RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: LEEDS V SALFORD

It must have seemed the ideal opening fixture to the Leeds Rhinos, when first announced – a home game against a Salford side which had had to overcome a somewhat more turbulent close-season than most, whilst the fact that two of its former stars, Andy Ackers and Brodie Croft, were now resplendent in the ranks of the new-look Rhinos side, added even more spice to the occasion.

Fast forward to the seventieth minutes of the game itself, however, and that assumed, initial exuberance must have soured considerably, with the Red Devils having put all of the above behind them, taken the game by the scruff of the neck, and enforced their domination onto it to the extent that they were, by this point, in the lead at 14-16, having held pole position on the scoreboard for around three-quarters of the encounter.

It had all been down to the sheer determination, commitment, self-belief both as a team and individually, and clear understanding, adherence to, and confidence in the game plan, which for much of the time appears to have worked like a dream. It started with an immaculate kicking game from scrum half, Marc Sneyd, which had the home side’s defence in all sorts of trouble, turning them around, scrambling to defuse them, and even causing handling errors in recovery.

He, it was, who put in the neatest of angled kicks, behind the defence, for fellow halfback, Cade Cust, out of all the debutants on view that evening, to be the one to open the scoring by grounding between the posts, with Sneyd converting for a six point lead.

Oli Partington, surprisingly, was Salford’s other try scorer; ‘surprisingly’ because in his role he gets little opportunity of doing so. On this occasion, however, Leeds’s defensive line opened up for him, seemingly convinced he was going to send out a pass to the left. His speedy reaction of exploiting same opening brought him his first score in Salford colours.

Not that there were not adversities to overcome. Two sinbinnings meant that the Reds were down to twelve men for ten minutes in each half, and indeed Leeds scored two of their three tries during those two spells. The first saw the Rhinos utilise the extra man in getting Handley in the clear close to his own line, whilst the other came from powerhouse, Lisone, who supported a half break close to the line and, from there, there was no chance of stopping him putting the Rhinos ahead at this crucial point of the game.

What none of this does, however, is reflect the incredible defensive effort the Salford players put in right throughout the game. Two periods, one in each half, had the home side camped on the Red Devils line for seemingly interminable lengths of time, without any possession to give them some little respite, as Leeds got repeat set after repeat set, yet ending it all with absolutely nothing to show for either.

In the end, it was down to an extremely high penalty count in favour of the Rhinos. Not only did this give Martin chance to add to his hundred percent goal kicking performance, on other occasions it added to the energy-sapping defending the Reds had to do. Undoubtedly, the coaching staff will have this in hand a will work to eliminate this particular snag. All the other signs are that the team could cause some real upsets as the season progresses.

MATCH REPORT: LEEDS RHINOS 22-16 SALFORD RED DEVILS (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 1)

A battling Salford Red Devils were narrowly beaten by Leeds Rhinos at AMT Headingley.

Cade Cust and Oliver Partington were both on the scoresheet, but Sam Lisone’s late effort was enough for Rohan Smith’s team to take the two points.

Salford were the ones to attack first and had a brilliant set that took them just 10 metres out.

Another chance was presented for Salford when Marc Sneyd lifted a bomb just in-front of the Rhinos try line. Tim Lafai forced the error and Luis Roberts knocked-on.

The pressure paid off as Jack Ormondroyd was stripped of the ball when setting for the tackle. Sneyd converted the penalty-goal to put Salford into a two point lead.

A solid Salford defensive set followed, but a high tackle from Ryan Brierley led to a yellow card for the fullback, with Rhyse Martin converting the penalty-goal.

Sneyd – who was lethal with the boot – put a second bomb swirling into the air, which led to another fumble and another brilliant chance for Salford to capitalise.

Cade Cust, on debut, ran a brilliant line through the Leeds middle to latch onto Sneyd’s deft grubber kick and slam down.

Sneyd added the extras and Salford led 2-8.

Salford managed to nudge the ball deep into opposition territory a few minutes later, but the hosts quickly fired it left to find Ash Handley, who charged the full length to power Leeds level.

