RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V HULL

Following upon those recent, telling victories over London, Warrington, and St Helens, the Salford Red Devils further cemented their position in the top six with this, their fourth consecutive win, over revitalised Hull FC.

It has been an unfortunate quirk of the fixture list that the two sides have been kept apart so far into the season, which has meant that, whilst the Yorkshire side was really struggling for form, every other side has had the benefit of rich pickings, which, with the recent upturn of events on Humberside, has been denied the Red Devils.

Consequently, it was a far more evenly contested encounter which unfolded through the eighty minutes, than might earlier have been the case, with the visitors competing tooth and nail through to the bitter end.

Notice of this was served at the very outset, with the opening arm-wrestle lasting over nine full minutes, with end-to-end forays being soaked up by dominant defences on both sides. 

Even though it was the Red Devils who probably had the better field-position outcomes of these exchanges, they failed to set up any real threat to the Hull line, and it was not until 26 minutes that they opened the scoring courtesy Deon Cross, in the left corner.

An increase in tempo from the home side, coinciding with the mid-half interchanges, built up the first real pressure on the visitors, and the successfully developing half back combination of Marc Sneyd and Chris Atkin, with fullback, Ryan Brierley, linking in as the ball was swiftly moved from right to left, to find the winger in sufficient space to increase his rapidly growing number of tries.

What happened next, however, was to portend a series of similar events later in the game, for having just got themselves ahead the Red Devils were unable to take the ball from the kick-off, and Hull promptly took advantage of the situation to go over between the posts, directly from a scrum, to take the lead with their conversion.

Having failed to convert the first try from a difficult position, Sneyd ensured that that was to be a solitary one-off, and went on to slot the remaining goal attempts over, three of which were from penalties, the timing of which was absolutely crucial, giving the Reds a points’ boost just when they were most in need of them.  The first came right on half time to level the scores, the second on 45 mins expanded their, by then, lead to an important three scores, and what was most crucial of all, the third one extending, what was, then, a mere four-point lead to that of a converted try.

So often, since his return, we have all been grateful for his reliability in this facet of his game, but to a certain extent can start to take it for granted.  It is only when we witness opposing kickers missing such vital attempts at goal, as happened twice at the end of this game, that we realise just how much we owe to him on so many occasions.

It was his open-play kicking, at the start of the second half, however, which put the Reds in the dominant position for so much of the remainder of the game.  Just two minutes after the resumption, it was his chip above the defence which Brierley caught before falling over the line to take the lead for the first time, before his forty-twenty set up the position for their third score.

A subsequent penalty after the tap restart, saw the ball moved towards the right where the versatile Chris Hankinson, recently so reliable in the fullback role and this week deployed in the centre position he once occupied so regularly with our U20s back in 2012, celebrated by exploiting the space, out wide, for his third try of the season.

The remainder of the game, however, proved to be something of a frustration from a number of missed opportunities – Brierley’s mis-footing and Sneyd’s being thwarted from grounding the ball being the most significant –  which gave a fillip to the opposition, and led to a few handling and decision making errors, alongside a tiring, somewhat below par defence, that failed to prevent two Hull four-pointers, which, in themselves, failed to overturn what turned out to be the final winning scoreline in favour of the Red Devils.

It was, nevertheless, an important success, which has kept Salford not only in the top six, but also put them joint second with high-flyers such as Warrington, St Helens, and Hull KR – something we should be vaunting throughout the whole of the city. 

Next up comes another club, from which we have been kept well away, thus far, Catalans Dragons.   Tough as trips to the South of France invariably turn out to be, having recently completed the double over two of their co-habitants in second place, there is no gainsaying that the Reds will not be able to notch the first of yet another remarkable pair of victories.

MATCH REPORT – SALFORD RED DEVILS 22-20 HULL FC (ROUND 16)

Some more Marc Sneyd magic and hard-fought defence secured a fourth consecutive Betfred Super League victory this afternoon.

Hull FC were in town for our first meeting with the Black & White’s in 2024, with Paul Rowley’s side looking to solidify their spot in the congested top six.

