RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V CASTLEFORD

‘It’s not how you start but how you finish’ is what we are so often told, but in last Sunday afternoon’s opening home fixture with Castleford, the Red Devils wrote their own variation to that mantra. And why shouldn’t they, for after all, players and coaches will often say that they need to get off to a good start.

This, though, was not a good start – it was an incredible start, with Salford camping out in the visitors’ thirty metre area for a full ten minutes of the game, during which time they enjoyed no less than nine consecutive sets of six. Penalties, opposition touches, goal-line drop outs forced from shrewd in-goal kicks and excellent kick chases, set restarts, and tries, all combined to give the Reds the impression that they could dominate the game from start to finish.

Perhaps the most praise-worthy aspect of all this, though, was their patience. The eagerness to turn possession and position into points can so often be the cause of over-ambitious or rushed passes, which let the opposition off the hook. Not on this occasion, however, as the Red Devils started their seventh set-of-six, and this time completed it by Sam Stone going over towards the left hand corner.

Nor did the onslaught end there. Another try – this time his first in a Salford shirt to Amir Bourouh from Brad Singleton’s great offload – brought their score to twelve points in as many minutes, courtesy Marc Sneyd’s conversions, which, in fairness, were only another facet of his exceptional overall kicking game, thus far.

Although there were still another two sets started, the interception of Sone’s well intended pass inside, brought that opening tirade to a conclusion. For the team on the receiving end of such ball deprivation, all they can do is just hope that, over the forty minutes, possession evens itself, or at least they get sufficient to get back into the game. Much to Salford’s surprise the Tigers did and shortly before half time the Red Devils’ twelve point lead had been cut to two.

If you are going to score an eye-catching try, two minutes before halftime is the time to do so. It not only demoralises your opponents going into the interval, it also changes significantly the mood of discussion in each dressing-room. Nene Macdonald’s highly discussed and viewed feat of athleticism was not only incredibly well executed, it was also timed superbly.

And the impact does not end there. The start of the second half consequently found both teams in much the same mindset as had been the case in that initial first half stanza, and it really came as no surprise when, after a period of intensive pressure, a beautifully weighted kick over the line by Sneyd was latched onto by Stone for his second try of the afternoon.

At 24-10 it seemed all over bar the shouting but this game did not pan out that way and much to many a spectator’s astonishment, it was the Tigers who took much of the spoils later on pulling back to 24-16.

The sin-binning of Jack Ormandroyd for much of the last ten minutes, did not help the Salford cause, but, as always when in difficulty Marc Sneyd can be relied upon to kick you out of trouble as he did on Sunday, slotting over a penalty kick at goal to pull his team further away – a wise move as Horne’s concluding Cas try was then too late to impact on the result.

ROWLEY: “HE WAS THE SHINING STAR!”

Paul Rowley was full of praise for star centre, Nene Macdonald in his post-match press conference.

After completing a move to the club during the off-season, his long-anticipated home debut could not have gone much better, with a Man of the Match performance against Castleford Tigers.

His try on the stroke of half-time gave the Red Devils some breathing room and came from a moment of real quality from Marc Sneyd.

A high bomb on the last was charged down by Macdonald, who leapt high over Luke Hooley to grab the ball and touch down in some style.

Speaking post-match, his Head Coach says it’s something the PNG international has brought to the table since his arrival.

“We’ve spoke about challenging kicks more and I think Nene’s come into this group, and you kind of need someone to value something to make that contagious throughout your group, and Nene has definitely brought that,” Rowley began.

“What I would say is, probably when you look at the game, Nene, for me, was the shining star out there, that little bit of quality on the field.

“I think everybody worked hard, but I think he was different class and that try was the perfect example of that.”

On the performance as a whole, Rowley says a late Liam Horne try made the final exchanges very nerve-racking for those in attendance.

“Terry O’Connor has just said I look grey. I don’t know if you can feel grey, but I feel grey!” he joked.

“I thought we were really good at the start of the game and controlled all the ball really; it would be nice if we could hold the ball like that all the time.

