for our 2018 Super League season are still available at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or online here. Remember, if you wish to pay for your 2018 Season Ticket in six monthly Direct Debit instalments you must purchase from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone.

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