Nene Macdonald earned Salford a scrum with seven minutes to go in the half and, on the fourth tackle, Oliver Partington stepped away from the ruck and spotted a gap to power over.

Salford went close again with another great kick by Sneyd into Leeds’ left corner, but Cross was a fraction late with his run and spilled the ball out of play – bringing a frantic first 40 to a close.

Early in the second-half, Leeds had a dangerous set on the Salford 10m line and were denied twice by a solid defensive effort.

Skipper, Kallum Watkins was the first to halt the Rhinos with a sprawling tackle, with Sam Stone the next to thwart what looked a certain try from Andy Ackers’ grubber.

Leeds run the ball wide and force a 3-on-2, drawing the final Salford man to release Ash Handley, who touched down in the corner for his second of the evening.

A lovely dummy-half run from Cust put Salford on the front foot. His pass to Brierley was popped out the back to Chris Atkin, who was hit by a Paul Momirovski shoulder charge, resulting in a yellow card.

That allowed Sneyd to kick for another two points, putting the Reds back into a 14-16 lead.

It was soon back level again when Amir Bourouh was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements and Martin called for the kicking tee to nudge over two more.

Then, with just nine minutes left to play, Leeds’ Sam Lisone crashed right through the middle of Salford’s fatigued defensive line to score the match-winning try.

A few opportunities for Salford in the closing exchanges threatened a potential golden point decider, but the hooter was a welcome sound for the Rhinos, who hung on to a Round 1 victory.

Next up for the Red Devils is our return to the Salford Stadium. Join us back home for Round 2 against Castleford Tigers on Sunday 25th February by clicking here.

MATCH FACTS:

Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, Chris Hankinson, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Deon Cross, Cade Cust, Marc Sneyd, Jack Ormondroyd, Amir Bourouh, Brad Singleton, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Oliver Partington.

Interchanges: Joe Shorrocks, Shane Wright, Ben Hellewell, Chris Atkin.

Tries: Cade Cust, Oliver Partington.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (4/4)

Leeds’ line-up: Lachlan Miller, Luis Roberts, Harry Newman, Paul Momirovski, Ash Handley, Brodie Croft, Matt Frawley, Mikołaj Olędzki, Andy Ackers, James Donaldson, Mickael Goudemand, Rhyse Martin, Cameron Smith.

Interchanges: Justin Sangare, Sam Lisone, James Bentley, Jarrod O’Connor.

Tries: Ash Handley (2), Sam Lisone.

Conversions: Rhyse Martin (4/4)

HT: Leeds Rhinos 8-14 Salford Red Devils.

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

TEAM NEWS | FOUR SALFORD DEBUTS IN ROUND 1

Paul Rowley has handed debuts to four of his new signings for tonight’s Round 1 clash against Leeds Rhinos.

Amongst them is exciting halfback, Cade Cust, who was absent from our pre-season friendly squad, but is back and raring to go at Headingley.

Elsewhere, despite coming through our youth ranks, Chris Hankinson makes his first grade debut on the wing, with Joe Shorrocks also expected to make his mark off the interchange bench.

The name on everybody’s lips, Nene Macdonald starts in the centre and will be hoping to make the difference at the place he used to call home.

On the opposite flank, Deon Cross is set to make his 150th career appearance, with Jack Ormondroyd, also about to bring up 200, at prop.

Head to our social channels to give your reaction and follow the game live!

TEAM: Brierley, Hankinson, Macdonald, Lafai, Cross, Cust, Sneyd, Ormondroyd, Bourouh, Singleton, Watkins, Stone, Partington.

INTERCHANGES: Atkin, Shorrocks, Wright, Hellewell.

18TH MAN: Connell.

STONE: “HOPEFULLY WE CAN SPOIL THE PARTY!”

Sam Stone is excited to get our Betfred Super League campaign underway this evening.

The Red Devils travel over the Pennies to face Leeds Rhinos in a mouthwatering encounter, where familiar faces are aplenty on both sides.

