RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: CASTLEFORD V SALFORD

It is the unpredictability in sport, especially the result, which makes it so enthralling for so many of us.  The fact that the underdog might just win is what sparks our interest, while to be there for the odd occasion when that actually happens is absolutely thrilling, as all our fans, who travelled to the Totally Wicked Stadium for our recent victory over St Helens, will testify.

Not so, however, when you happen to be the side which had been expected to win, as was the case for Salford’s fixture at the Mend-A- Hose Jungle, against Castleford, last Friday evening, which proved to be a disappointment not only for those who made the trip over, but also those who watched it on tv.

In fairness to all connected with the team, the very fact that they were actually expected to win the encounter is a great testament to the progress they have made in recent seasons.  It was not that long ago that the thought of winning any match in Yorkshire, let alone at Castleford, proved to be somewhat fruitless, but the more successful a team is the more that this sort of disappointment is likely to happen.  If it can happen to St Helens, it can happen to anyone.

There had been some little warning in the games in which the two sides were involved the previous round, but it can also be argued that the seeds for this outcome were sown back in Round 2, when an extremely similar encounter, which also saw the game swing back and forth between the two sides ended with the Red Devils running out 26-22 victors.

The Tigers had been really disappointed at this, feeling that they had done enough to have won it themselves, and probably consoled themselves by briefly earmarking the return fixture as one to look forward to.  Certainly, once they got in control in the last quarter, on Friday, they were always going to find enough energy and endeavour to try and hold on, which they managed to do.

Not that there was any sign of this through the opening fifteen minutes, when Salford swept to an eight-point lead, from Deon Cross’s try and two goals from Marc Sneyd, and they looked as though they were capable of scoring with regularity.  The sinbinning of Amir Bourouh was an impediment but could not be said to have been a turning point, as the Tigers had already given clear warning of their capability and determination, through the first of Ines Senior’s tries down the left wing.

By the time Bourouh returned, the home side, with numerical advantage, had taken charge, but there was still time for the Red Devils to hit back then and to narrow the half-time score to 14-18, with Tim Lafae’s converted try.

With the slope in their favour and a half-time discussion to spur them on, Salford really stepped up a gear with two excellent tries from Nene Macdonald and Ryan Brierley to take the score to 18-24.

Probably the really big turning point of the game was the over-ruling by both referee and video ref of Cade Cust’s attempted score on 53 mins, owing to a knock-forward in the contest for possession, prior to the grounding.  So often, we have seen in televised matches, teams, which regain possession in such circumstances, launch a counter-attack ending with a try at the other end of the pitch, and it was with Senior’s second score that Castleford started their come-back.

It was the confidence this rekindled in the home side, which was the most telling factor, allied to their sheer desperation for the win.  The difference from then on between the two sides was that Salford really wanted to win, but Castleford so badly needed it, and were determined not to let this one slip in the way that they felt they had done at Salford, back in February.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V WIGAN

It was always going to be a considerable challenge backing up that historic victory over St Helens, last week, after a forty-four year wait, against the current league leaders and World Club Champions, Wigan Warriors, because playing against teams of that calibre, with their extra size, power, speed and flair, really takes it out of opposing players.  It is not unusual for other sides to suffer a drop in their own performance, the week following an encounter with one or other of these two teams.

Salford, though, have been a real eye-opener so far this season, and it would be fair to say that Thursday evening’s fixture was between the two most in-form sides in Super League, and any doubters to that view must surely have had their opinions corrected by the Red Devils’ contribution to what proved to be a most high-class contest between the two sides.

One might say that this was almost unexpected because the Red Devils had suffered considerably from injuries and illnesses, prior to kick off.  Despite this it was Salford who settled the more quickly, taking advantage of a Wigan error in their first set.

From there, the first half ebbed and flowed, with first one side well-placed with both possession and field position, and then the other.  Two aspects of their attacks which both shared were their ability to transition smoothly from defence into attack, and then to follow this up with back-to-back sets from opposition’s touches, set-restarts, penalties and enforced goal-line drop-outs.

