After a fortnight break Salford Red Devils return to Super League action on Friday night against newly promoted Hull Kingston Rovers. The Robins were soundly beaten by Wakefield Trinity in round one but ran Leeds mighty close at Elland Road in Round Two before picking up an excellent win last week at home to Catalan Dragons.
It was a busy close season with plenty of players arriving in East Yorkshire with former Salford players Connor Williams, Jordan Walne and Tommy Lee all signing for Rovers. Add to that former Leeds Rhinos star Danny McGuire and ex Swinton Lions hot prospect Chris Atkin, Tim Sheens is certainly building a side that will compete in 2018.
Other new arrivals include Mose Masoe, Will Dagger and Danny Tickle. Lee Jewitt and Justin Carney two other former Salford players are both now both big favourites at Craven Park.
First promoted to Super League at the end of the 2006 season The Robins lost their place at the top table in 2016 in that unforgettable Million Pound game.
Rugby league champions in 1978/79, 1983/84 and 1984/85 the city of Hull really did see some glory years as both sides of the city tasted a lot of success.
In May 1980 Hull KR beat Hull 10-5 at Wembley to lift the challenge cup under player coach Roger Millward. Millward coached Rovers from 1977-1991 and is a legend of this famous club.
The 1990s saw a bit of a slump in Hull KR’s fortunes as they slipped down the League with relegation and quite a few years in the doldrums.
In 2005 Australian Justin Morgan took over the coaching position after a successful stint in charge of French side Toulouse whom he led to a Challenge cup semi final. Morgan steered Rovers to promotion in 2006 with a Grand Final victory over Widnes Vikings. Since Morgan’s departure in 2011, Craig Sandercock, Chris Chester and James Webster have all had stints in charge. It’s fair to say Rovers had made steady progress since there promotion back to the top flight until their relegation in 2016.
An excellent 2017 campaign saw Tim Sheen’s side secure promotion, led by experienced hooker Shaun Lunt and versatile Australian veteran Maurice Blair along with some real good young talent. Many pundits have tipped a long hard season for Hull KR but early signs show they’re going to be a tough nut to crack.
Our regular season home record against Hull KR in Super League
2007 lost 24-30
2009 lost 10-14
2010 lost 18-44
2011 won 34-18
2012 lost 10-18
2013 won 38-34
2014 drew 16-16
2015 won 31-18
2016 won 44-26
Out of those nine home Super League meetings who could forget the 2013 encounter!
Salford 38 – Hull KR 34
Salford picked up their first win of the season thanks to a Danny Williams try six minutes from time.
Hull KR led 34-14 until the Reds stormed back scoring four converted tries without reply from the Robins.
Defeat was hard to take for Michael Dobson who piled up 18 points with two tries and five goals, but the Reds had the man of the match in Mark Sneyd.
Both sides finished with 12 men after Reds prop Lee Jewitt and Rovers forward Adam Walker were sent off after tempers flared late on.
Salford handed ex-Great Britain centre Martin Gleeson his debut; with prop Darrell Griffin, signed on loan from Leeds, making his bow off the bench.
The Reds suffered a blow when Jodie Broughton pulled out before the kick off through illness with Ashley Gibson deputising; although skipper Stephen Wild returned after a two-match absence.
Salford, watched for the first time by new Director of Rugby Graham Lowe, fell behind after seven minutes when Dobson and Greg Eden combined to send David Hodgson over in the corner against his old club.
Dobson booted the touchline conversion and Rovers would have gone further ahead had Omari Caro not spilled Salter’s pass with the line open.
The Reds joy was shortlived after a Gibson error led to Dobson touching down for a converted try to make it 12-0.
Salford hit back with Sneyd’s long pass allowing Gibson to cut inside for his third try of the season.
Sneyd was involved again with Gibson beating Cari to a neat kick for his second touchdown in four minutes.
But Sneyd was again off target with the conversion attempt to leave the Reds trailing 12-8.
Griffin was introduced after 25 minutes and made an immediate impact with some strong running.
But it took an sublime move by Sneyd to put Salford in front for the first time.
The scrum half stole the ball off Eden to dart over and boot the conversion to make it 14-12.
Eden made amends when he took Cory Paterson’s smart pass to send Dobson streaking over within a minute to restore the Rovers lead at 18-14.
The final delivery looked suspiciously forward but there was no dispute about Eden’s pass to Caro which stretched the advantage to 24-14 three minutes before the break.
Dale Ferguson had a try disallowed for a foul on Jack Murphy from Dobson’s high kick.
Eden took only four minutes of the second half to put Rovers into a more commanding position when he took Dobson’s pass to round Murphy and make it 30-14.
Eden bagged a second before Gleeson had a try disallowed and then Andrew Dixon notched his first since his move from St Helens.
Battling Salford cut the gap to 34-26 through Murphy’s converted try on the hour.
Gleeson and Williams went close for Salford with Rovers under the real pressure and it was no surprise when Wayne Godwin burrowed over.
Sneyd’s conversion made it 34-32 with eight minutes left before Salford regained the lead when Ryan McGoldrick’s kick bounced nicely for Williams to score the decisive try.
Kick off is 8pm this Friday at the AJ Bell Stadium, enjoy the match everyone.