RED DEVILS IN DEPTH:  SALFORD V WARRINGTON

After two back-to-back games in one weekend, Red Devils’ Head Coach, Paul Rowley, rewarded the team, which had, most remarkably, won both, and doing so straight after an energy-sapping trip to Catalans, by giving them what one would suspect they desired most of all, a well-earned rest.  The consequence of this was that the team given the task of facing the Wolves, at the weekend, was a rather makeshift group.

With six players from the Reserves making their debuts, and other more experienced players selected in most unfamiliar positions, expectations, among fans, of a victory were not high, and those expectations proved correct.  What, however, was not correct was the fear that the side might get swept aside by an opposition keen to make the most of what they regarded as a winnable match.

Far from that, although struggling in the early stages to adapt to new positions, the speed of the game, and one another, they grew into it extremely well, and the longer it went on the more they forced the visitors into handling errors, which aided their own cause and increased their confidence considerably.

Indeed, it was the home side which produced the first of a number of scoring opportunities, in the second minute when right winger, Myles-Dalton Harrop, was unable to take advantage of an extremely awkwardly bouncing ball from an end-of-set kick to his corner.

With nothing to show for this Warrington took the opportunity to open the scoring, two minutes later, when they forced an overlap on their left flank to score in the corner.  They then succeeded in doubling their score to eight points, on twelve minutes, with another try wide out to the touchline.

Harvey Livett’s superb kick-off found open ground and bounced into touch, thereby securing the Red Devils unexpected possession in ideal territory, and from the ensuing attack James Greenwood forced his way over and twisted round to ground the ball to the referee’s satisfaction.  Stand-in goal kicker, Livett, proved to be a more than adequate replacement, landing all three of his attempts, some from the most difficult positions.

The next fifteen minutes saw the Wolves mount a succession of attacks which had their hosts at full stretch and pinned down in their own twenty metre area, staving off each attempt to increase the winning margin.  In fact, it was the 32nd minute before the Wolves eventually managed to cross the line between the posts and take the score to 6-14.

Three minutes later, an impromptu football match, started by Warrington hacking on a loose ball and then less successfully continuing to try to control it with further kicks, was won by Rhys Williams who secured possession and returned play back to the Wolves end of the field.  A goal-line drop-out was forced, and Salford raced through for what looked like a simple try.  Too clean and simple for referee, Ben Thaler, however, who had spotted an obstruction in the build-up.

It was, nevertheless, the Reds who finished the stronger, adding to their points tally with a Livett penalty-goal in the 39th minute, to bring the half-time score to a most respectable, 8-14.

The second half started with yet another spell, this time of eight minutes, of the Salford players thwarting periods of Warrington attack, until the visitors got onto the end of a low kick into the in-goal area for a converted try.

The highlight for Salford of this second forty came on 59 mins, when Myles-Dalton Harrop was put in the clear, on his wing, and he romped over to gain some compensation for his earlier unrewarded attempt, and, despite the difficult angle, Livett had no problem in slotting over the extras.

Although they failed to trouble the scoreboard operator thereafter, they certainly did cause problems for the Wolves’ attack, limiting them to only two further converted tries, during the period in which more experienced sides usually rachet up a quite overwhelming score, in such seemingly uneven contests.

Even the final score went contrary to the context surrounding it.  Having denied the visitors a score yet again, on the 79th minute, this time by preventing the prospective scorer from grounding the ball over the line, the Reds suffered the cruel twist of fate of having a well-intended pass to the right flank intercepted, leading to a winning margin, which failed to reflect the true balance of the game.

It was, nevertheless, a great experience for all of the players making their debuts, and credit must also go to the more experienced members of the side, who similarly rose to the occasion to provide direction and support for the newcomers, thus making it a truly, all-round team effort.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: HULL V SALFORD

For just over fifteen highly encouraging minutes, the Salford fans who had made the journey over to Hull filled with the confidence that their  hopes and expectations were well-placed, revelled in an opening stanza, which had their hosts well and truly on the rack.

Indeed, all the firepower in those initial exchanges lay with the Red Devils, who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, and who were, consequently able to pen Hull on their own line for the bulk of this time.

They ran strongly, spread the ball swiftly and accurately, and when called upon to, tackled with energy and desire. In fact they did almost everything they could have done, except score.