Ryan Brierley returned to the team after suffering an injury in early-June. Sam Stone and Chris Hankinson were also shifted into the centres following injuries to Tim Lafai and Nene Macdonald.

Both sides looked fired-up, but it was certainly a cagey affair in the opening exchanges.

Both Sneyd and Ben Reynolds were testing the opposing fullbacks with some swirling kicks, but Ryan Brierley and FC’s, Logan Moy were passing each test.

A few errors apiece, littered inside the first 25 minutes slowed down play, with Joe Mellor’s attempted short pass to King Vuniyayawa – spilled by the Fijian – the only real half-chance of note.

However, as has been the case throughout 2024, the Reds remained calm and eventually were the the first to get on the score board.

Slick hands from Chris Atkin found Brierley, who set Deon Cross away in the corner to continue his red-hot try-scoring form.

FC responded instantly; Cross dropped the restart and Sneyd’s attempted intercept gave the visitors another set of six just 10 out. Reynolds got ball in hand and spotted a gap to cross and stroll under the sticks.

That – and an easy conversion – handed Hull a two-point lead, but they would throw it away on the hooter after some inventive play from Brierley.

The fullback kicked in-behind and Cross was unable to chase to the bobbling ball; but in the build-up, Brierley was impeded by Tom Briscoe and the winger was sent to the bin before Sneyd levelled up the scores from the kicking tee.

Rowley’s Reds started the second forty on fire and made the man advantage count almost instantly.

Working the ball left, Sneyd chipped one up for the advancing Brierley – who had hunted the ball down – to contest in the air. His leap was timed perfectly and he twisted away from Moy to ground.

Salford pilled on the pressure and a marvellous 40-20 from Sneyd geared-up the Red Devils for a try opportunity.

A full set later, on the last, interference in the ruck awarded Salford a penalty. It would prove crucial in the end, with Joe Shorrocks expertly flicking an offload to create the numbers on the right edge, with Chris Hankinson scoring his third try of the season.

FC responded via Denive Balmforth, who scooted from dummy-half to power through a small gap in the Red Devils line.

It was a try that threatened to change the tide and Salford may have been rueing two missed chances just minutes later if Reynolds’ kicking was as good as everyone knows it can be.

A strong carry up the middle from Ollie Partington, and a neat offload set Brierley away. He stepped the fullback superbly, but lost his footing at the vital moment.

There was some reprieve, however, with another penalty allowing Sneyd to tag two more points onto Salford’s total.

The same source almost made sure of the points a minute later. Some nice work from Amir Bourouh created the chance and Sneyd stepped multiple FC defenders before attempted to crash over the line – bravely held up by Brad Fash, in the end.

Hull used that boost to gain some momentum and after a very fruitful set, a short grubber from Reynolds allowed Jordan Lane to collect and score.

A late shot on Ollie Partington gave Sneyd the option of adding another two points, which he took and turned out to be the decision that won Salford the game.

Lewis Martin crossed on the left wing for FC and Reynolds – from the touchline – dragged his conversion attempt wide to keep Salford two points ahead.

That was enough in the end and the Reds travel to the South of France next Saturday knowing another tough test awaits in this thrilling Super League season.

MATCH FACTS:

Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, Ethan Ryan, Chris Hankinson, Deon Cross, Chris Atkin, Marc Sneyd, Brad Singleton, Joe Mellor, Shane Wright, Loghan Lewis, Sam Stone, Kallum Watkins, Ollie Partington.

Interchanges: Amir Bourouh, King Vuniyayawa, Gil Dudson. Joe Shorrocks

Tries: Deon Cross, Ryan Brierley, Chris Hankinson.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (5/6)

Hull FC line-up: Logan Moy, Tom Briscoe, Carlos Tuimavave, Liam Sutcliffe, Lewis Martin, Jake Trueman, Ben Reynolds, Herman Ese’ese, Danny Houghton, Yusuf Aydin, Jordan Lane, Will Kirby, Ligi Sao

Interchanges: Brad Fish, Will Gardiner, Denive Balmforth, Tiaki Chan

Tries: Ben Reynolds, Denise Balmforth, Jordan Lane, Lewis Martin.