Paul Rowley has been victorious in Round 1 on both occasions during his reign as Head Coach, so is aiming to make it a hat-trick at AMT Headingley.

Notoriously a tough place for Salford to visit, last season’s 12-22 victory in West Yorkshire will surely give the team optimism they can triumph in such a hostile arena.

One of the try scorers that day, Sam Stone, believes the team are ready to get going and show the Rhinos what they can offer.

“We’re excited,” he told our YouTube channel after captain’s run, “Obviously Leeds have put on a good show for Round 1, we’re expecting a good crowd and hopefully we can spoil the party a little bit.

“The Saints friendly didn’t go as planned, but we took a lot out of it and I think we’re ready for a big game this week.”

With all the narratives and storylines pre-written for this one, the Aussie says the players just have to focus on themselves and block out an distractions.

“Just focus on us. We need to be really disciplined, I think it’s something we’ve worked really hard on during pre-season.

“With a big crowd, I don’t think we’ll get too many calls in our favour, so let’s just be disciplined and I think we’ll be alright.”

A strong Salford faithful are also expected to make the trip and Stone concluded to say how important it is for them to drag them over the line in the big moments.

“It’s massive. Not letting the crowd bully the ref into some decisions and stuff like that,” he explained.

“The more people we can have and the louder they are, the better it is for us.”

See our full interview with Sam on YouTube by clicking here.

MATCH PREVIEW – LEEDS RHINOS VS SALFORD RED DEVILS (ROUND 1)

The Betfred Super League is back with a bang.

Salford Red Devils travel to face Leeds Rhinos at AMT Headingley Stadium in what is proving to be the most eagerly anticipated fixture of Round 1.

Two sides stacked with talent go head-to-head for the first points of 2024, with familiar faces in both camps looking to claim a scalp on the team they used to battle alongside.

Headingley has so long been a tough place for Salford to visit, but victories in 2019 and 2023 will give Paul Rowley’s team plenty of motivation to start the season with a big performance.

Fireworks are expected.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

There’s already a strong Salford contingent travelling over the Pennines to get 2024 underway, but there is still time to join them and make a difference.

Tickets are available to buy directly for the Salford Stadium ticket office until 12pm tomorrow – book your place by clicking HERE.

Afterwards, tickets will be available directly from the Headingley ticket office to pay-on-the day – in both standing and seated areas of the stadium.

Any uncollected, pre-purchased tickets will also be taken to the Headingley ticket office.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Salford Red Devils receive commission on all tickets pre-purchased from Salford Stadium and nothing from on the day sales, so we urge you to buy your tickets from us directly.


SQUAD NEWS

The first 21-man squad of the season and the first chance supporters may get to see our new, exciting halfback, Cade Cust in action.

After picking up a slight injury concern prior to our pre-season friendly against St Helens, the Aussie is fit and raring to make his Salford Red Devils debut.

Nene Macdonald will make his return to Headingley, with talented reserves’ player, Nathan Connell also included amongst the squad for this one.

Check out the full list below:


TRAVELLING SUPPORTER INFORMATION

Salford supporters have been allocated both standing in the Western Terrace, and seating in section A of the North Stand, alongside the pitch.

In each of these areas, supporters will need to enter via the turnstiles stated on their tickets which are on Kirkstall Lane (Gate G).

It’s advised fans purchase tickets in advance of match day, as prices do increase thereafter. However, should fans wish to buy on the day of the game, they can purchase tickets which will allow access to the Western Terrace via the turnstiles on Kirkstall Lane (Gate G), using contactless payment with either a credit/debit card or payment using a smartphone.

Cash is no longer accepted on the turnstiles.

Turnstiles for this fixture will open three hours before kick off.

There is no parking available at the stadium and all parking is on street. Please ensure if you are parking your vehicle in the surrounding streets that you do it sensibly, you dispose of any waste responsibly, and finally, remain on public highways and keep noise levels to a minimum.


LAST TIME OUT

Rhys Williams, Sam Stone and Ellis Longstaff were all on the scoresheet as Paul Rowley’s side produced a memorable display at Headingley last season.

