DEPLETED RED DEVILS IN TOUGH TEST

Salford Red Devils 4  Leigh Leopards 44                  Match Report

Just three weeks after ratchetting up a colossal 90-0 victory over Castleford at the Mend-a Hose Jungle, in last Sunday’s home fixture with Leigh Leopards, the Red Devils, though a considerably better team, found themselves in a not dissimilar position to that of the unfortunate Tigers, as the visiting Leopards cut loose in the first half.

To be fair, this Leigh team has been by far and away the stand-out side in the women’s Championship League, this season, putting considerable scorelines, well in excess of this one, against a number of other teams

Meanwhile, the Salford side, which had had a most impressive win, away at Hull KR, in their last outing, was, this time out, lacking several key players, who had been replaced by others, newly recruited, and making their debuts here.  This was compounded, as the game proceeded, by a number of injuries to the team, all of which made the task all the harder.

Nevertheless, despite a difficult first half, the group used the half time interval to galvanise themselves to put on a much more competitive second forty, which limited the opposition to less than half of the points they had scored before half time.

The Reds got their reward, fifteen minutes from time, when they succeeded in scoring their try.  Having acquired good field position, the players realised that this might prove to be a possibility, and put in some good hit ups towards the line.  The last of these, by Emily Bagguley, succeeded in sucking in defenders to stop her, as she powered towards the line.

Realising this, dummy half, Taz Corcoran, sent the ball towards the flank, to prop, Emerald Hickey, who carried it forward into a melee of defenders, and then succeeded in sending out the sweetest of passes to the supporting Jadine McVernon, who had timed her run to perfection to finish off the try.

The fact that they had scored against such a dominant opposition was most rewarding for the whole team, so that they had not been nilled, especially for those who had contributed over and above in terms of effort and impact, such as loose forward, Sophie Morris, who was absolutely outstanding, throughout the whole game despite everything.

This was a one-off encounter, which is unlikely to be repeated again, with the remaining six fixtures appearing quite winnable, and enabling the team to feature in the end of season playoffs.

As one absent member of the squad put it to me, afterwards

“Once we are all back fit and well, we will be able to match Leigh quite competently, when we eventually have to play them in the play offs”.

SALFORD

Alex Simpson, Marnie-Lee Kelly, Caitlin Washington, Kim Seddon, Megan Hoblin, Ellie Costello, Sam Evans, Olivia Hill, Tamzin Corcoran, Emily Bagguley, Summer Harris, Jadine McVernon, Sophie Morris

Interchanges:

Abi Collins, Emerald Hickey, Lily Gray, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor

18th Player – Hannah Wicks

TRIBUTE TO BILL BURGESS

Salford Red Devils were greatly saddened to learn of the passing of their former, international winger, Bill Burgess, on Tuesday last, 11th June, following a long illness.

Born and brought up in Barrow, Bill followed his father, of the same name, in joining his home town rugby league club, from Fylde Rugby Union Club, in 1962, for the exceptionally large fee, at that time, of seven thousand pounds.

His rugby league career began with an away match at Doncaster, where he crossed for a hat-trick of tries, and he went on to play a total of two hundred and twenty-two appearances for Barrow, scoring one hundred and seventy-nine tries, which included an average of one per match over his first two seasons.

Representative honours were quick to follow, being selected by first, Lancashire for whom he scored ten tries in eleven matches, and then in 1963 for Great Britain, with whom he went on to tour Australia and New Zealand, in 1966.

In December 1968, he moved south to join Salford for a fee of six thousand pounds, at the very same time as the club signed forward, Colin Dixon, from Halifax, and the dual announcement made headlines in the news, on the day.

What had made him stand out to the club officials was his incredible running style, which was so graceful, and seemed almost effortless, even on the muddiest of pitches, but was accompanied by the ability to change direction, swerve around players, and also beat them by a change of pace.  Even when he appeared to be going full out he always seemed to be able to increase it even further when challenged by anyone.

His Salford debut came on 20 December, in a home game against Wakefield Trinity, and he went on to make a total of forty-four appearances, in which he scored thirty-three tries.  One of the most important of these was in the full-house, home quarter-final Challenge Cup tie, against Widnes. The ball was moved along the line to the right, which was the flank upon which he was always to be found, and thanks to a flip on to him, rather than a catch and pass, by loose forward Ron Hill, the extra time this provided, enabled Bill to round his opponent in the corner for the crucial score of the game.