Consequently, the Warriors’ first set error, was followed by Chris Atkin making great progress upfield, followed by an excellent, Marc Sneyd end-of-set kick-in-goal, which brought them not only a goal-line drop-out, but a set-restart, too.

Little wonder, therefore, that after twelve minutes play it was Salford who had had by far the greater ascendency with Wigan being limited to occasional sets of possession, which gained them only temporary relief. 

That all changed, a minute later, when the Warriors were awarded a couple of penalties and then had two seven-tackle sets which, starting on their 20m line, enabled them to get much closer to the Red Devils’ line, and they, too, forced a goal-line drop-out for good measure.

The Reds’ defence, however, just as Wigan’s had been earlier, was equal to the task, but it was mid-half before the game settled into a cut and thrust arm wrestle, and the half hour before Salford were able to regain the ascendency and challenge sustainedly the Warriors’ goal-line defence, once again. 

It was, however, the lack of scoring opportunities, for both side, which, was the significant aspect of the half, with Salford’s most hopeful opportunity resulting, for the second game in succession, with Ryan Brierley in collision with Smith, whilst attempting to get to the ball to ground it between the post.

Just as it looked as though the teams would be leaving the field at half-time with a 0-0 draw on the cards, Wigan conjured up a well-placed grubber kick into the corner for left winger Marshall to ground the ball, which stood up beautifully into his arms for him, in the last minute, and put them four points ahead.

The second half, in total contrast to the first, whilst still retaining those protracted periods of ascendency, saw a total of four end in tries, all of which were converted.  First, it was the Warriors, who built upon two back-to-back sets near the Salford line, by sending out a wide pass to Miski on the right wing and put them in double figures.

Tries like that, either side of half-time, can so often kill a game off, with that team following up with even more, but not on this occasion.  Salford, despite this seeming setback, took the game by the scruff of the neck, and no less than three back-to-back sets ended with Sneyd’s marvellous kick-in-goal bringing a try under the posts for Sam Stone, on 50 mins.

Twelve minutes later, Sneyd repeated this feat, with another in-goal kick this time to the left edge, which Tim Lafae latched onto, to put the Reds ahead for the first time after Sneyd had landed the goal from well out.

Heartbreakingly, there was to be one final twist.  We all know that a dismissal or sin-binning can change the balance of the game – usually in the favour of the non-offending team – but on this occasion Smith’s sinbinning on 72 mins turned out to favour the visitors, who galvanised themselves to even greater effort to see the game through.

The match winner came on 75 mins when a Salford goal-line drop-out was taken with a clear run to the line after the Red Devils’ right edge had been sucked into contesting for the ball, and the Warriors still had time to cross again with French using his explosive running talent cut through to give the scoreboard a somewhat unrepresentative look.

So, two points might have been lost, but what the Red Devils have gained in terms of respect, both locally and across the whole of rugby league, could well turn out to be far more important, for have they not shown to everyone that they can live with, and match, the elite of Super League, not just on one-off occasions but week-in week-out, even in the adverse context of last night? Bring on the rest!

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: ST HELENS V SALFORD

Whilst it might be true that ‘everything comes to those who wait’, it has to be said that forty-four years is a considerable length of time to have waited –  half a lifetime, in fact – for that it is how long it had been since a Salford team has won away, at St Helens. 

On a total of forty-one occasions (the numerical discrepancy attributable to the Reds’ seasons out of the top flight and the pandemic on the one hand, and loop fixtures, cup ties if any, and play off games on the other) their fans have turned up at, first, Knowsley Rd, and later the Totally Wicked Stadium, with at least some measure of hope that their favourites would come up with a win, all to no avail as, on each of those occasions, the Saints extended their winning run with another victory.

Until last Friday, that is, when, at long last, it all came to an end.  Certainly, the travelling fans will have, once again, had some cause for optimism, with the Saints having produced a less than stellar performance, the previous week against Leigh, whilst Salford seem to have gelled together as a team far more quickly than many other Super League sides.