Conversions: Ben Reynolds (2/4)

HT: 6-6

Photo credit: Steve Gaunt

TEAM NEWS | BRIERLEY RETURNS TO STARTING THIRTEEN

Head Coach, Paul Rowley is able to name star fullback, Ryan Brierley in his starting thirteen since early-June.

The Scotland international has been struggling with a rib injury for over a month, but has made a full recovery over the International break to return this afternoon.

That means Chris Hankinson, who has been an outstanding deputy, moves into the centres. That’s in place of Tim Lafai, who picked up an injury in the warm-up just over a fortnight ago against St Helens.

Nene Macdonald is also struggling with an issue and sits out this afternoon, with Kallum Watkins moving into the other centre position.

Fellow Aussie, Shane Wright shifts into the back-row and Loghan Lewis comes into the starting team at prop.

Check out the line-up below and head to social media to give your reaction:

ARLEC PROPERTY SERVICES AND THE SALMON KINGS TO SPONSOR SALFORD RED DEVILS VS HULL FC CLASH

We would like to extend a huge thank you to tomorrow’s match day sponsor, Arlec Property Services and match ball sponsor, The Salmon Kings.

After the final break of the 2024 season, the Red Devils are back in action against Hull FC at the Salford Community Stadium.

On a run of three consecutive victories, Paul Rowley’s side are looking to continue the momentum and stay firmly amongst the top six pack.

Highlighting our match day sponsor, Arlec Property Services.

They have over 20 years experience within the building and property industry. They carry out all types of building work from maintenance to major refurbishments on properties/commercial buildings.

Their work consists of extensions, maintenance and refurbishments.

Arlec Property Services are currently working for My-builder, Insurance companies and a Major Housing Association. They also complete a lot of private work for clients who require their services.

To find out more, visit their website by clicking here.

Highlighting our match ball sponsor, The Salmon Kings.

Established since 1996, they provide quality fresh fish at great value prices. Offering a wide variety of fish at wholesale prices with extra special discounts.

Click here to find out more details.

MATCH PREVIEW – SALFORD RED DEVILS VS HULL FC (ROUND 16)

Back in action and back for good as the final stretch of Betfred Super League fixtures gets underway.

The first of 12 regular season tests for Salford Red Devils comes on Sunday, as Hull FC roll into town for our first meeting between the two sides in 2024.

Parting with their Head Coach and some poor early-season form sees the Black & White’s sat in 11th place, with just four points on the board.

However, a young, hungry squad will be nothing but a tough battle for Paul Rowley’s men, who are firmly focused on the task at hand.

Here’s everything you need to know before another huge game:


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

We’ll be showing our appreciation and raising awareness of our Emergency, and Health Services this Sunday, with various stalls and vehicles dotted around the forecourt for supporters to engage with.

Join us at the Salford Community Stadium and secure your place HERE; including options in the West, South and iHeat Community East Stand.

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


SQUAD NEWS

Seeing the name Ryan Brierley on the squad list will be a welcome boost to supporters.

Our star fullback has been struggling with a rib issue since our victory over London Broncos, but has recovered in time to face the Black & White’s this weekend.

However, there are injury issues for our in-form centre combination, Nene Macdonald and Tim Lafai, who both miss out on Sunday’s clash.

There is also a spot in the squad for Jamie Pye. The prop forward has been training with Paul Rowley’s first grade squad all year, but has also spent time in the Reserves set-up.


LAST TIME OUT

As mentioned previously, this will actually be the first meeting between these two sides in 2024.

Last year, facing the Black & White’s proved very fruitful for Paul Rowley’s men, picking up a huge victory at the MKM before backing that up with a nervy, but crucial home victory.

At the Salford Community Stadium, Jake Clifford gave FC an early lead before Tyler Dupree powered over to level the scores.

Jake Trueman skipped beyond the line to restore Hull’s advantage, but Deon Cross’ effort and another superb try from a scrum on halfway tipped the balance back in Salford’s favour.