Salford went on to reach Wembley for their first, post war appearance, whilst, for Bill, it was his second consecutive visit there, having been on the losing side to Featherstone Rovers, the previous year.

Sadly, this second final was not to be one that he would be able to relish, owing to a collision with a Castleford forward, as he chased through from the kick-off, and although he remained on the field for the remainder of the game, his contribution was significantly curtailed as a consequence, with the Yorkshire side going on to lift the trophy.

Over the two seasons he remained here he represented Great Britain once, England on two occasions, and once for Lancashire.

Unfortunately, his later months were impaired by a troublesome shoulder injury, and when, in what turned out to be his last match, a play-off game against Hull, at The Willows, on 19th April 1970, he dislocated shoulder for a second time, sadly he decided to retire from the game.

Nevertheless, throughout the rest of his life, he remained passionate about rugby league, whilst also remaining active, playing bowls, in his local community, where he continued to be an extremely popular figure, whilst being fondly remembered by all those throughout rugby, who knew him.

Our sympathy and condolences go out to his family, at this sad time.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Graham Morris – Club Historian

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: LONDON V SALFORD

It might not have been an all-singing all-dancing performance from the Salford Red Devils, on their visit to London, last Saturday, but in terms of efficiency in getting the job done and securing the important two league points, there can be no complaints at all.

Following the disappointment in their last outing, at Castleford, the players were all too well-aware that teams at the foot of the table can present as great a danger, particularly when they are at home, as teams at or near the top, and had clearly determined to ensure that that did not happen again.

To this end, therefore, priority had clearly been given to defence, and keeping their try line intact, in which they not only proved to be sufficiently able, but also had made a most accurate pre-match assessment.

Fixtureless weekends, although helpful in the medium and long term, bringing respite from the weekly hurly-burly of Super League and an opportunity for recovery from minor injuries, can, however, in the short term bring its own problems, with a certain small degree of ring-rustiness creeping in.

This, to a certain extent, seemed to be the case for Salford on attack, particularly in the first half, with timings of supporting runs and passes slightly below their norm, so that a number of scoring chances went begging. 

Two breaks down the left flank, both came to nothing when a score seemed imminent.  The first by Deon Cross was well supported by Marc Sneyd, but, unfortunately, he overran his winger, whose pass would have had to have gone forward in order to have been taken, while Shane Wright’s break ended with his having to take the fullback’s tackle as he had no-one close enough to pass to.

In order to break down the eager, hard-working defence of London they needed especially to build prolonged pressure, but errors prevented this, with dropped passes and end-of-set kicks going over the dead-ball line, the latter of which had the double whammy of presenting the Broncos with seven-tackle sets from the twenty-metre restarts.

What was needed above all was a consecutive number of back-to-back sets to wear down the opposition, but in fact it was London who were first to benefit from this with the opening try of the game coming from four such sets as a result of a Salford touch-in-flight, a penalty, and a forward pass on the Reds’ one extremely brief possession of the ball.  The resultant scrum from that last, gave them numerical advantage on their left edge to go in at the corner, in the 19th minute.

Realising that trying to go wide around the Broncos defence was not paying dividends Salford turned to what had shown to be a simpler and more effective process – that of strong forward drives up-field.  One, in the 25th minute started with Ryan Brierley taking the ball five metres out from his posts.  His forward carry was then followed by five drives up-field, aided by a set-restart on the third, and finished by Brierley’s half break to the line with his offload to Kallum Watkins for his first try of the season.  The first of Sneyd’s two successful conversions gave Salford the small but extremely important two-point half-time lead.

Signs that the half-time interval had been well spent came as early as three minutes after the restart, when a second set of possession was gained from a forced goal-line drop-out and an excellent cut-out pass from Sneyd to Cross put him in at the corner, similar in some respects to the Broncos’ opener.

The crucial incident of the second half, however, was the dismissal of King Vuniyayawa for what was deemed by the video referee to have been a dangerous tackle.  One can only praise, thereafter, the tactics and game management of the Salford players.  Slender as an eight-point lead might be, it was all they had, and they were totally committed to retaining it.