 That latter undoubtedly needed to be the case as the home side set to, to gain the ascendency from the outset, and the Red Devils needed all their defensive expertise to keep their line intact as wave after wave of onslaught was thrown at them.  On 6 mins, great tackling on Sironen succeeded in holding him up over the line, and then three minutes later, forced a Saints’ mid-set error, close to the Salford line.

Defending the line from a scrum, however, is much more problematic, with so few players in so much space, and in the tenth minute the Saints exploited that to send Welsby over for a crucially-unconverted try, with Dodd adding a second, eight minutes later.

Their ascendency was broken, almost immediately, thereupon,  by Marc Sneyd’s using the wind to hang the ball in the air from the kick-off, thereby causing havoc in the St Helens ranks and the Red Devils’ gaining some much-needed possession in good field position.

It was Salford’s turn now to turn on the pressure, and if there were evidence that they might, at any stage, steal the win, it was the way they then put the home defence to the sword testing it throughout the following ten minutes.  Three times they went close, once in the left-hand corner, immediately followed likewise by Kallum Watkins towards the right, both on 22 mins, and then two minutes later, a collision, which would have stood further video-referee scrutiny, with Walmsley denying Ryan Brierley the chance to get to the ball from a kick into the in-goal area.

Nevertheless, they got their just rewards on 24 mins, when Deon Cross scored in the left-hand corner to open the visitors’ account.  Saints might have had difficulty with their goalkicking, but with yet another one hundred percent record – three from the touchline – on its way, Sneyd reduced the arears to a mere two points.

Even so, Saints were to have the final say of the half, capitalising on a couple of Salford errors, to send Percival in under the posts, for a try which he then converted to restore the home lead to eight points.

It has been said that the 43rd minute dismissal of Percival was the turning point of the game, but that might be rather too simplistic, because little in the way of outcomes on the field actually changed, for a while.

Players are so used to temporary, ten-minute sin-binnings of opponents, which require them to make that period really count in terms of points on the board, but total dismissal is quite different enabling patience, composure, and pressure building, over a protracted period of time.

For the following fifteen minutes, however, the Salford players threw caution to the wind in their endeavours to score at virtually every play, and consequently rather than scores it was errors only, which accrued.

The actual turning point came, when, against all expectations, Dodd scored his second try, which this time he converted to open up a 20-6 lead.  This seemed to act as a wake-up call to Salford, and from the restart there appeared to be the determination to be error-free from that point on, and a focus on the aforementioned patience and composure saw them building up the most concerted pressure of the game.

Although St Helens were able to deal with this in the short term, so relentless did it become that it was only a matter of time before their line was to be breached, and it was the strength of Nene Macdonald which enabled him, on 65 mins, to twist round in a tackle on the try line to ground the ball, and restore the long-standing, yet overturn-able, eight-point margin.

Next, a touch-in-flight by Saints winger Bennison, gave the Reds a set restart, and after Salford been endeavouring to outflank their opponents on the edges throughout the game, St Helens were caught completely unawares, by Chris Atkin’s step back inside from first receiver, to go over between the posts, on 67 mins, and all but eliminate the St Helens lead.

Not quite, though, and it required one piece of absolutely brilliant handling by Tim Lafai, followed by equally clinical finishing by Cross for his second of the evening, to put the Red Devils ahead, for the first time in the game, on 74 mins.

By the time the teams had lined for the short kick-off, which was taken by St Helens, there was still three minutes remaining.  Salford fans’ thoughts might well have then wandered back to other such occasions when their hosts had snatched the game, at the death – most recently from Matty Smith’s post-hooter drop-goal, Regan Grace’s last minute try in the corner, and a controversial video-refereeing call of a try, which many thought might have been overturned for a double movement.

Not this time, however.  Try as they did to force their way over St Helens were held short on each occasion – Walmsley losing the ball in the tackle which halted their closest call –  and for the first time since 12th January, 1980, the Red Devils held on to win a game, which will stand proudly alongside their 1996 second round Challenge Cup victory over Wigan, in the minds of all Salford fans.

