Ahead Of Friday’s ‘Curtain Raiser’ At Leeds, David Clegg Presents The Views of Head Coach Garreth Carvell.
Just as it looked as though their season was about to fizzle out like a damp squib, Salford U19s have been given the opportunity to send it off like a rocket. Seven days ago, with their home pitch out of action for the remainder of the season, Head Coach , Garreth Carvell, was forced to call off the Red Devils penultimate fixture against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and for a brief period it looked as though the Leeds encounter might go the same way.
An option of playing it as a home ‘curtain raiser’ to the first team’s Qualifier with Featherstone Rovers fell through, and so it was down to the Rhinos to salvage the match with their offer of staging it as a ‘curtain raiser’ to their own Qualifier, versus Batley Bulldogs. Indeed, quickly upon the heels of that, it was also agreed with the Wildcats that our match with them would similarly be taken across the Pennines, to their Belle Vue stadium, next Friday evening.
So, with both fixtures saved, the young Salford lads have the excitement of concluding their season, with games in two Super League stadia, the first of which, tomorrow night, will be in front of a rapidly expanding crowd of the Leeds faithful, who will provide an atmosphere which hopefully will inspire both sides.
Equally delighted at the outcome, Garreth is looking to his charges to take advantage of the opportunity to continue the improvement they have shown, over their last two outings away at Hull and Wigan, where they performed quite splendidly against both sets of opponents. He puts this down t the extremely good atmosphere that has developed among the lads, and he reports that they really do have a great team spirit among them, with morale especially high.
Another positive is that, with the exception of prop, Tom Millington, the whole squad is available to him for selection. Brad Whelan will be making only his second start of the season, having been badly concussed against South Wales Scorpions in his first outing, back in early June, and having taken the time, since, to recover fully from it.
Most remarkably, the squad includes hooker, Aaron Moore, of whom it was thought that he would miss the rest of the season, following a dislocated kneecap against the City of Hull at the end of July. Although this was the second such dislocation he had sustained, it proved to be that there was no damage of the surrounding tissue, and he is now fully fit to return.
One player, who has impressed considerably, over the past couple of games is Jack Thompson. Jack is a fullback, but with Connor Williams, another fullback, training with the first team, he has commanded the fullback starting role, meaning that jack has had to be relocated on the wing. There, he has looked completely at home, fielding and returning the ball strongly, capitalising on every try scoring opportunity, and defending with an assurance of someone who has played in that position for much longer.
It will be a confident squad, therefore, which will travel over to Headingley, tomorrow afternoon, for a fixture which has had not only two changes of venue, but also, now, a change of kick off time, with the originally announced 5.15 start being put back by fifteen minutes to 5.30 pm, allowing for an even larger crowd to have gathered by the end.
Referee – Mr J Barr
Touch Judges – Aaron Gill, Josh Smith