RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: HUDDERSFIELD V SALFORD, MAGIC WEEKEND

After two of their most impressive wins of the season, over Wakefield and Warrington, Salford Red Devils travelled to Newcastle for this season’s Magic Weekend Supported by SKY O, to take on Huddersfield with the hope that they would not only be able to avenge their loss in the away game, earlier this season, but also extend their run of victories to three, for the first time this season.

The Red Devils have become well-practised in the art of backing up one win with a second, as has happened on three occasions, Castleford & Toulouse, Leeds & Castleford, and the aforementioned Wakefield & Warrington, but have not, so far, been able to put a run of three or more together.

Unfortunately, that proved to be the case once more, at St James’s Park, with the Giants being the ones to walk tall, at the final whistle.  It was a lack of consistency throughout the encounter, which was to be the Reds’ downfall, with at least one period in which they were totally dominant  the with opposition on the rack, but there were too many occasions where they lost concentration and fell away.

The roasting conditions, out on the pitch, were not helpful to any side, but, as always, were the same for both teams, and with a lighter, more mobile pack, one might have expected that they would have suited Salford rather more than the aptly named Giants.  That, however, did not prove to be the case, and a somewhat hesitant start handed the initiative to the opposition.

The game was barely three minutes old, when a lost ball in a tackle, close to the Giants’ line, gifted them possession, and a towering end-of-set kick caused a little hesitancy in the mind of fullback, Ryan Brierley, with his being beaten to the catch by the oncoming Toby King, who took it on the full to race over between the posts.

In fairness to the Salford players, their response to this setback was admirable as they built up pressure on the Huddersfield line, and were most unfortunate not to score from Marc Sneyd’s kick into the in-goal area, with the ball just bouncing away from Rhys Williams’s hand as it came down to ground it.

A try at that point would have been most beneficial, but, as it was, things just deteriorated further with the Yorkshire side taking advantage of a seven-tackle set to proceed down-field and double their score with a try to the right of the posts.

With Huddersfield’s confidence sky-high by this point, it took some considerable endeavour in the heat, and some lengthy spells defending their line, on the part of the Salford players  to prevent their going even further behind, but it was only a matter of time before the Giants got their third score of the afternoon, from McQueen, in the 26th minute.

At long last the Reds did get some possession in good field position and were able to apply some pressure of their own and show a response, which they did with some seemingly off-the-cuff inter-passing, and switches of direction, until Deon Cross was able to hand-off a wrong-footed defender and open the Reds’ account, on 33 minutes.

Had they been able to retain this twelve-point deficit to half time, the outcome might have been very different, but the last five minutes saw repeated assaults on the Salford line, culminating with the loss of the ball, after only one tackle, affording the opposition one extra chance, with less than a minute remaining, – a chance they did not scorn.

How different things proved to be at the start of the second half, with the Red Devils coming out of the blocks determined to put right things, which had gone awry, earlier.  Secure in the belief that, particularly in those conditions, even an eighteen-point lead could be overturned, they started to build pressure of their own, but it was the individual contribution, and incredible footwork of Brodie Croft, which were to be the undoing of the Giants, in the first fifteen minutes.

Twice, on 47 and 51 minutes, he put himself in space to employ the most bewildering of tricky runs to bring the Reds back into the game.  The first came from a speedy play-the-ball by Sam Luckley, which enabled dummy-half, Andy Ackers, to scoot towards the defensive line, before passing to Croft, who sped through a gap to round Lolohea and score by the posts.

Four minutes later, the same threesome of Ackers, Luckley and Croft combined again, with this time Croft once again breaking the defensive with a slight change of direction, drawing in Lolohea, and then passing inside to the rampaging Luckley who held off all challengers to go in under the posts.  His celebration, on doing so, was such that it drew the attention of one, Alan Shearer, whose subsequent tweeting of the try, and afters, has, to date, brought just under two thousand, eight hundred ‘likes’.

One week earlier, a similar turnaround in momentum was sufficient to bring home the spoils to Salford.  Sadly, on this occasion, there was no repetition of that, with the Giants’ regrouping, playing percentages, and managing the remaining time, well.  Consequently, it was they, and not Salford, who went on to add one final try to make the game safe.