MATCH REPORT – ST HELENS 20-24 SALFORD RED DEVILS (ROUND 4)

Salford Red Devils won away at St Helens for the first time in 44 years.

On a famous, famous night for Paul Rowley’s side, Deon Cross scored a 75th minute winner to complete a stunning comeback at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Ryan Brierley was back in the Salford team who travelled to Merseyside, looking to win a third consecutive Betfred Super League fixture.

The first ten minutes saw Saints on the front foot, with some brave goal-line defence denying the hosts on multiple occasions.

Pressure eventually told, however. Jonny Lomax moved the ball right and Jack Welsby sold a dummy to find some space and slide over in the right corner.

Salford tried to rebuild when Saints were penalised for holding down, but Cade Cust’s chip and chase was just too strong for the halfback to apply any pressure.

In a matter of seconds, Saints went coast-to-coast, with Sione Mata’utia piercing a gap and flicking the ball to Lewis Dodd, who raced away in open field into the left corner.

As has been the case so far this season, Marc Sneyd’s quality with the boot turned the tide in Salford’s favour, with a swirling kick-off bouncing back into the hands of Joe Shorrocks.

Despite being denied a potential penalty-try when Alex Walmsley tripped a chasing Brierley, the same source was the architect of our opening score of the night, sending Cross into the corner with a lovely cut-out pass.

That move did come at a cost however, as Cust – involved in an earlier collision – was taken from the field and failed his HIA.

Saints scored another just before half-time, with Lomax again the man to send through his teammate – this time Percival – to stroll under the sticks.

The Red Devils came out for the second half with an eight-point deficit, but were given a huge boost when Percival saw red for a high shot on Jack Ormondroyd.

However, Paul Wellens’ side were next on the board following a highly controversial moment.

Building from our own line, some inventive play sent Hankinson charging down the right flank, but referee, Tom Grant pulled the play back for a forward pass.

Dodd capitalised on the chance, spotting a gap to score his second of the evening.

Such is the character of this team, that setback didn’t faze them and a well-worked move saw Lafai set the platform for our next attack with a bustling run.

Working it right, Nene Macdonald managed to spin away from his man to ground and score his second in a Salford shirt. Sneyd – who was again, perfect from the boot – added the extras from out wide.

The momentum was really with Salford and Atkin – who was actually in his natural position of halfback for the first time in a while – darted bravely through the Saints middle to cut the deficit and set-up a grandstand finish.

Arise Tim Lafai.

In amongst all the tension, the Samoan World Cup finalist produced a moment of pure brilliance; receiving a pass with one hand before flicking the ball out the back with the other, sending Cross over for his second of the night.

The Salford faithful on the opposite end of the ground erupted. They knew they were just minutes from a piece of history.

Work was still to be done in the last five minutes and Walmsley threatened to break hearts with his burst up the middle, but some heroic D forced the error and Salford hung on to a memorable two points.

The games don’t get any easier. Next up, the newly-crowned world champions, Wigan Warriors are in town. Click here to join us at the Salford Community Stadium.

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, Joe Shorrocks.

Interchanges: Chris Atkin, King Vuniyayawa, Shane Wright, Ben Hellewell.

Tries: Deon Cross (2), Nene Macdonald, Chris Atkin.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (4/4)

St Helens line-up: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Waqa Blake, Mark Percival, Jon Bennison, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, Daryl Clark, Sione Mata’utia, Matt Whitley, Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles.

Interchanges: Moses Mbye, James Bell, Jake Wingfield, George Delaney.

Tries: Jack Welsby, Lewis Dodd (2), Mark Percival.

Conversions: Mark Percival (1/3), Lewis Dodd (1/1)

HT: 14-6

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

TEAM NEWS | NO CHANGES IN ROUND 4

For the third week running, Head Coach, Paul Rowley has named an unchanged starting line-up.

That means last week’s try scorers, Deon Cross and Chris Hankinson remain on the wing, with Nene Macdonald, and Tim Lafai at centre.

