Factfile | St Helens vs Salford Red Devils | Sunday 4th March

Ahead of Sunday’s Betfred Super League clash with St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium we take a look at the facts behind this fixture.
Saints are somewhat of a bogey team for Salford however the Red Devils have begun to curve that in recent seasons with two wins against St Helens in their last five meetings with the six-time Betfred Super League winners.
Both of these victories came at the The Salford Stadium with a comfortable 44-10 win in 2016 followed by a 22-14 victory in round eight of the 2017 Betfred Super League season.
However, it’s on the road where the difficulties lie for Salford as they are without a win at St Helens since 1980. The closest the Red Devils have come to edging out Saints at St Helens came last season when a last-minute drop-goal from former Red Devil Matty Smith sealed a win for Justin Holbrook’s side.
Overall in the Super League era, Salford have won six times against St Helens while the hosts have won 36 times against the Red Devils. There is yet to be a draw between the two sides in the Betfred Super League.
Last weekend Niall Evalds crossed twice in a convincing 36-12 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers at the The Salford Stadium and in the process became the first-ever Salford player to score in each of the opening games of a Betfred Super League season.
Evalds also enjoys playing at the Totally Wicked Stadium as the versatile back scored twice in the narrow 25-24 loss at St Helens last season. In fact, Evalds has scored in his last four competitive outings including a try in the final game of the 2017 season which came against St Helens.
As for Saints – they also have a regular threat against Salford. Prop-forward Alex Walmsley has scored three tries in his last three appearances against Salford including a brace in last season’s Super 8’s clash between the sides in late September.
Played for both
There are a host of former St Helens players in Ian Watson’s 19-man squad for this weekend. Prop-forward Lama Tasi spent time at the Totally Wicked Stadium between his two stints with the Red Devils while Josh Jones and Mark Flanagan were both part of St Helens’ 2014 Betfred Super League Grand Final winning team.
Gareth O’Brien also earned seven appearances with the Saints on loan from Warrington Wolves.
St Helens half-back duo Matty Smith and Theo Fages both enjoyed spells at the The Salford Stadium. Smith’s original stint in 2010 was on loan from St Helens before joining the Red Devils on a permanent basis. Fages came through the ranks at Salford and went on to make over 65 appearances for Salford before signing St Helens in 2016.

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.
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.
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.

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