On that previous occasion, the Red Devils had built up an early eight-point lead, which was, subsequently, the winning margin.  This week, they did not have any early points to draw upon, and in that, thereby, lies a lesson which, hopefully, the whole squad will be quick to learn, even more hopefully, in time for next Sunday’s home fixture with Catalans Dragons.

Flashback | Leigh Centurions 22-36 Salford Red Devils | Dacia Magic Weekend

Ahead of this weekend’s Dacia Magic Weekend crucial Betfred Super League clash with Catalans Dragons we take a look back to last year’s fixture against Leigh Centurions in this week’s ‘Flashback’. 
The Red Devils travelled to Newcastle to face event debutants Leigh Centurions searching for another victory which would keep them in touching distance of Betfred Super League leaders at the time Castleford Tigers.
It was actually Leigh who took the lead when Matty Fleming – on loan from St Helens – crossed to open the Centurions’ account at the event however Ben Murdoch-Masila scored from a Michael Dobson kick on the ten-minute mark before Gareth O’Brien followed up with a penalty goal six minutes later to level the scores.
Leigh regained control when Mitch Brown went over but it was Murdoch-Masila who again returned the favour powering his way over for Salford. Kris Welham was next to score for Salford and give the Red Devils the lead for the first time in the match, O’Brien followed up with the conversion.
Greg Johnson scored his first of the afternoon with seven minutes of the first half remaining while Danny Tickle was denied by the video referee giving Ian Watson’s men a 12-point lead going into the interval.
The Centurions – in similar fashion to the first half – started the quicker thanks to a Ben Crooks try but they were soon reduced to 12 men following a poorly timed high challenge from Adam Higson on Gareth O’Brien.
Salford took advantage when Niall Evalds looked to have sealed the victory for the Red Devils but a Matty Dawson score did give Leigh a glimmer of hope. But, a second try from winger Johnson with fifteen minutes remaining did round off a solid 22-36 victory for Salford which moved them into 2nd in the Betfred Super League.
Salford Red Devils Head Coach, Ian Watson, said: “Every week is a big one, but it’s pleasing to come here to the Magic Weekend and pick the two points up because it’s a big occasion.
“It’s a derby and we expected Leigh to turn up. We fell off some of the things we pride ourselves on, which probably made the score in the second half slightly closer than it needed to be.
“But the boys are an honest group and they will know that, and they will fix it up because every game is becoming bigger and bigger the higher we sit in the table.”
The teams that day:
Salford: O’Brien; Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Tomkins, Tasi, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Krasniqi.
Interchanges: Hauraki, Flanagan, Lannon, Brining.
Leigh: Brown; Dawson, Crooks, Fleming, Higson; Hampshire, Drinkwater; Burr, Hood, Hansen, Paterson, Vea, Stewart.
Interchanges: Pelissier, Hock, Tickle, Hopkins.