Ryan Brierley has recovered from a groin issue to start at fullback.

Cade Cust and Marc Sneyd will continue to build their blossoming halfback partnership, with young Amir Bourouh at hooker.

Brad Singleton and Jack Ormondroyd will lead the forward pack. Captain, Kallum Watkins is in the back-row, alongside Sam Stone, with Joe Shorrocks at loose-forward.

The only real change is at 18th-man. Ethan Ryan – yet to make his Salford Red Devils debut – replaces Kai Morgan.

Head over to our socials to give your reaction and follow the game live!

MATCH PREVIEW: ST HELENS VS SALFORD RED DEVILS (ROUND 4)

We’re on the road in Round 4, as Salford Red Devils take on St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

Back-to-back wins for Paul Rowley’s side, including an impressive display against Hull KR last week, means the team are full of confidence going into this one.

Saints themselves are hoping to maintain their 100% start to the campaign, following victories against London Broncos, Huddersfield Giants and Leigh Leopards.

The last time we won on Saints territory was 44 years ago – 12th January 1980 – but this team is brimming with character and will not be fazed by form or previous encounters.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

Tickets for this particular fixture and now pay-on-the-day only.

If you want to join us at the TWS, head to their ticket office prior to kick-off. If you’re collecting pre-purchased tickets, they will also be taken directly to Saints later this evening.


SQUAD NEWS

A major piece of squad news was the inclusion of Ethan Ryan for the very first time.

After a fruitful spell in East Hull, the winger joined Salford in the off-season, but has been suffering with a reoccurring thumb injury.

It’s been a frustrating time for Ryan, but now he’s back with ball in hand and raring to make his debut. Supporters may get a first glimpse of him in action this evening.

In other news, despite pulling out of Round 3 with a groin issue, Ryan Brierley has recovered in time to play in a fixture he seems to enjoy.

Recently named vice-captain, the fullback has scored on his last three appearances against the Saints and will be hoping to notch his first of the 2024 campaign tonight.


LAST TIME OUT

The last time we faced Saints, Paul Rowley’s side were narrowly beaten 15-18 at the Salford Community Stadium.

Two wonderfully worked first-half tries put the Red Devils in a commanding position.

Sam Stone’s strong carry and quick play-the-ball allowed Salford to spread the play right and work the numbers to send Kallum Watkins over.

Minutes later, an inventive chipped ball from Brodie Croft and some intelligent support play from Ryan Brierley sent the former under the sticks for our second.

Saints battled back into the contest in the second forty, but the game will be remembered for some huge decisions that went against the Red Devils.

Matty Lees, Tommy Makinson and Jack Welsby were the scorers, leaving Salford with just too much to do after some superb defensive efforts.


HOW TO WATCH

Nothing beats experiencing the action in the flesh, but if you’re unable to attend this one, TV and streaming coverage is available.

SuperLeague+ is the new home of LIVE Betfred Super League action. 

Fans can watch over 100 live Super League games, full match replays, highlights and other on-demand content each season – including this Sunday’s fixture.

Click HERE to secure your pass and get ready to watch the Entertainers take on the Saints.

Coverage is also available on Sky Sports Mix from 19:55pm.

ST HELENS 52-10 SALFORD RED DEVILS: BEHIND THE STICKS

We are delighted to bring you the first episode of a brand-new match day feature, Behind the Sticks.

Bringing you an alternative, intense view of the action, where the thud of contact and eruption of score a try are heard up-close and personal.

Starting with last Sunday’s friendly encounter with reigning World Champions, St Helens, where despite the scoreline, there was still moments to celebrate for Matty Foster and REDS graduate, Scott Egan.

Watch the full feature below.

MATCH REPORT: ST HELENS 52-10 SALFORD RED DEVILS (PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY)

Salford Red Devis were beaten by St Helens in our one and only friendly of 2024.

On a windy day at the Totally Wicked Stadum, there was a chance for supporters to see some of our new additions in action for the very first time.