From that point onwards, the Broncos had barely a sniff at the Salford line.  They were almost totally contained in their own half, often starting their sets in the tightest of corners and barely being able to get past the twenty-metre line before having to take their end-of-set kicks.

Adding further to their score, whilst highly desirable was not absolutely essential, and retaining possession for each full set took priority with any chance of a repeat set being taken.  Sneyd’s, now impeccable, high kicks to the exceptional Nene Macdonald, caused panic within the home ranks on numerous occasions, and the centre’s pats backwards invariably found a Salford player.

The overturning of the on-field decision by the video referee, on Tim Lafai’s try, five minutes from the end, came as a complete surprise to everyone on the field, all of whom had taken up positions for its subsequent conversion attempt .Had it been allowed, it would have been some reward for the Red Devils’ valiant efforts in retaining their lead in such a convincing manner, in such adversity as they had found themselves.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

It is the unpredictability in sport, especially the result, which makes it so enthralling for so many of us.  The fact that the underdog might just win is what sparks our interest, while to be there for the odd occasion when that actually happens is absolutely thrilling, as all our fans, who travelled to the Totally Wicked Stadium for our recent victory over St Helens, will testify.

Not so, however, when you happen to be the side which had been expected to win, as was the case for Salford’s fixture at the Mend-A- Hose Jungle, against Castleford, last Friday evening, which proved to be a disappointment not only for those who made the trip over, but also those who watched it on tv.

In fairness to all connected with the team, the very fact that they were actually expected to win the encounter is a great testament to the progress they have made in recent seasons.  It was not that long ago that the thought of winning any match in Yorkshire, let alone at Castleford, proved to be somewhat fruitless, but the more successful a team is the more that this sort of disappointment is likely to happen.  If it can happen to St Helens, it can happen to anyone.

There had been some little warning in the games in which the two sides were involved the previous round, but it can also be argued that the seeds for this outcome were sown back in Round 2, when an extremely similar encounter, which also saw the game swing back and forth between the two sides ended with the Red Devils running out 26-22 victors.

The Tigers had been really disappointed at this, feeling that they had done enough to have won it themselves, and probably consoled themselves by briefly earmarking the return fixture as one to look forward to.  Certainly, once they got in control in the last quarter, on Friday, they were always going to find enough energy and endeavour to try and hold on, which they managed to do.

Not that there was any sign of this through the opening fifteen minutes, when Salford swept to an eight-point lead, from Deon Cross’s try and two goals from Marc Sneyd, and they looked as though they were capable of scoring with regularity.  The sinbinning of Amir Bourouh was an impediment but could not be said to have been a turning point, as the Tigers had already given clear warning of their capability and determination, through the first of Ines Senior’s tries down the left wing.

By the time Bourouh returned, the home side, with numerical advantage, had taken charge, but there was still time for the Red Devils to hit back then and to narrow the half-time score to 14-18, with Tim Lafae’s converted try.

With the slope in their favour and a half-time discussion to spur them on, Salford really stepped up a gear with two excellent tries from Nene Macdonald and Ryan Brierley to take the score to 18-24.

Probably the really big turning point of the game was the over-ruling by both referee and video ref of Cade Cust’s attempted score on 53 mins, owing to a knock-forward in the contest for possession, prior to the grounding.  So often, we have seen in televised matches, teams, which regain possession in such circumstances, launch a counter-attack ending with a try at the other end of the pitch, and it was with Senior’s second score that Castleford started their come-back.

It was the confidence this rekindled in the home side, which was the most telling factor, allied to their sheer desperation for the win.  The difference from then on between the two sides was that Salford really wanted to win, but Castleford so badly needed it, and were determined not to let this one slip in the way that they felt they had done at Salford, back in February.

MATCH REPORT – CASTLEFORD TIGERS 36-24 SALFORD RED DEVILS (ROUND 7)

Salford Red Devils were beaten by Castleford Tigers at the Jungle this evening.

Paul Rowley recalled David Nofoaluma into the starting line-up, with Amir Bourouh also replacing Joe Mellor at hooker.

Looking for a fifth win of the Betfred Super League season, Salford started on the front foot and notched the first points of the contest via a Marc Sneyd penalty-goal.

It wasn’t long until we were on the board again, with the in-form Ryan Brierley supporting a nice line break by Deon Cross to receive and stroll over.

Marc Sneyd added the extras to make it 0-8, but the momentum soon shifted in Cas’ favour.