Not that they were without opportunities, for they created three, but unfortunately without success, the first coming when Shane Wright was stopped by a last ditch tackle, extremely close to the line;

Soon afterwards, Brodie Croft’s kick-in-goal was just a little too strong for the chasing Ken Sio, who was unable to repeat his similar try-scoring feat from last week, and the ball had cleared the dead-ball line, before the winger got his hands to it.

Their final chance of taking the lead came with Joe Burgess’s scoot from dummy-half, only for him to be held up over the line, and shortly afterwards the whole game changed far more dramatically than anyone would have predicted.

Off the field, things had not been running as smoothly as is normally the case.  The withdrawal of James Greenwood in the warm-up led to the introduction of Ryan Lannon into the side was probably a greater cause of disruption than might be obvious with his inclusion coming not simply onto the bench, but, of necessity, directly into the starting lineup.

Then there was some confusion over an injury to Dan Sarginson, which ended up costing the team two of their allotted substitutions, and meant that players could not be rotated or rested as frequently, or for as long, as normal.  King Vuniyayawa, in particular, played a considerable number of minutes, over and above his scheduled time span.  Fatigue, and occasionally injury, can be an inevitable consequence of that.

Two wayward passes, however, were the cause of the remarkable first-half turnaround, with both leading to Hull tries on their right flank.  These were then followed shortly after by two others the first of which came down that same side of the field, and within that second period of fifteen minutes, the Humbersiders had taken a twenty points, unanswered lead.

To be fair to the Salford players at this stage, they galvanised together, and returned to producing the better aspects of their play which had been so noticeable in the first fifteen, and this time it brought benefits.

A high bomb from Marc Sneyd looked to be well-covered by the Hull defence, only for Tim Lafae to pounce from nowhere, and rob them of the possession, with a try close to the Hull posts.

A half-time deficit of fourteen points is not insurmountable, but one always had the sense that Salford had to be first to score in the second half.  They certainly seemed to be up for the task, upon the resumption, but little more than five minutes had elapsed, when they were reduced to twelve men with the sin-binning of Sneyd, after a disagreement with Hull’s Connor.

If the second period of fifteen minutes had been a game-changers, this ten minute spell was to more or less finish off the contest, for by the time Sneyd had returned, the Hull tally had ratcheted up from twenty to thirty-six points, and there was to be little way back for the visitors, thereafter.

In fact it was Hull, who further extended their lead to forty-two points, with the second of two extremely cruel bounces of the ball.  Fullback, Ryan Brierley, it had earlier been, whose attempt to deal with a low Hull kick-through, to the posts, had been so thwarted, while for this latest score the bounce prevented Burgess from making the ball safe, and on both occasions Hull chasers were on hand to take advantage of the luck which had come their way.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils  once again regrouped to share the scoring in the final twenty minutes with two of their own to match this latest, and one further final one from the home side.

The first of  Salford’s could, arguably, make claim to have been the try of the match, starting as it did with a sideways kick to hand, and the ball then passing through six pairs of hands before Sio crossed in the corner.

Tim Lafae wound up proceedings for the visiting Reds, with the second of his brace, touching down a kick through, but it was all little more than cold comfort for those connected with Salford.

Bad days at the office come round to everyone, at times.  The important thing is to learn from each, put it behind you, and in Salford’s case produce a quick and effective response, preferably at Huddersfield next week.

Greenwood – “I’m looking forward to the next few seasons”

Salford Red Devils are delighted to announce that James Greenwood has signed a two-year contract extension, with the option of a third.

Our number 21 joined the club permanently in 2020 having spent a short loan spell at Salford in 2015, and helped the Red Devils reach their first Challenge Cup Final since 1969 last season, scoring a try at Wembley.

Speaking on his contract extension, Greenwood, who is sponsored by Salford Rum, said: “It was a simple decision for me to extend my stay, I’ve really enjoyed my time so far at Salford.

“I’m focused on doing my part for the team and giving it 100% for the fans every game. I’m looking forward to the next few seasons as we all look to push on and improve from this year.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall said:  “James has been a pleasure to work with this year. It’s been no coincidence that the games we’ve played well in this season have involved James.

“I think he can further develop next year in what will be an exciting and fit pack. He could well be the cornerstone of that group after a good preseason and further emerge as a leader down the line.”

Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said: “I’m delighted that Greeny has extended his stay here at Salford, he’s a brilliant individual and a quality player.