Nene Macdonald, Chris Hankinson and Joe Mellor started the game, with Matty Foster, Joe Shorrocks and Kai Morgan all making appearances from the interchange bench.

From our first set, Marc Sneyd made use of the conditions and forced another set of six just 20 out. Another testing kick was claimed by Macdonald, but the centre was wrapped up on the right edge.

The hosts were first on the board when Jack Welsby pounced on a bobbling kick ahead of the Salford skipper, Kallum Watkins. Tommy Makinson with his first of four conversions in the first-half.

Following a string of penalties, King Vuniyayawa was shown an early yellow card from referee, Liam Moore and Salford were forced back onto their own line.

Some good defence won back possession, but James Batchelor made an interception on halfway and had Daryl Clark in support to send the hooker underneath the sticks.

It was a quick-fire double for Saints, with George Delaney the man this time to break the line. Shrugging off a chasing Hankinson, the prop flicked an offload to Welsby, who scored his second of the afternoon.

Vuniyayawa returned to the field on 19 minutes, as Salford tried to rebuild.

New Saints captain, Jonny Lomax was at the heart of the next try, executing a neat cut-out ball to send Makinson strolling into the right corner.

Moses Mbye – who replaced Clark midway through the half – stabbed a grubber kick five minutes later, which ricocheted into the path of Batchelor.

The Red Devils returned for the second forty on the front foot and were soon on the board via the brilliance of Tim Lafai. The Samoan broke the line, charged through and found the supporting Foster to score his first in Salford colours.

A six-again allowed Saints to gain territory a few minutes later and Mbye’s pass set Matt Whitley away for a debut try.

That try signalled a raft of Salford changes, with Stuart Wilkinson’s Reserves handed the opportunity to gain valuable minutes on the field.

Kai Morgan – one of a few first grade players who remained in the action- made a nice break up the right, but was thwarted by the scrambling Sam Royle.

From a Saints scrum just a set later, Dayon Sambou spotted a gap on the right edge to charge 70 metres and score a breakaway try.

That was one of three tries in quick succession for the hosts, with a Ben Davies tip the source of one try for Jonny Vaughan to slide over.

Owen Dagnall was the next on the board when a scramble from a Saints break was fumbled by a Salford player – confirmed by the video referee.

There was a moment to celebrate for our youngsters on 74 minutes, when Nathan Connell’s neat grubber was slammed down by Scott Egan in the right corner.

That – with a Saints no-try on the hooter – was the last action of the contest, with all attention now turning to our Betfred Super League clash with Leeds Rhinos, at Headingley.

Tickets for that mouthwatering contest are on sale now. Click HERE to secure yours.

MATCH FACTS:

Salford line-up: Ryan Brierley, Deon Cross, Nene Macdonald, Tim Lafai, Chris Hankinson, Chris Atkin, Marc Sneyd, Brad Singleton, Joe Mellor, King Vuniyayawa, Sam Stone, Kallum Watkins, Oliver Partington.

Interchanges: Amir Bourouh, Joe Shorrocks, Jack Ormondroyd, Matty Foster, Shane Wright, Ben Hellewell, Andrew Dixon, Kai Morgan, Ethan Fitzgerald, Scott Egan, Josh Wagstaffe, Mason Phillips, Dan Harrison, Nathan Connell, Jack Gatcliffe, Charlie Glover, Finley Yates, Jack Edge, Lucas Coan, Jordan Brown, John Hutchings, Lenubou Bardyel Wells, Tom Worthington.

Tries: Matty Foster, Scott Egan.

Conversions: Marc Sneyd (1/1), Gatcliffe (0/1).

St Helens line-up: Jack Welsby, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Waqa Blake, Jon Bennison, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Alex Walmsley, Daryl Clark, George Delaney, Joe Batchelor, Curtis Sironen, James Bell.

