Ahead of this weekend’s huge Qualifiers clash with Toronto Wolfpack, we take a look at everything you need to know ahead of the game.
Last Time Out
Last weekend the Red Devils earned their biggest victory of the season in front of almost 1000 travelling Salford fans. Ian Watson’s men racked up a huge 4-62 victory over Halifax which moved them two points clear atop The Qualifiers table.
Sam Wood opened the scoring for Halifax, but Salford would run in twelve unanswered tries on the way to a memorable victory. Derrell Olpherts crossed for his first hat-trick in Salford colours while Jackson Hastings and Junior Sa’u also notched doubles. Ed Chamberlain, Ben Nakubuwai, Kris Welham, Lama Tasi and Josh Wood were all also on the scoresheet.
As for Toronto, they overcame fellow Championship side London Broncos at Lamport Stadium moving them onto four points in The Qualifiers. The Wolfpack raced into a massive 32-0 lead thanks to tries from Blake Wallace, Gareth O’Brien, Chase Stanley, Josh McCrone and Mason Caton-Brown.
However, with 25 minutes remaining, London began a fightback which would see Rhys Williams, Alex Walker, Ben Evans and Matt Davis all score before the hooter, however they couldn’t quite earn a point.
Salford Red Devils head into this game in their best form of the 2018 season having won their opening three Qualifiers fixtures and four consecutive games overall. Ian Watson’s side ended the regular season with a morale lifting victory over Leeds before beating fellow Super League sides Hull Kingston Rovers and Widnes Vikings in The Qualifiers.
Last weekend’s huge 4-62 victory over Halifax marked the first time the side have won four consecutive games since midway through the 2017 season.
Toronto head into this weekend’s game on the back of a home victory over London Broncos but their form in recent weeks hasn’t been as consistent as throughout the rest of the 2018 season. The Wolfpack only lost one game in their opening 22 matches of this season but have since lost two of their last four in all competitions.
The Wolfpack ended the regular season with their first defeat on Canadian soil as Featherstone were victorious and it became back-to-back home losses for Toronto in their second Qualifiers outing as Hull Kingston Rovers edged them out at Lamport Stadium.
This weekend will see Niall Evalds go head-to-head in the fullback position against former teammate Gareth O’Brien who moved to Toronto from the Red Devils earlier in the season.
Evalds returned to the Red Devils squad last month following an eight-week lay-off with a broken leg and has fit straight back into the fold with the form he displayed earlier in the season. The fullback always offers a threat in attack and now with the likes of Rob Lui, Jackson Hastings and Joey Lussick opening defences up he simply has to be on their shoulder.
1⃣ Day until we battle @TOWolfpack at the @AJBell_Stadium and look to make it four wins from four in The Qualifiers!
👏 And, you can SAVE money by purchasing your ticket now online.
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) September 7, 2018
For Toronto, O’Brien has impressed since his arrival from Salford earlier in the season and will play a pivotal role if the Wolfpack are to gain Super League status. O’Brien has a dangerous running game pulling defenders in and allowing him to rack up try-assists. Of course, the former Warrington man also has a place in Qualifiers history thanks to his drop-goal which saved the Red Devils in 2016.
With two dangerous and clinical fullbacks on show it will be a case of whichever gets the most opportunities to punish their opponents and possibly win the game for their team.
Salford Red Devils forward George Griffin is named in this week’s 19-man squad and could return to action for the first time since defeat at Warrington at the end of June. Lee Mossop could also be in line to return after missing out last weekend against Halifax.
👉 @GeorgeGriffin4 is in line to make his first appearance since late June.
— Salford Red Devils 👹 (@SalfordDevils) September 6, 2018
Luke Burgess made an impressive return at the MBi Shay Stadium and retains his place in the Red Devils squad this weekend. However, Ben Nakubuwai will miss the game through a shoulder injury.
Salford: Kris Welham, Junior Sa’u, Niall Evalds , Rob Lui, George Griffin, Josh Jones, Mark Flanagan, Lama Tasi, Ryan Lannon, Luke Burgess, Tyrone McCarthy, Josh Wood, Derrell Olpherts, Lee Mossop, Jake Bibby, Ed Chamberlain, Greg Burke, Jackson Hastings, Joey Lussick.
Toronto: Gary Wheeler, Josh McCrone, Jack Buchanan, Bob Beswick, Ashton Sims, Andrew Dixon, Adam Sidlow, Blake Wallace, Olsi Krasniqi, Richard Whiting, Nick Rawsthorne, Cory Paterson, Jacob Emmitt, Matty Russell, Gareth O’Brien, Darcy Lussick, Chase Stanley, Mason Caton-Brown.
Salford are currently the only team to win all three of their Qualifiers fixtures meaning they currently sit two points above the chasing pack. It would take a Salford defeat and a big point overhaul from one of the four teams currently on four points to move the Red Devils from the top spot heading into Round Five.
Toronto occupy 3rd place heading into this weekend’s fixture and are level on points with Leeds Rhinos, Toulouse Olympique and Hull Kingston Rovers. The Wolfpack would need a win by 83 points to climb to top spot but they could pull away from the rest of the field if they were to better the results of Leeds, Toulouse or Hull Kingston Rovers.
Welcome the Wolfpack!
Tickets for our next home game against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday 8th September are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone on 0161 786 1570 or SAVE MONEY by buying online, just CLICK HERE.