After a sensational Betfred Super League campaign, Salford Red Devils face Huddersfield Giants in the second play-off eliminator at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A remarkable run in the second half of the season pushed the Red Devils up the table and into sixth place with a game to spare, allowing Paul Rowley the opportunity to rest and rotate some key personnel ahead of the crunch clash in West Yorkshire.
There is a further boost to the squad with the return of Joe Burgess. The winger has 15 tries this season and has formed a sensational left-edge partnership with Tim Lafai, so Rowley and the supporters will be delighted to see him back in action after a short period on the sidelines.
Last time out against Huddersfield, Salford romped to a 33-16 victory at the The Salford Stadium. The Red Devils were quick out the blocks and imposed their intent on the game, but were put under some massive pressure early in the second half. However, they rode that particular storm and secured a vital two points.
The Reds have not beaten the Giants away from home in two attempts this season, but will be hoping to take their late-season form into the play-offs.
A game of such magnitude needs no introduction, but speaking in his pre-match press conference, Paul Rowley was discussing how his side will approach the game and the importance of recovering from an early setback.
He said: “Everybody will say they want a good start, but the trick is if you don’t, you can’t give in at that point.
“Ideally, we get a good start, but what we’ve been good at is dealing with the situations put in front of us and playing for 80 minutes being resilient and having belief through tough periods, and having a ruthless streak when we’ve been in good periods.
“So whatever comes our way we’ll try and dictate as much of that as possible, but again, we respect and recognise our opposition for the good team they are.”
Moving on to reflecting on his first season in Super League, Rowley believes Salford’s progression has been all about the journey – but they’re not done just yet.
“Well it’s all about the journey and it continues to be all about the journey. We’ve made sure we’ve enjoyed every step and we need to keep enjoying every step. And as I alluded to earlier, don’t look ahead, just look what’s next and that where our journey has taken us.
“We’ve learned, progressed, and got better and better. So we’re comfortable that we’ve given ourselves an opportunity at this stage and we’ve still got a bit of energy about us.”