A quick fire double from the Red Devils’ stunned a Rohan Smith side that were already a man down following Blake Austin’s sin-binning.

Richie Myler got Leeds back into the contest just before half-time, but Longstaff’s effort, on the stretch, secured the two points and moved Salford outside the top four on just points difference.


WHERE CAN I WATCH?

As part of a historic deal with main broadcaster, Sky Sports, every Betfred Super League will be shown live for the first time.

Tomorrow’s fixture will be live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Action from 7:30pm, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm.

Highlights will be available on our YouTube and RDTV platforms shortly after the full-time hooter, with the full match replay uploaded on Monday morning.


PAUL ROWLEY NAMES SQUAD FOR ROUND 1

Head Coach, Paul Rowley has named a 21-man squad for Friday’s clash against Leeds Rhinos.

The Betfred Super League is back and our first fixture of 2024 see’s us face a few familiar faces at AMT Headingley Stadium.

We have been victorious on our last two opening weekend fixtures – against Castleford Tigers and Leigh Leopards – so the Red Devils are looking to make it a hat-trick on Friday night.

Tickets are still on sale until 12pm on Friday, so make sure to join us at AMT Headingley by clicking here.

SQUAD NEWS:

Ahead of this eagerly awaited fixture, our Head Coach has named a squad packed with exciting new faces and plenty of firepower to take on the Rhinos.

After a slight injury issue ahead of our pre-season friendly against St Helens, new signing, Cade Cust is fit and ready to make his Salford Red Devils debut.

Also included amongst the squad is versatile reserves player, Nathan Connell, who has been recently training with Paul Rowley’s first grade squad.

Check out the full list below:

WATKINS: “IT’S GOING TO BE FIREWORKS!”

Skipper, Kallum Watkins is expecting fireworks when Salford Red Devils go head-to-head with Leeds Rhinos at Headingley next Friday.

With pre-season preparations all-but over, 2024’s edition of the Betfred Super League is almost upon us, and yesterday’s launch gave us a sneak preview of what to expect.

Some of the countries best players converged on the Aviva Studios in Manchester to speak to major broadcasters and journalists about the season ahead.

Joining Head Coach, Paul Rowley and Cade Cust was our ever-reliable club captain, Kallum Watkins, who gave us his thoughts on a mouthwatering Round 1 clash.

Speaking to our YouTube channel, Watkins said: “It’s going to be fireworks, isn’t it?

“It was kind of written with everything going on in the off-season that it was going to be the first game for us.”

Watkins continued: “To play at Headingley, it’s such an iconic place, I had so many great years there and it makes it all the more special to do it with Salford as well, which is a club that means a hell-of-a-lot to me, so exciting times.

“We’ve got a couple of players that were here in the past with Brodie (Croft) and (Andy) Ackers, which makes it more intense, we’re expecting fireworks that’s for sure.

“That’s what it’s all about, that’s what the games all about and getting the season underway, and getting the result at Leeds.”

Last season, a fantastic team performance secured a rare win at a ground where Salford have had so much misfortune over the years.

When asked what we have to do to replicate that, our number 12 said: “Look, we’ve got to come up with a great performance to get our season started; and how we’ll plan, how we’ll prepare will impact that, so we can focus on Leeds.

“It’s a week away now, so it’s exciting times and we can prepare the best we can. For us, it’s about competing at a high level and making sure we’re ready.”

“They’re a top side, they’ve signed really well, so for us, we’ve got to embrace the opportunities we’re given. This is a big game, something we’re excited about and we want to take it with both hands.”

To watch our full interview with the skipper, head to our YouTube channel here.

LEEDS RHINOS VS SALFORD RED DEVILS – ROUND 1 ON SALE NOW!

It’s time to get excited!

The Betfred Super League returns with a bang on Friday 16th February, as we take-on Leeds Rhinos at AMT Headingley Stadium.

Expect plenty of fireworks between two sides stacked with elite firepower, as Paul Rowley and co aim to kickstart 2024 on the winning front.