“But Cas came back strong and scored a couple of tries on the back of what I thought were individual errors on our part, so we can fix that.

“I think collectively we were pretty good throughout. I thought our right edge was a little blunt in attack, but again, that can be fixed, we’ve got a lot of new additions in key positions.

He concluded: “I guess if we don’t polish the attack up, any wins will be hard-fought wins like that and close encounters, which is not good for the ticker, but we got their in the end.”

Watch Paul’s full post-match press conference by clicking below:

MATCH REPORT – SALFORD RED DEVILS 26-22 CASTLEFORD TIGERS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 2)

A Nene Macdonald-inspired Salford Red Devils recorded their first win of 2024 this afternoon.

Back home after a narrow Round 1 defeat, Paul Rowley’s side were determined to get their first Betfred Super League points of the season, against Castleford Tigers.

Joe Shorrocks for the injured Ollie Partington was the only change, with Chris Atkin and Ryan Brierley reaching significant personal landmarks.

The Red Devils started on the front foot and Marc Sneyd’s boot was straight into action, pinning the Tigers into their own in-goal on multiple occasions.

Pressure upon pressure finally told when Sneyd slipped in Sam Stone on the left edge with a beautifully-timed short pass.

It was two in quick succession with another solid set down the middle of Cas’ line. Brad Singleton drove forward and flicked an offload to Amir Bourouh, who scampered over for his first in Salford colours.

Momentum swung with a couple of repeat sets for the visitors.

Innes Senior was denied a try by some great scramble defence, but Sam Wood was sent through minutes later by Miller to cut the deficit.

A missed Danny Richardson conversion kept Salford in the lead on the half-hour mark, after Cas worked the hands and sent Jack Broadbent diving over in the right corner.

Salford were slowly getting back into their groove and a nice chase from Shorrocks forced a repeat set – and we crucially took advantage.

Sneyd’s high bomb on the last was charged down from almost halfway by Macdonald, who leapt high into the air and over the challenging Hooley to score.

A crucial try, at a crucial point in the game – with Sneyd adding the extras.

Coming out for the second-half with a healthy lead, the pivots were straight back to work and Cade Cust almost sent Kallum Watkins barraging through a gap with a neat short ball.

It wasn’t long until Sneyd had another say in this contest, sending through a pinpoint grubber for the chasing Stone to ground his second of the contest.

It looked like the Red Devils might run away with proceedings, but Joe Westerman cut the lead when he spotted a gap and scampered over to the left of the posts.

Salford were made to work even harder when Jack Ormondroyd was sent to the sin-bin, but it highlighted the ever-growing importance of Sneyd’s kicking, who sank a penalty-goal from the 40 to allow some breathing room.

It was certainly needed, with Liam Horne spinning away from his man to cut the lead to just four, late on.

Despite some frantic closing exchanges, Salford held on for a crucial two points and will be looking to build on that when Hull KR visit the Salford Community Stadium next Saturday.

MATCH FACTS:

Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, Chris Hankinson, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Cade Cust, Marc Sneyd, Jack Ormondroyd, Amir Bourouh, Brad Singleton, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Joe Shorrocks.

Interchanges: King Vuniyayawa, Shane Wright, Ben Hellewell, Chris Atkin.

Tries: Sam Stone (2), Amir Bourouh, Nene Macdonald.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (5/5)

Castleford line-up: Luke Hooley, Jason Qareqare, Jack Broadbent, Sam Wood, Innes Senior, Danny Richardson, Jacob Miller, George Lawler, Liam Horne, Nixon Putt, Elie El-Zakhem, Charbel Tasipale, Joe Westerman.

Interchanges: Rowan Milnes, Sam Hall, Muizz Mustapha, Sammy Kilbula.

Tries: Sam Wood, Jack Broadbent, Joe Westerman, Liam Horne.

Conversions: Danny Richardson (1/2), Luke Hooley (2/2)

HT: Salford Red Devils 18-10 Castleford Tigers

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

BOUROUH: “IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING!”