Winger, Darnell McIntosh closed the gap, but victory was secured with Sneyd – against his former club – scoring a try and sinking a drop-goal either side of Ken Sio’s acrobatic effort.

Catch the highlights of that encounter by clicking below.


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 Black & White’s.

Coverage is also available on Sky Sports Action from 2:55pm.


ROUND 16 SQUAD LOCKED-IN

Head Coach, Paul Rowley has named a 20-man squad to face Hull FC on Sunday afternoon.

With the final break of the season now complete, it’s full steam ahead in the Betfred Super League, as Salford Red Devils look to secure playoff rugby.

After two incredible wins against Warrington Wolves and St Helens before the international fixtures, Hull FC are the Reds’ latest challengers on Sunday afternoon.


SQUAD NEWS

Seeing the name Ryan Brierley on the squad list will be a welcome boost to supporters.

Our star fullback has been struggling with a rib issue since our victory over London Broncos, but has recovered in time to face the Black & White’s this weekend.

However, there are injury issues for our in-form centre combination, Nene Macdonald and Tim Lafai, who both miss out on Sunday’s clash.

There is also a spot in the squad for Jamie Pye. The prop forward has been training with Paul Rowley’s first grade squad all year, but has also spent time in the Reserves set-up.

BLUE LIGHT APPRECIATION DAY AGAINST HULL FC

Salford Red Devils are hosting a celebration of the region’s emergency and health services at our next Betfred Super League game against Hull FC.

Our annual Blue Light Appreciation Day returns for a day of family fun on Sunday 7th July, with 80 minutes of playoff-chasing rugby league the main event.

Like previous years, Blue Light workers can access tickets for just £5, exclusively in the East Community Stand. Click HERE to secure your place now.

Coming along only a few days after the birthday of our NHS – this year’s theme is all about keeping Salford safe and healthy.

That means members of local health organisations will also be in attendance to showcase their services and share important messages.

Salford City Council’s health improvement van will be outside the stadium with leaflets on services and health related campaigns.

Other stalls located outside the stadium will include Diabetes Awareness, Audiology and the Northern Care Alliance, with many more to be confirmed.

Along with emergency vehicles present, mounted, tactical, and firearms units in attendance, and the ABK Fanzone in full swing, the day is one not to miss!

Managing Director, Paul King has said: “Following on from our Armed Forces Day event, where everything contributed to a fantastic day for the Club, we are excited to show our gratitude for the incredible emergency services in just under a fortnight’s time.

“They play such an important role in our community, and I am thrilled we are able to recognise their work with this dedicated fixture.

“I am looking forward to seeing everyone on July 7th for what is set to be another great day.”

BOUROUH TO JOIN HULL FC FROM 2025

We can confirm Amir Bourouh will join Hull FC for the 2025 season, upon the expiry of his current contract.

The 23-year-old actually made his Betfred Super League debut against the Red Devils, but joined the club from Wigan Warriors in 2022.

Signing a two-year deal, the young hooker showed plenty of promise in his first couple of years with Salford, but found regular game-time hard to come by.

He enjoyed loan spells at various Championship clubs before his real breakthrough into the first-team at the back end of 2023, and into 2024.

It culminated in Bourouh signing one-year contract extension and being handed the number nine shirt, ahead of the current campaign.

Making nine appearances during 2024 so far, Bourouh scored his first Super League try against Castleford Tigers in Round 2.

On leaving the club at the end of this season, Bourouh has said: “I would just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey at Salford.

“I have enjoyed every minute alongside the team I joined, right through to the current group of players – many I know I’ll be friends with for a long time.

“The coaching and backroom team have been fantastic with me, and I have to thank them for all the time, and effort they’ve put in to help me progress.

“A final thank you to the fans, who have continued to back me and the team from day one. I am focused on working hard to make sure we end the season in the best way possible.”

Club Director, Paul Trainor, has also said: “We would like to thank Amir for his efforts during his time at the Club.

“He has been a brilliant character around the place and it has been great to see his development, and maturity as a rugby league player.