Factfile | Catalans Dragons vs Salford Red Devils | Dacia Magic Weekend

We’ve got a special stat-packed ‘Factfile’ this week covering everything you need to know about Salford’s history at the Dacia Magic Weekend and our upcoming fixture against Catalans Dragons.
Magic Weekend
Salford are one of eleven teams to have featured at the Magic Weekend on ten or more occasions. The Red Devils have competed at the Magic Weekend ten times, the same amount as Castleford Tigers and Hull Kingston Rovers.
Salford currently sit 9th in the all-time Magic Weekend table with eight points (four wins), the same as Hull FC with the Black and Whites having played one more game at the event. A win against Catalans on Sunday would see Ian Watson’s side climb to 8th in the all-time table as they currently trail the Dragons by one point however the Frenchmen have played one more fixture at the Magic Weekend.
Salford at the Magic Weekend
Salford’s Magic Weekend record didn’t get off to a good start with the Red Devils failing to win any of their opening four games at the event.
Warrington beat Salford in Cardiff in 2007 18-50 in a season which saw the Red Devils relegated meaning they missed out on a place in Cardiff the year after.
Once Salford returned to the top flight they suffered defeats in Edinburgh in 2009 and 2010. Harlequins beat Salford 16-24 before Warrington once again earned a dominant victory, 16-68.
Wales-based Crusaders overcame Salford 42-12 in 2011 as the Magic Weekend returned to Cardiff. However, the Dacia Magic Weekend moved closer to home and it garnered the Red Devils first win at the event as Adam Sidlow’s late try won the game 38-34 against Huddersfield Giants.
Another year in Manchester marked another victory for Salford as they edged out Widnes Vikings 28-22. However, Salford couldn’t remain unbeaten at the Etihad Stadium as the Vikings returned the favour a year later with a 30-24 win.
Widnes and Salford shared victories in the first two events at Newcastle’s St James’ Park. The Red Devils won their most recent Dacia Magic Weekend fixture with a 22-36 win over event debutants Leigh Centurions in the Toon.
Catalans at the Magic Weekend
Catalans have a similar record to Salford at the Dacia Magic Weekend winning four, losing six however they have played an extra game which they drew.
The Frenchmen’s first two Magic Weekend appearances came against Harlequins RL (Now London Broncos) with a narrow 28-32 in 2007 before an even smaller margin of victory a year later as Catalans won 18-16.
In Edinburgh, Catalans suffered defeats to Leeds and Castleford before another loss at the hands of Harlequins RL in Cardiff in 2011. The Dragons finally ended their losing-streak at the Dacia Magic Weekend in 2012 as they overcame London Broncos (Previously known as Harlequins RL).
A 42-18 win over London in 2012 was followed up by an almost identical win in 2013 as they ran-out 46-18 win at the Etihad Stadium. Catalans earned a two-point victory over London in 2014 at Newcastle before a 22-22 draw with Huddersfield Giants in 2015.
Wakefield Trinity edged out the French side thanks to a monster Jacob Miller drop-goal in 2016 before Catalans lost to Huddersfield 10-18 in last year’s event.
Scoring in Salford games at Magic Weekend
Luke Dorn crossed for Salford’s first-ever Dacia Magic Weekend try in the 18-50 loss against Warrington in 2007. Martin Gleeson crossed in this game for Warrington and would score for Salford in the event six years later.
Dorn – alongside Gleeson – was a player who scored both for and against Salford at the Dacia Magic Weekend as he crossed for Harlequins RL when the sides met in 2009. Richie Myler is also amongst the list of players to score for and against Salford crossing for the Red Devils in 2009 before scoring a brace for Wire a year later in 2010.
Stefan Ratchford scored a brace for Salford in this game which he followed up with another double a year later against Warrington. Ratchford is Salford’s all-time top try-scorer at the event with four tries.
While Ratchford sits on two doubles at the event there’s a host of other Red Devils who have also scored braces at the Dacia Magic Weekend – Joel Moon (2012), Jodie Broughton (2012), Adam Sidlow (2012), Jordan James (2013), Daniel Vidot (2016), Ben Murdoch-Masila (2017) and Greg Johnson (2017). Salford are yet to have a player score a hat-trick at the Dacia Magic Weekend.
However, three players have scored hat-tricks against the Red Devils at the Dacia Magic Weekend – Michael Witt (Crusaders, 2011), Joe Mellor (Widnes, 2013) and Kevin Brown (Widnes, 2015).
Of the current squad, Greg Johnson leads the way with Dacia Magic Weekend tries sitting on three after a double last year against Leigh Centurions alongside a solitary try versus Widnes in 2015. Junior Sa’u (2014), Kris Welham (2017) and Niall Evalds (2017) are the other current Salford players to score for the Club at the event.
Head-to-Head
Salford Red Devils and Catalans Dragons have had shared success in recent seasons with three wins apiece in the fixture since a memorable 40-40 draw in March 2015.
The Red Devils have won each of the last two meetings between the teams both coming in the form of dominant home victories at the The Salford Stadium – 32-16 (March 2018), 50-12 (May 2017).
The back and forth results against each other have been a regular feature since Catalans’ inclusion into Betfred Super League with Salford winning 11, the Dragons winning on 12 occasions and there being one draw between the two sides.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the sides at the Dacia Magic Weekend.