Try-scorer, Amir Bourouh has been reflecting on our Round 2 victory over Castleford Tigers.

The hooker darted under the sticks for our second try of the afternoon, after Sam Stone had powered us into a well-deserved lead.

A special, acrobatic Nene Macdonald effort from Marc Sneyd’s high bomb was a crucial score just before the half-time hooter and Stone’s second after the break proved the difference after 80 minutes.

Discussing the victory, Bourouh said: “Really important one obviously, first of the year for us.

“I’m just glad we got the win in the end. We played into their hands and it was becoming a scrappy game, something we didn’t really want it to be.

“A lot of parts I thought we were really dominant and there’s really good signs from it.”

On his try – a first in Salford colours – the number nine couldn’t help but hide his delight: “It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it!” he joked.

“That’s my first one, so glad to get it out of the way and hopefully many more.”

Watch our full interview with Amir by clicking below:

w

TEAM NEWS | ONE CHANGE FOR ROUND 2

Paul Rowley has made one change to his starting line-up for this afternoon’s Round 2 clash.

After defeat in Round 1, the Head Coach and his team are looking to bounce back with a big performance in their first home fixture.

Ollie Partington, unfortunately, has picked up a knock in training earlier this week and is replaced by Joe Shorrocks at loose-forward.

This fixture has also come too soon for new arrival, David Nofoaluma, who is afforded more time to settle in with his new teammates after touching down in England on Thursday afternoon.

After his overturned one-match ban, Ryan Brierley will make his 100th Super League appearance at fullback, with Chris Atkin also set for career appearance number 250 off the interchange bench.

Head to our social channels to give your reaction and follow the game live!

MATCH PREVIEW: SALFORD RED DEVILS VS CASTLEFORD TIGERS (ROUND 2)

The Tigers are in town for Round 2, as Salford Red Devils return home.

Buoyed by a positive performance against Leeds Rhinos, Paul Rowley’s side will be looking to bounce back from defeat by securing the two points tomorrow afternoon.

Craig Lingard’s new-look Tigers also suffered defeat in Round 1, but with a man-down showed plenty of signs to suggest it will be a competitive affair this weekend.

There’s plenty to look forward to for supporters, with a brand-new fan zone ready for supporters to enjoy pre and post-match.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

Welcome home, everyone!

There’s still time to join us for our first home fixture of the 2024. Click HERE to buy tickets; with the very popular iHeat East Community Stand open for supporters all season long.

Alternatively, the Salford Community Stadium ticket office will be open in the morning to pay-on-the-day or collect pre-purchased season tickets.


SQUAD NEWS

The major piece of news in Paul Rowley’s 21-man squad is the inclusion of David Nofoaluma.

Our newest signing touched-down in the country on Thursday afternoon and has spent a short time with his new teammates ahead of Sunday’s game.

Supporters are excited to see a glimpse of their new man in action, but it remains to be seen whether he’s in contention for a place in the match day squad.

King Vuniyayawa has served his one-match suspension in Round 1 and is back at Rowley’s disposal.

However, one player who is not available is loose-forward, Oliver Partington, who picked up an injury in training earlier this week and is currently being assesed.

Fresh from his successful appeal against a one-match ban of his own, Ryan Brierley – alongside Chris Atkin – are all set to make significant landmark appearances.


LAST TIME OUT

The Red Devils put Castleford to the sword the last time these two sides faced each other.

In early-June, Salford were at their stunning best at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle, dismantling the Tigers with a eight-try victory.

Deon Cross was a standout performer, selling Gareth Widdop with a lovely step for one try and setting-up his right edge partner, Ken Sio for another.

Rhys Williams bagged a brace, with Chris Atkin, Sam Stone and Tim Lafai also on the scoresheet.


WHERE CAN I 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 fixure.

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

Sky Sports customers can also watch the game, live on Sky Sports Action.


