Salford Red Devils vs St Helens – Preview

Tonight Ian Watson’s Salford Red Devils welcome the visit of St Helens in our final game of the 2017 season here is the preview for tonight’s Super 8s clash.
Form
It hasn’t been an easy ride for the Red Devils in their first ever Super 8s however they did win earn a comfortable 52-14 victory in their previous home outing against Huddersfield and Salford will be looking to react from last weekend’s defeat at Leeds by ending St Helens’ charge for a top four spot.
A win for Saints would confirm their position in the Super League semi-finals which would highlight the turnaround at the club since Justin Holbrook’s arrival in May. St Helens head into tonight’s game following back-to-back wins against Yorkshire sides Wakefield and Huddersfield.
Head-to-head
Tonight’s  game could be decided on which half-back performs better between Robert Lui and Jonny Lomax. Both players are of similar stature and play a similar brand of rugby.
Lui has been a consistent performer for the Red Devils throughout 2017 and his creativity near the opponents line means he’s a danger every time he has ball in hand. Look out for Lui linking up with back-rower Ben Murdoch-Masila – they’re partnership has been lethal at times in 2017.
Lomax has been in terrific form for St Helens as of late scoring three tries in his last two games as well crossing in each of his last three meetings with Salford. Lomax is a versatile player who can play at full-back or in the halves but expect him to be in the playmaking role this evening due to the arrival of Ben Barba. Lomax will be looking to make it three try-scoring appearances on the run.
Meetings this season
The last time St Helens visited the The Salford Stadium back late March the Red Devils earned a 22-14 victory with Michael Dobson being the star of the show crossing for two tries and kicking four goals. Craig Kopczak also powered his way over with Lomax, Alex Walmsley and Ryan Morgan and scoring for St Helens.
Watson’s men were on course to make it two wins from two against St Helens in 2017 leading 24-8 with seven minutes remaining but late tries from James Roby, Regan Grace and Jonny Lomax and a 40-yard Matty Smith drop-goal sealed victory for St Helens. A Niall Evalds double with tries from Greg Johnson and Lui had given Salford a 16-point lead.
 
Fans can still purchase tickets for tonight’s game against St Helens up until kick-off from the Club Ticket Office. Season Tickets are valid for tonight’s game. Fans can also purchase tickets for tonight’s End of Season Awards Evening from the Club Ticket Office and it will take place in our 1873 suite post-match.

Factfile – Salford Red Devils vs St Helens

Ahead of our final game of the 2017 season here are all the facts before we host St Helens tomorrow night.
Head-to-head
The Red Devils failed to win a game against St Helens between June 2010 and June 2015 – a run of 11 games however Salford have managed to overcome Saints twice in their last four meetings.
Both of the Red Devils victories since 2016 have come at the The Salford Stadium with Ian Watson’s men earning a convincing 44-10 victory last season before edging out Saints 22-14 in March, also.
In nine games between September 2011 and June 2015 Salford scored a combined total of just 76 points against St Helens but have since managed to rack up a combined total of 110 points in their last four meetings; scoring 20 or more in each.
Against their former club
There are three Red Devils who have enjoyed stints with St Helens – Mark Flanagan, Josh Jones and Gareth O’Brien.
Flanagan, who is still sidelined, featured for Saints between 2012 and 2015 and played in their 2014 Super League Grand Final triumph. Jones was also on the field for St Helens’ 14-6 victory over Wigan and played almost 100 games for this week’s opponents before switching codes.
O’Brien spent a short spell on loan in 2013 from Warrington and kicked 25 goals in seven appearances for the Merseyside team.
Saints have two former Red Devils and both come in the halves. French half-back Theo Fages made the move to the Totally Wicked Stadium in 2016 from Salford while Matty Smith moved to the The Salford Stadium from Saints, following a loan spell, in 2011 and now finds himself back with St Helens after a four-year stint with Wigan Warriors.
Try-scorers
If there’s one Red Devil who enjoys playing against St Helens its full-back Niall Evalds who has notched an impressive seven tries in his last four appearances against them.
Evalds crossed for two in the 25-24 defeat at the Totally Wicked Stadium as well as scoring a hat-trick in the visit to St Helens last season. The last time Saints visited the AJ Bell Evalds was also on the scoresheet grabbing a brace.
However, Saints have their own full-back come half-back who enjoys coming up against the Red Devils in Jonny Lomax. Lomax, who has scored three in his last two outings, has also scored in each of his last three appearances against Salford.
 
Tickets are on sale for our final home game of the season against St Helens and can be purchased over the phone, at the Club Ticket Office or online here. Fans can also watch our end of season awards for an extra £5 in the 1873 suite post-game. Season Tickets are valid for all Super 8s home games.

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