Ian Watson | “We need to improve and look forward”

That four week run of high profile matches, which commenced with the televised game against St Helens, culminates this Sunday with arguably the highest profile of all, with our visit up to Newcastle for the Magic Weekend. 
The importance of both the occasion, and the encounter there with Catalans Dragons is very much to the forefront of Head Coach Ian Watson’s focus.
Watson said: “It’s a really big showpiece, with the feel of both the Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final with all the Super League teams being involved, it generates a similar profile to each of those, not only for rugby league as a whole, but also for the individual players.”
Indeed, over and above both of these other two events, this is the one occasion each year when every club, every player, and every fan has the opportunity of being involved, or watching their own team participating, in a big occasion, whilst Ian adds a coach’s perspective to the concept.
“It’s also an opportunity to see the majority of all the other Super League players in action.  It has also become a bit of a feeding ground for the NRL clubs, who send their agents and CEO’s over to assess the talent on display. It’s a great spectacle too for the supporters.
“Nevertheless, there is the seriousness of two league points being at stake, which has been our focus for the week.”
As supporters we might have expected that the coaching staff would have been endeavouring to get the specialness of the occasion into the preparations for the team but Ian belies this assumption.
Watson said: “The main thing for us is to take the emotion out of it all, and putting the showpiece element aside, in order to focus on the game, particularly after last week’s disappointment at Leigh.
“One penalty on the fifth tackle followed by a try under the posts swung the game away from us after we had seemed to be on fire, moments earlier.  If you give teams opportunities by failing to complete your sets it is an absolute killer and we were embarrassed by our second half completion rate.
“That, along with decision-making, has been a big aspect of our preparations, this week, because we need to improve on these and look forward positively.
“We had a great training session today [Thursday], with good ball skills, lines run, execution of plays, and decision making on the edges.”
It will be remembered that Sunday’s opponents, Catalans, were the team against whom we played at home last season just a few days after the Manchester Arena bombing, on which occasion donations, in lieu of admission fee, went to the resultant We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.
One year on, on the self-same weekend of the bombing, the Red Devils will be sporting the shirt, dedicated to the memory of the victims and voted – by an extremely large majority – the most impressive of all Magic Weekend shirts on display this year by fans via the Super League Twitter page.
“When you line all that up, it does bring that tragedy into focus and, of course, having that particular shirt, in support of such a noteworthy charity is magnificent especially with it being almost to the day on which it all happened.  We, ourselves, though, must remain clear in our vision of getting winning points on the day.”
That those tragic events came so close to last year’s Magic Weekend certainly will not be lost on Salford fans, many of whom might well have caught the train up to Newcastle, the day before, from a platform on Victoria Station, in very close proximity to where the blast was to be detonated.
“Because it happened so close to home it feels much more real, and so there is a lot more sentiment around it.  We shall be continuing this on Friday next, at the Huddersfield game, when we shall entertain guests affected by the bombing.
“In our own way, through all of this, the club is simply paying its respects to all the victims.”
With Catalans being the one team whom, this year, we shall be playing three times, it would seem imperative, therefore, that we should win at least a majority of these, which means that Sunday’s fixture becomes crucial in this respect, though it comes just as the Dragons are showing signs of improvement.
“They had been playing well ahead of our Good Friday match with them, but for us now, over the next few weeks it’s all about getting the wins, starting with this one, and we are confident that we have the quality within the squad to be able to do this.”

Squad | Ian Watson names his squad for Dacia Magic Weekend

Head Coach Ian Watson has named his 19-man squad for this weekend’s battle with Catalans Dragons at the Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Halfback Rob Lui returns to the side following a month out with a calf injury. Gavin Bennion could also be in line to appear at the Dacia Magic Weekend after debuting a fortnight ago against Wigan Warriors.
Daniel Murray will be looking to return to the side after missing out on a spot in the team in last week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup defeat to Leigh Centurions.
Ben Nakubuwai misses out due to failing his concussion assessment in last week’s loss to Leigh Centurions. Jake Shorrocks misses out on the 19-man squad.
Tickets for the Dacia Magic Weekend can be purchased from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. 
There is also coach travel to Newcastle available to book from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. The coach is priced at £25 for all classes and pick-up points and times can be seen here.
The full squad can be seen below:

Luke Burgess | “I’ve always enjoyed the concept”