INU: “EVERY TEAM WE COME UP AGAINST IS A THREAT”

Krisnan Inu believes we’ll need to be ‘on our toes’ on Sunday afternoon when Castleford Tigers visit the Salford Community Stadium.

Returning home after a valiant, but ultimately unsuccessful trip to AMT Headingley, a win against Craig Lingard’s new-look Tigers’ side would kickstart our 2024 campaign.

Despite leading on multiple occasions against the Rhinos, Sam Lisone’s late try was the dagger blow for Salford.

Speaking to the press, Inu reflected on the performance, saying: “I thought we were pretty good, bar the penalties, that doesn’t help when you give a team 11-plus sets more than yourselves.

“We’ve just got to be a bit more disciplined in that area and give ourselves a chance.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s clash, the ex-Red Devils winger believes Castleford themselves will be hurting from Round 1 defeat and eager to bounce back.

“Every team we come up against is a threat,” he stated.

“They lost to Wigan, but could beat them on any other day, so we won’t take any games lightly this year – especially against Cas.

“They’ve got the same point as us to prove after losing Round 1 and want to win as much as us, so we’ve got to be on our toes.”

There was even time to talk about the arrival of David Nofoaluma, who touched-down in Manchester on Thursday afternoon to meet his new teammates.

Inu had a big role in convincing his ex-Samoan roommate to join the club and believes he’ll bring a very valuable trait to the dressing room.

“David brings a lot of experience,” Inu continued.

“He’s here to do the same job as what Ken Sio would have been doing if he was still here. We see him slotting into that spot wherever we see fit, wherever it’s right or left.

“Time will tell and we’ll figure that out as the weeks go on and see how is connection is with the other players.”

To hear Krisnan’s full pre-match thoughts, click here to head to our YouTube channel.

FIRST THREE HOME FIXTURES ON SALE NOW

Our first three home fixtures of the 2024 Betfred Super League season are on sale now.

The Original Red Devils are back and our schedule for another season of breathtaking rugby league action has been confirmed.

You can view our full 2024 fixture list by clicking HERE.

We’ve missed the sights, smells and sounds of match day at the Salford Stadium, but it’s not too long until we’ll be reunited and there’s now the opportunity to secure your place at our first three home fixtures.

After an opening weekend trip to face Leeds Rhinos, we return home on Sunday, February 25th, at 3pm, to face Castleford Tigers, in Round 2.

Under new Head Coach, Craig Lingard, the Tigers have heavily replenished their squad and will be looking to climb the table after a disappointing 2023 campaign.

The last time Cas visited the Salford Stadium, an Aussie double ensured a 14-6 victory, with some resolute defending also a shining highlight.

Our opening home fixture is quickly followed by another, with last year’s Betfred Challenge Cup finalists’, Hull KR in town on Saturday, March 2nd, at 3pm.

A journey down the M62 to face St Helens in Round 4 is sandwiched between our third home game.

On Thursday, March 14th, at 8pm, the reigning Super League champions, Wigan Warriors will arrive for what is surely to be another cracker under the lights.

To buy tickets for any of the three home fixtures mentioned above, please click HERE.

SALFORD RED DEVILS LEARN ROUND 1 & 2 OPPONENTS FOR 2024’S BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE

Salford Red Devils will visit Leeds Rhinos in Round 1, before returning home to face Castleford Tigers in Round 2 of 2024’s Betfred Super League.

The eagerly awaited, full 2024 fixture list is almost upon us, with our opening home and away games now confirmed.

We’re on the road to AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium on Friday, February 16th, with an 8pm kick-off, as the Super League season gets underway with a bang.

Rohan Smith’s Rhinos finished 8th place last season, but will be targeting a return to the top six, after reaching the Grand Final in 2022.

Our first home fixture of the season is a meeting with the Castleford Tigers. A team who narrowly avoided relegation in 2023, but will be rejuvenated by a new Head Coach, and a number of new signings.

They’ll travel to the Salford Stadium on Sunday, February 25th, for a 3pm kick-off.