Shifting the play left, Jack Broadbent found Innes Senior, who received the ball and shrugged off Cade Cust to make a break.

An ankle tap from Ryan Brierley tripped the winger, but with no other retreating Salford body nearby, Senior was able to regain his balance and go over.

Things for worse for the Red Devils when Amir Bourouh was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous lift; and the hosts capitalised just minutes later.

Another penalty placed Cas in prime position to hurt Salford’s defensive line, and it was Sam Hall who made the bust up the middle to crash over.

Sneyd was trying to wrestle back control and started to complete sets with smart kicks into touch, maybe with Bourouh’s sin-binning in mind.

However, from the next set, Liam Horne’s line break proved crucial. His neat offload to Namo was quickly closed down, but a quick play-the-ball and a chipped kick into the corner from Jacob Miller found Senior for his second of the night.

Salford got back into the contest just before the break, with Tim Lafai on the end of a nice passage of play involving Joe Shorrocks, Sneyd and Brierley to go over unopposed.

Sneyd narrowed the deficit to just four with his conversion, but big changes were certainly needed in the second forty.

That period was started in emphatic fashion, with Nene Macdonald racing 70 metres to score a stunning individual try in front of the travelling Salford faithful.

We went further in front a few minutes later, with Shorrocks this time the architect of a quick bust up the middle.

He was stopped by Broadbent, but managed to find a pass to the supporting Brierley, who slid over in the left corner.

However, Sneyd, for the first time this season, dragged his kick wide, ending an incredible run of 35 consecutive conversions.

In almost a carbon copy of the first-half, the game flipped on its head following a break from Senior.

He received the ball on halfway, skipped past a few Salford challenges before crossing for his hat-trick.

That was quickly followed by another breakaway try, this time from Brad Martin, who burst up the middle and crashed over the scrambling Brierley to score.

A penalty-goal further added to Salford’s woes and made it a two-score contest, before Senior made sure of the points by scoring his fourth.

There’s now a weeks’ break for Rowley’s men before we return to Betfred Super League action with a trip to newly-promoted London Broncos in Round 8.

MATCH FACTS:

Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, David Nofoaluma, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Cade Cust, Marc Sneyd, Jack Ormondroyd, Amir Bourouh, Shane Wright, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Oliver Partington.

Interchanges: King Vuniyayawa, Chris Atkin, Joe Shorrocks, Joe Mellor.

Tries: Ryan Brierley (2), Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (4/5)

Castleford Tigers line-up: Jack Broadbent, Josh Simm, Josh Hodson, Sam Wood, Innes Senior, Danny Richardson, Jacob Miller, Sam Hall, Liam Horne, Liam Watts, Alex Mellor, Elie El Zakhem, Joe Westerman.

Interchanges: Sylvester Namo, Brad Martin, Samy Kibula, Cain Robb.

Tries: Innes Senior (4), Brad Martin, Sam Hall

Conversions: Danny Richardson (6/7)

HT: 18-14

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin.

TEAM NEWS | TWO CHANGES FOR ROUND 7 ACTION

Paul Rowley has made two changes to the team who beat Leigh Leopards in Rivals Round.

After Betfred Challenge Cup elimination a week prior, Salford Red Devils bounced back with a fantastic team performance against Leigh Leopards.

Ryan Brierley scored twice on his 300th career appearance, with Ethan Ryan also scoring his first two for the club and Marc Sneyd adding to his already stellar start to the season with a try and six goals.

One of the two changes for Salford comes on the wing, with David Nofoaluma making his second appearance since joining the club.

Amir Bourouh also returns at hooker, in place of Joe Mellor, who drops to the interchange bench.

ORMONDROYD: “IT’S POSITIVE SIGNS FOR ME!”

Jack Ormondroyd is pleased with the progress he’s made in 2024.

The prop signed for Salford Red Devils in 2020 and has cemented himself as a regular member of the team under Head Coach, Paul Rowley.

Ahead of last season, Ormondroyd signed a new three-year deal, meaning he’ll be donning the red and white until at least 2025.

Reflecting on his own form, the 32-year-old admitted to our YouTube channel that he is back enjoying his rugby after a difficult season in 2023.

“It’s positive signs for me,” he began.

“I think I had a bit of a dip last year, I don’t think I was great last year, so coming into this year I had a bit to prove to Rowls.