Salford Red Devils prop-forward Luke Burgess endorses the Dacia Magic Weekend ahead of the sides clash with Catalans Dragons on Sunday.
The Dacia Magic Weekend is now in its third season at St James’ Park, Newcastle and Burgess feels it offers the players of the Betfred Super League a bigger stage than usual to perform on.
Burgess, sponsored by Ideal Corporate Solutions, said: “I’m looking forward to it I’ve always enjoyed the concept when I was playing in England previously and I’m looking forward to being part of it again.
“All the weekend is great and hopefully the weather is like it was at the media day and all the teams come and bring a lot of fans – it’s always a lot of fun.
“It’s always nice to have an atmosphere and it always leads to bigger games especially if we put on a bit of a show and the fans get into it they go hand in hand with each other.
“I think the general Rugby League fans enjoy this weekend, so I should imagine we’ll see quite a few getting up here and enjoying themselves particularly if the weathers nice.
“We’ve got a new jersey for the occasion which the fans love and it’s a bit of a milestone in the season the Magic Weekend we’re about halfway through the season and now we need to get up the hill and make a bit of a run towards the end.”
The Red Devils face Burgess’ former side Catalans Dragons on Sunday afternoon and the prop-forward knows the importance of getting some consistency in the second half of the regular season.
Burgess said: “We just need to be consistent and cut out the individual errors which can be easily fixed which is promising and hopefully everything else will come on the back of that.
“It’s still early in the week and we’ve got a long week ahead of preparation before we get to Sunday but we’re building towards it.” 
Tickets for the Dacia Magic Weekend can be purchased from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. 
There is also coach travel to Newcastle available to book from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570. The coach is priced at £25 for all classes and pick-up points and times can be seen here.

Tickets | Warrington Wolves away is now on sale

A wide range of Dacia Magic Weekend tickets will be getting sent back later today with the Club only keeping hold of Category Three tickets in the Gallowgate End.
Tickets are available in the East Stand and Milburn Stand however fans will need to purchase before 4pm today.
However, Salford Red Devils supporters can purchase tickets in the Gallowgate End up until Sunday’s game. Remember, Season Ticket holders can get their tickets at half-price with the Club retaining 100% of all purchases at the Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
Here is a ticket breakdown for all the areas of St James’ Park:

Tickets | Third allocation of Category Three day tickets for Magic Weekend

We can confirm that we have received a third allocation of Category Three day tickets in the Gallowgate End, St James’ Park for our Dacia Magic Weekend battle with Catalans Dragons on Sunday 20th May, 1pm kick-off.
With the first and second allocation successfully selling out, fans can now purchase from the third allocation at the The Salford Stadium Club Ticket Office or over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
There are also a range of other ticket areas and categories available for supporters. Remember, Season Ticket holders get half-price tickets for all ticket categories for the Dacia Magic Weekend and Salford Red Devils retain 100% of any purchase from the Club direct.
Here is a breakdown of all the ticket prices and categories available to fans:

Transport | Second Supporters’ Coach on sale for Magic Weekend

Following the success of the first Supporters’ Coach to the Dacia Magic Weekend in Newcastle, the Club have put on a second Supporters’ Coach.
You can now book your spot on the Supporters’ Coach for the trip to Newcastle’s St James’ Park on Sunday 20th May as the Red Devils take on Catalans Dragons at the Club Ticket Office and over the phone on 0161 786 1570.
The Supporters’ Coach to Newcastle is priced at £25 for all classes.
The pick-up points and times can be seen below:
Chandos Social Club – 7:55am
Royal Sovereign – 8:05am
Eccles Town Hall – 8:20am
Dog & Partridge – 8:30am
The Salford Stadium – 8:45am
Any fans travelling on the Supporters’ Coach are reminded to arrive at their pick-up point with plenty of time.

Kit | Pre-order your Magic Weekend shirt before Sunday

Pre-order your 2018 Magic Weekend shirt before Sunday 15th April to be guaranteed it before we battle Catalans Dragons in Newcastle on Sunday 20th May.
With such a large number of pre-orders already we are urging fans to pre-order there’s before Sunday 15th April to guarantee they can wear the bee with pride at St James’ Park next month.
The shirt has captured the imagination of thousands of people on social media with the kit being sold in support of the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund with the help of Main Partners Mitsubishi Motors.
This has led fans from other teams also purchasing our 2018 Magic Weekend jersey, so we stress fans must purchase before Sunday 15th April in order to receive the kit ready for the Magic Weekend.
Click here and pre-order yours today!

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