“I know he’s had a bit of bad luck this season with his injuries, but he’s been working hard off the field and with a good preseason, he’ll be back in top form in 2022.”

MATCH REPORT | SALFORD RED DEVILS 34-8 LEIGH CENTURIONS | FRIDAY 23 APRIL 2021

Salford Red Devils marked the return of Betfred Super League action at the The Salford Stadium, with a 34-8 victory over neighbours Leigh Centurions.

After trailing early on and going into the break two points behind the visitors, a strong performance in the second forty ensured Richard Marshall secured his first Betfred Super League win at the helm at Salford.

It took only six minutes for the first try of the game and it was Leigh who struck first, Matthew Russell receiving the ball down the left wing and grounding near the corner.

Salford took the lead, however, just over 15 minutes later through James Greenwood, who had only been on the field a matter of minutes in replace of the injured Matt Costello, before he powered over the Leigh line to the left of the sticks.

Leigh responded just before the half-hour mark, again finding success down the left flank and this time it was Iain Thornley who scored for the Centurions.

Half time: Salford Red Devils 6-8 Leigh Centurions

Salford came out looking the livelier outfit in the second forty and Kevin Brown put the Red Devils back in front in the 50th minute, finding a gap in the Leigh line and darting over to the right.

15 minutes later, Krisnan Inu intercepted a Leigh pass and just managed to bat the ball to Sio, who was too quick f0r the Centurions, running almost the length of the field to ground the ball down the right and pick up his third Betfred Super League try in four games.

James Greenwood, who had looked threatening ever since he came on, broke the line in the 70th minute and fed Harvey Livett who, in turn, fed Brown for his second try of the game, this time towards the left of the sticks.

Livett set up his second try in as many minutes, this time feeding Chris Atkin for his first Betfred Super League try of the season.

Livett picked up a try of his own just before the hooter, and just minutes after he saw a try ruled out for obstruction, after some great passing down the left set the number 20 up for his second Betfred Super League try in two consecutive games.

Salford welcome Castleford Tigers to the The Salford Stadium in a week’s time, in Round 5 of the Betfred Super League. Sign up to RDTV to hear everything Richard Marshall had to say in tonight’s post-match press conference.

Full time: Salford Red Devils 34-8 Leigh Centurions

Salford Red Devils: Kear, Sio, Inu, Costello, Williams, Lolohea, Brown, Mossop, Patton, Ikahihifo, Livett, Roberts, Wells, Greenwood, Lussick, Atkin, Burke.

Leigh Centurions: Mullen, Russell, Gelling, Thornley, Tierney, Reynolds, Brierley, McCarthy, Hood, Flower, Hellewell, Thompson, Bell, Peats, Ioane, Gerrard, Gee.

Salford tries: Greenwood, Brown, Sio, Brown, Atkin, Livett

Salford goals: Inu (5/6)

Leigh tries: Russell, Thornley

Referee: James Child

Image credit: Steve McCormick

James Greenwood “A really good culture”

Salford Red Devils’ James Greenwood believes the Club’s culture had changed massively when he returned to the The Salford Stadium permanently this year, compared to his time as a loanee in 2015. 
The 29-year-old arrived at Salford five years ago on loan from Wigan Warriors, and after signing permanently from Hull Kingston Rovers this year, noticed a big difference in the Club’s setup.
“I probably couldn’t even describe how different it is,” Greenwood said.
“I think it’s the culture, the staff and Ian Watson – just what they’re trying to build now.
“They’re getting players to perform together – wanting to perform together, and the proof is in the pudding. They’ve got a really good culture going, I think that’s huge.”
Greenwood played a pivotal role in Salford’s Coral Challenge Cup run, scoring in the Quarters, Semis and the Final, which can all be watched on RDTV.
Speaking on his Wembley try, Greenwood said: “At the time I thought we’d just about managed to start breaking Leeds down. In our heads we were like ‘we’ve got these now.’
“I’ll definitely look back on it as part of my career, three consecutive cup games and three tries.”


Salford have no time to dwell on the disappointment of last weekend, with Wigan next on Friday night in the Betfred Super League.
“We’ll be back in training, focusing on that game. Wigan was the last game before lockdown at home, and we did a job on them then,” Greenwood added.
“I don’t see why we can’t do a job on them again, I think they’re there for the taking.”
All matches from Salford Red Devils’ 2020 Coral Challenge Cup campaign are available to watch on RDTV.

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