Our last trip to Headingley was a successful one. Rhys Williams, Sam Stone and Ellis Longstaff were all on the scoresheet, as Salford recorded a fourth consecutive Super League victory.

There was a similar gritty performance the last time Cas visited the the Salford Stadium.

A stunning break, triggered by the excellence of Kallum Watkins, sent Brodie Croft strolling under the posts, before Shane Wright crashed through in the second forty to confirm victory.

Resolute defending by Ryan Brierley in the latter stages of the game was another highlight, as the Red Devils clung on to a crucial two points.

With both opening fixtures now confirmed, all eyes will be on tomorrow’s full fixture list, set to be released 8:30am!

U19S TURN OVER LEAGUE LEADERS

Salford Red Devils 16  Castleford Tigers 10             Match Report

Just one month after their tremendous victory away at Wakefield, Salford’s U19s College Academy side hosted current league leaders, Castleford Tigers.  With both teams undefeated thus far in all fixtures it was only the cancellation of the Red Devils’ away match at Barrow, which separated the two teams in the table.

It did not take long for the visitors to take the initiative with an early score following back-to-back sets as a result of a goal-line drop-out on the third set, too far out for a successful conversion.  The confidence they took from this saw them having the edge in the exchanges which followed over the first fifteen minutes, so much so that no-one would ever have anticipated that they would remain totally scoreless for the next seventy minutes, which was what transpired.

Gradually, but surely, the dogged determination of the Salford pack in delivering hard, full-pace hit-ups and meeting the same with bone-jarring tackles, brought a swing in momentum to the Red Devils by the middle of the half.  Nor did the remainder of the side shirk any element of the physicality in this arm-wrestle.

The consequence and evidence of the sheer physicality they brought to the encounter was greater and greater penetration into the Tigers’ ranks, which brought them improved field position to apply pressure on the Castleford line.  Indeed, they might well have opened their account rather earlier, but for errors with ball in hand and in decision-making around a couple of penalties awarded to them.

Just as it was beginning to seem that scoring opportunities would be so sparse as to ever happen, especially when Jim Shields was held up over the line, on 26 mins, the Reds struck, two minutes later, with a really well executed try, direct from a scrum.  As the above photograph shows, the ball was moved to the blind-side and an overlap forged for right winger, Joe Griffiths, who went over in style to go round to ground behind the posts, giving Ryan Makin a straight-forward goal-kick to give them the lead.

And the Salford players were not finished there.  They continued to dominate for the rest of the half, finishing off with probably the best try of the game, the build up to which came over forty metres down the left flank with every player making progress and timing his pass outside to perfection.  Nevertheless, it still needed scoring when the ball got to winger, Ellis Clarke, who, despite the attentions of the Castleford cover, managed in true professional style to reach out and place the ball over the line as he was falling to the ground a little short of the line.

The six-point half-time lead might not have seemed a winning one, at the time, but as the second half unfolded both sides went head-to-head in an almost seemingly endless stalemate.  Jake Briffa was held up over the line, on 47 mins, and Castleford too, with the slope now in their favour, had their moments, but all in all the two sides cancelled each other out until it became apparent that the next score would prove crucial.

And so it proved, with a little piece of individual brilliance from stand-off, Sean Murray, who first side-stepped his marker, and then dummied the fullback to dart over close enough to the posts for Murray to add the conversion and open up a ten point lead, which they were able to hold onto until six minutes from the end, when the visitors produced an equal piece of individual innovation  with a  chip & chase to make the final minutes of the game as tense and enthralling as it had been throughout.

Coach, Danny Barton, was in no doubt as to the way his charges had managed the win:

“It was a superb team effort with everyone playing their part, in what was a high-class game.  That is what we train to do each week, and this week we produced it right through.  Whilst everyone played their part, the leaders throughout the side provided the direction and example for all the others to follow.”

With a blank fixture next week, the players will get a little respite before making the long journey over to Hull FC the following week, for their next outing.

Find us on twitter

Find us on Instagram

Sign up to the official newsletter