“Everyone at Salford wishes him nothing but the best in his future career!”

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: SALFORD V HULL FC

After the excitement of several recent games, Salford supporters must surely be becoming used to being kept on the edge of their seats with the closely run encounters that have become almost regular occurrences, at least at the Salford Stadium.

From the Golden Point extra time victory over Wakefield, back in March, to last week’s progression to the next round of the Challenge Cup at the expense of Huddersfield when time was really the Red Devils’ greatest ally, the Salford players have had to hang on in, on a number of occasions, and this weekend’s clinching of the double over Hull was of very similar ilk.

The major issue nowadays is that the Reds are quite regularly winning this sort of game, which has not been the case on so many previous occasions, and that is something worth celebrating in itself.

Once again, on Sunday afternoon there were many teeth-clenching moments, particularly as the last quarter of the game wore on, because the visitors had shown themselves quite capable of scoring when they had the opportunity.  Indeed, they had done so as early as the fourth minute, when they broke from deep in their own half to go the remaining length of the field with impressive handling and support play, to score in manner reminiscent of many a Salford try.

And thereby possibly hangs the reason for the closeness of so many matches.  It would seem that a number of other sides, for whom wide expansive rugby has hitherto been kept to a premium, are now chancing their arm by embracing this style of attacking play to suit their own strengths.  Such slick, well-rehearsed ploys are extremely difficult to defend against, as Super League teams in abundance discovered last season, and now the Red Devils are having to contend with such, themselves.

There is no gainsaying the originals, however, as Salford players continue to increase their armoury with even more options, as shown by their third and possibly decisive try, three minutes before the interval.  That final spell of ten minutes had proved to be a purple patch for the home side, when they overturned the second of two, Hull, four-point leads both of which they held for eleven minutes, this one being with a scoreline of 6-10.

A number of repeated, short sets then enabled the Red Devils to build pressure before a Brodie Croft kick-through was taken by Deon Cross for a converted try, which restored their dominance.  It was their second score of this period, however, which, for we spectators, stood out from everything else.  What we saw was a seventy-metre kick downfield, followed by a thrilling and closely contested chase.

What we had to reflect upon before appreciating it fully was the skill, talent and understanding among the players.  Few of us, probably, were expecting anything along these lines when the ball was passed to Marc Sneyd direct from the base of the scrum. Yet everyone of those involved knew exactly what was about to happen; everyone was on the same page.  With all of the defending Hull players lined up at the scrum, the opportunity was wide open for the attempt.

Our number seven’s kicking game is much admired, and feared, throughout the league, but to place the ball so impeccably for it to slow almost to a standstill between the Hull try and dead-ball lines from such a distance took incredible skill, not to mention hours of practice.

The undoubted strength of the Salford team is the pace they have in the backs, and it was the ability of the two chasers, Ryan Brierley and Joe Burgess both, to outpace the sole Hull covering defender, showed that off to the hilt.  Brierley it was, perhaps for some, surprisingly so, who was first to the ball, but it still needed grounding cleanly, and doing that at such speed required even more from the fullback.  It would have been so easy to have scotched the chance, going at such a pace.

That try, and how it came about, put a whole different perspective on the game, and on Salford’s ability to score from a variety of means.  Short, kick-chase tries often seem a little innocuous when compared to skilful handling moves and cleverly angled running.  The thrill and excitement, talent and skill, as a result of the distance involved in this one, however, made it comparable to any score, by whatever means.  It will certainly cause a few more headaches among opposing defences.

Being involved in so many close games is certainly honing the Red Devils’ talent for managing the game in the final quarter, and it is this, which, despite our anxieties in the stands, enables them to concentrate on nullifying their opponents’ further opportunities, something that they were far better at, this week, than the previous one.

Consequently, two second half tries kept them ahead, albeit on a couple of occasions by only two points, after a worrying start to the half, and then, after twice missing his first goalkicks in five games Sneyd calmly slotted over a drop-goal to give the side a two score cushioning, which kept them comfortable to the final whistle.

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