Nene Macdonald will be on familiar territory, with the likes of Cade Cust, Joe Shorrocks and Joe Mellor also set to don red and white for the first time.

In the same fixture last season, Ellis Longstaff’s try was crucial in a famous win over the Rhinos, which saw us leapfrog to just four points behind top spot

Tickets for Round 1 are ON SALE NOW! Click HERE to secure your place.

All the relevant pricing and ticketing information can be found below.

*Valid ID is required for all concessions – please bring this along on match day.

Disabled supporters are entitled to a free companion ticket upon production of companion allowance entitlement letter and can purchase directly from the Leeds Rhinos ticket office by calling 0371 423 1315, or via email on tickets@therhinos.co.uk.

Under 5’s do not require a ticket for the standing areas. In the seated area, they will require a ticket, and this is priced at £5.

A reminder of our ticket office opening times can be found below.

There is also a limited amount of disabled parking available which can also be booked by emailing kevin.brock@therhinos.co.uk.

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Salford Red Devils receive commission on all tickets pre-purchased from Salford Stadium and nothing from on the day sales, so we urge you to buy your tickets from us directly.

SALFORD RED DEVILS LEARN ROUND 1 & 2 OPPONENTS FOR 2024’S BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE

Salford Red Devils will visit Leeds Rhinos in Round 1, before returning home to face Castleford Tigers in Round 2 of 2024’s Betfred Super League.

The eagerly awaited, full 2024 fixture list is almost upon us, with our opening home and away games now confirmed.

We’re on the road to AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium on Friday, February 16th, with an 8pm kick-off, as the Super League season gets underway with a bang.

Rohan Smith’s Rhinos finished 8th place last season, but will be targeting a return to the top six, after reaching the Grand Final in 2022.

Our first home fixture of the season is a meeting with the Castleford Tigers. A team who narrowly avoided relegation in 2023, but will be rejuvenated by a new Head Coach, and a number of new signings.

They’ll travel to the Salford Stadium on Sunday, February 25th, for a 3pm kick-off.

Our last trip to Headingley was a successful one. Rhys Williams, Sam Stone and Ellis Longstaff were all on the scoresheet, as Salford recorded a fourth consecutive Super League victory.

There was a similar gritty performance the last time Cas visited the the Salford Stadium.

A stunning break, triggered by the excellence of Kallum Watkins, sent Brodie Croft strolling under the posts, before Shane Wright crashed through in the second forty to confirm victory.

Resolute defending by Ryan Brierley in the latter stages of the game was another highlight, as the Red Devils clung on to a crucial two points.

With both opening fixtures now confirmed, all eyes will be on tomorrow’s full fixture list, set to be released 8:30am!

ANDY ACKERS LEAVES SALFORD

We can confirm Andy Ackers has joined Leeds Rhinos. 

The 29-year-old signed for Salford Red Devils in June 2020 and has gone on to make 74 appearances, scoring 10 tries. 

Signing an initial two-year deal, Ackers was reunited with now-Head Coach, Paul Rowley, who he also worked with during his time at Toronto Wolfpack. 

During his four-year tenure, the natural hooker has shown clear signs of improvement, year on year – but 2022 was his real breakthrough campaign. 

Making 28 appearances across the season, Ackers was at the heart of some pivotal moments during our push for the playoffs. 

Most notably, supporters will fondly remember his late try in the 2022 Eliminator, against Huddersfield Giants.  

After an outstanding campaign, Ackers was deservedly named in Shaun Wane’s England World Cup squad. 

After making his debut against Fiji in a warm-up fixture, Ackers went on to score two tries in a 94-4 victory over Greece in the group stage. 

Continuing his flying form into 2023, he contributed to opening day success against Leigh Leopards with a trademark scurry from dummy-half, just before the half-time hooter. 

Despite a string of head knocks plaguing his season, Ackers continued to perform at a very high level when available.  

We would like to thank Andy for his efforts during his four-year stay and wish him – and his family – all the best for his future endeavours.  

Sign up to the official newsletter