Interchanges: Moses Mbye, Brett Bailey, Jake Wingfield, Matt Whitley, Ben Davies, Sam Royle, Jake Burns, Tee Ritson, McKenzie Buckley, Dayon Sambou, George Whitby, Jonny Vaughan, Noah Stephens, Harvey Braddish, Harry Robertson, Owen Dagnall, Ben Will, Ciaran Nolan, Sam Oakes.

Tries: Jack Welsby (2), Daryl Clark, Tommy Makinson, Joe Batchelor, Matt Whitley, Dayon Sambou, Jonny Vaughan, Owen Dagnall.

Conversions: Tommy Makinson (4/5), George Whitby (4/4)

HT: St Helens 28-0 Salford Red Devils.

Photo credit: Steve McCormick & James Giblin

MATCH PREVIEW – ST HELENS VS SALFORD RED DEVILS (PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY)

Salford Red Devils are back in action for the first time in 2024.

Our one and only friendly encounter see’s us travel to face the current World Champions, St Helens, who are also dusting off pre-season cobwebs for the first time.

A fortnight ago, a youthful-looking Saints were beaten by Swinton Lions, but it’s expected a host of first-team stars will be in action on Sunday afternoon.

Paul Rowley’s side travelled to Portugal for a warm-weather training camp in mid-January, with preparations for our Round 1 fixture against Leeds Rhinos now in full flow.

Tickets for that trip to Headingley – in a mouthwatering clash – are on sale now. All the details, including how to buy tickets, can be found here.

Before that, however, Rowley’s men will lock horns with the Saints.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

Our trip to the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday afternoon is the perfect chance for supporters to see some of our exciting new additions in action for the first time.

To purchase tickets, head to the Saints ticket office on game day, with adult tickets priced at £12 and juniors at £6. More information can be found here.


SQUAD NEWS

In turn with previous friendlies, our Head Coach has named a 38-man squad for Sunday’s game, packed with first-grade stars and reserve team talent.

There are new signings on display, with Nene Macdonald, Joe Shorrocks, Matty Foster, Kai Morgan, Chris Hankinson and Joe Mellor all in line to make their first appearance.

Fresh from a new three-year deal in the off-season, Ryan Brierley is also named – fit and firing to go after what was described as the best season of his career during 2023.

Skipper, Kallum Watkins is also included, whilst Shane Wright will make his return at the ground he broke his ankle almost 10 months ago.

See the full squad list below and head to our socials to give your reaction:


LAST TIME OUT

The last time we faced the Saints at the TWS, tries from Brodie Croft and Ryan Brierley raced us into an early 12-point lead. Quick, incisive play from our fullback was the key and his effort put us in command with 30 minutes gone.

A James Bell try just before the break swung the momentum and early efforts in the second 40 fired Saints into the lead; one Paul Rowley’s side were unable to claw back.

That defeat ended a run of four successive victories, but we bounced back quickly a week later, with a 29-22 victory over Hull FC in Round 13.


WHERE CAN I WATCH?

The only – and best – way to watch the action for this one is in person. However, a full match replay and highlights will be available on our YouTube and RDTV platforms on Monday morning.


ROWLEY NAMES SQUAD FOR ST HELENS FRIENDLY

Head Coach, Paul Rowley has named a 38-man squad for our one and only friendly of 2024.

After a week of warm-weather training in Portugal, the Red Devils will step-up preparations against the reigning World Champions, St Helens.

Saints took the spoils in our last meeting at the Totally Wicked Stadium, but it was early tries from Brodie Croft and Ryan Brierley that initially raced us into a 12-point lead.

This fixture will be more focussed on dusting the off-season cobwebs and getting ready for our Round 1 clash against Leeds Rhinos in a fortnight’s time.

Tickets are still on sale until 4pm today. Click here to buy.

SQUAD NEWS:

As expected, our Head Coach has named a squad mixed with first-grade and reserve team players, to maximise valuable game minutes ahead of the season opener.

Included within the 38-man list are new signings Nene Macdonald, Joe Shorrocks, Matty Foster, Kai Morgan, Chris Hankinson and Joe Mellor.

Check out the full list below:

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