“I’m just trying to do the basics right and I’ve played a few more minutes than I did last year, so it’s good at the minute, and I’m enjoying it again.”

With four wins from six to kickstart the Betfred Super League campaign, Ormondroyd is happy with the teams’ level of performance, but also admits there’s plenty they can do to improve.

“Yeah, good – I think there’s always room for improvement. I think the two games we’ve lost were winnable games as well, so it’s positive signs.

“Like you say, a couple of months into the season and we’ve got plenty to go, so we’ve got a lot to work on still and hopefully we can keep ticking off them wins.”

Castleford Tigers lie in wait this evening; a team who currently sit without a point in 2024, but have showed plenty of resilience in the past few weeks.

“They’re a tough prospect,” Ormondroyd continued.

“They’re bottom of the league, which isn’t great for them, but watching the game last week against Leeds, they were all over them.

“If Leeds had defended a little bit worse there, they’d have scored a few tries, so there’s no easy games, and we’ll have to be on it if we want to get the win.”

Watch our full interview with Jack by clicking below.

ROWLEY: “IT’S BEEN A GOOD WEEK!”

Paul Rowley is aware of the talent Castleford Tigers posses, ahead of tonight’s meeting in Round 7.

On the back of Rivals Round success, Salford Red Devils head to Tiger Town looking for back-to-back wins and a fifth of the Betfred Super League season.

Ryan Brierley and Marc Sneyd were the stars of the show against Leigh Leopards, with the former scoring twice on his 300th career appearance.

Reflecting on the contest in his pre-match press conference, Rowley said: “We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low – that’s the way it goes.

“The week’s been good. We’re healthy, we’ve got a healthy team, other than your normal stuff, so it’s been a good week.”

Discussing what positives he and the coaching staff took from the performance, our Head Coach continued: “I thought we were a little bit sharper in attack.

“We executed better than we have been doing, but that’s been a working progress, building and growing, so we expected that.

“Also, it was good conditions to play in. I’m not sure we’ll take that into Friday night because it’ll be quite a difference, there’s been a little bit of rain, hasn’t there.”

“But we we’re connected in contrast to the previous weeks. So we were back connected, because we’ve been like that all season.

“I thought defensively we were very good as well, we just fell out of system for the tries, which we feel are solvable, so we we’re disappointed in them.

“However, overall, it’s a derby, to get the win was really pleasing and we’re sat in a decent position.”

Moving on to talk about tonight’s tussle, our Head Coach was quick to praise the ‘good rugby players’ Cas have in their ranks and reference why his Salford side have to be fully committed.

“There’s always an opportunity, no matter who we play and with that opportunity comes the risks, and the dangers with that.

“We’re up against a team with a lot of experienced rugby players, who are good rugby players; in particular Westerman, McShane, Miller, Richardson.

“They’ve got some really good footballers and I’ve said this previously when we’ve played against them.

“So if you dip your toe in the water, they’ll burn you and what we’ve seen in previous games with Castleford is that they’ve got a fair amount of spirit and they’ve got a lot of motivation to get a result this week at home

“It’s going to be a formidable task and one we’ve got to be fully committed for.”

Watch Paul’s full press conference by clicking below.

MATCH PREVIEW – CASTLEFORD TIGERS VS SALFORD RED DEVILS (ROUND 7)

The Red Devils travel to the Jungle in Round 7.

Four wins from six to start 2024 means Paul Rowley’s side sit in a healthy position ahead of a crucial run of Betfred Super League fixtures.

Last week’s victory was an impressive Rivals Round showing against Leigh Leopards, with Ryan Brierley starring on his 300th career appearance.

Ethan Ryan also notched his first two for the club and Marc Sneyd picked up yet another Man of the Match medal.

Next up are Castleford Tigers, a team who sit without a point so far this season, but have shown plenty of positives in their last few games.

In their last outing, some resolute defending from Leeds Rhinos kept out a barrage of Tigers’ attacking sets, before the the visitors took over in the second 40.

As we travel to West Yorkshire, here’s everything you need to know:


SQUAD NEWS

There’s only one change to last week’s 21-man squad.

Kai Morgan drops out and will spend the next two weeks on loan at Rochdale Hornets, gaining some valuable game time in a competitive environment.

Supporters will be happy to see Nene Macdonald’s inclusion. The PNG international limped off last Saturday with a knee problem, but is named amongst the travelling party this Friday.


LAST TIME OUT

The Red Devils were at their stunning best the last time we travelled to West Yorkshire.

Coming into the contest looking to move joint top of the table, Salford’s attacking prowess was on full display, tearing the Tigers apart on multiple occasions throughout the 80 minutes.

Rhys Williams and Chris Atkin were on the board early on for Salford, with Deon Cross also scoring a sublime try when he stepped Gareth Widdop to go over.

Cas cut the deficit just before the break, but further efforts from Ken Sio, Tim Lafai, Sam Stone, and another from Williams in the second forty secured another big two points.

Catch the highlights by clicking below.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

There is still time to join us at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle tomorrow night – click here to secure your place.

Tickets are available from the Salford Community Stadium until 12pm on Friday. Thereafter, any collections will be taken to Castleford directly.

Pay on the day is also an option.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Salford Red Devils receive commission on all tickets pre-purchased from Salford Stadium and nothing from on the day sales, so we urge you to buy your tickets from us directly.


HOW TO WATCH

Nothing beats experiencing the action in the flesh, but if you’re unable to attend this one, TV and streaming coverage is available.

SuperLeague+ is the new home of LIVE Betfred Super League action. 

Fans can watch over 100 live Super League games, full match replays, highlights and other on-demand content each season – including this Sunday’s fixture.

Click HERE to secure your pass and get ready to watch the Entertainers take on the Tigers.

Coverage is also available on Sky Sports Arena from 19:55pm.


U19S THWARTED IN FINAL AFTER GRAND SEASON

Salford 8  Castleford 36 Match Report

A concluding fifteen minutes, totally unrepresentative of the rest of the game, saw Castleford lift the College Development Academy Championship Trophy, after a strongly contested Grand Final with our own Salford Red Devils, at Leigh Miners, yesterday afternoon, in front of a most significant attendance of fans from both sides.

With the League Leaders Trophy, already under their belt, for the Salford lads, this was the termination of a most wonderfully impressive season, in which they had won all but one of their fixtures, including their one previous encounter with Castleford – a 22-4 home victory, early in the season. 

Whilst the Tigers had progressed to the Final, by beating Barrow, it had been a 10-6, semi-final win over Warrington – the one team to have taken points off them – which booked the Salford players this first Grand Final appearance, since the inception of this competition.

Because the return league fixture at Castleford had been postponed and never got played, that home game was the only indication as to how the Final might evolve, but in the event proved to be of no value at all, as the Tigers’ line-up had changed considerably with the justifiable inclusion of a number of individuals, who had joined the club on professional terms.

Although it was Castleford who opened the scoring, on six minutes, with an unconverted try, the Red Devils replied ten minutes later with a try from prop, Matt Gardner, close to the posts.  Scrum half, Riley Makin’s successful conversion put them in front, at 6-4, a lead which they were able to enjoy for the next ten minutes.

The physical prowess of the Yorkshire side, however, was evident for all to see, and two tries, the second of which was converted, gave them a half-time, six-point advantage, at 8-14, following Makin’s 39th minute penalty, from 35 metres out.

The first twenty minutes of the second half was probably the Reds’ best chance of securing a victory, with periods of good field position and sufficient ball possession to set up waves of attack.  Whether it was the fact that they felt that they needed to play catch-up football, or just that the occasion itself got to them, but their normal composure and clinical finishing seemed to desert them, and hurried, and forced, passes sadly brought each one to an end.

Having to compete with opponents bigger, stronger, and faster than themselves is considerably wearing and energy-sapping, so much so that as the game wore on momentum swung towards the Tigers once more, and once they had extended their lead by a try in the left corner, they were able to follow this up with others, as fatigue and perhaps a little dejection set in, in the Red Devils’ ranks.

Not that this should in any way detract from their magnificent season, as a whole, nor their achievement in reaching the lofty heights of the Grand Final, as coach, Danny Barton, succinctly puts it:

“It has been a fantastic season, right through, for them.  They have been the most consistent side in the competition, all year, with eleven victories out of twelve games.  Throughout, they have shown the utmost commitment  and have deserved all that they have achieved.  Quite simply they have been the best group of players I have seen, at this level and it has been a pleasure to have coached them.”

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