In this fixture just over 12 months ago rolls were reversed. Salford were riding high second in the table. Warrington were struggling and ended up in the Middle Eights. Fast forward to 2018, The Wolves replaced long standing coach Tony Smith with Steve Price and along with St. Helens are the leading lights of Super League once again. Ben Murdoch Masila made the move from Salford to Warrington. The power house forward has been a huge miss for Ian Watson’s side, proving a huge hit with the Wolves supporters with his all action performances. Add to that the clever craft of Australian half back Tyrone Roberts, the improved form of a Kevin Brown and the eye catching consistency of Stefan Ratchford Warrington should be there or there about come the business end of the season.
Last time out Salford came up with a morale boosting victory over bottom side Widnes Vikings. The two week break with the International match in Denver has given The Red Devils some respite. With a mounting injury list and a small squad Watson and his coaching staff are doing it very tough.
A victory on Friday would be a surprise but certainly a most welcome one.
Super League away record
1997 Warrington 23 Salford 8
1998 Warrington 4 Salford 37
1999 Warrington 28 Salford 14
2000 Warrington 32 Salford 18
2000 Warrington 38 Salford 10
2001 Warrington 14 Salford 39
2002 Warrington 18 Salford 9
2002 Warrington 2 Salford 22
2004 Warrington 46 Salford 20
2005 Warrington 48 Salford 14
2005 Warrington 32 Salford 22
2006 Warrington 6 Salford 24
2006 Warrington 6 Salford 22
2007 Warrington 42 Salford 6
2009 Warrington 62 Salford 20
2010 Warrington 32 Salford 2
2011 Warrington 16 Salford 18
2012 Warrington 24 Salford 20
2013 Warrington 68 Salford 10
2014 Warrington 36 Salford 20
2015 Warrington 22 Salford 8
2016 Warrington 40 Salford 14
2017 Warrington 12 Salford 38
They played for both.
Here are a few players to wear the red of Salford and the primrose and blue of Warrington.
Vinny Anderson, Richie Barnett, Steve Blakeley, Martin Crompton, John Duffy, Phil Ford, Martin Gleeson, Andy Gregory, Danny Halliwell, Neil Harmon, Alan Hunte, David Highton, Danny Lima, Tyrone McCarthy, Francis Maloney, Adrian Morley, Chris Morley, Ben Murdoch Masila, Richie Myler, Adam Neal, Gareth O Brien, Rob Parker, Stefan Ratchford, Stuart Reardon, Ian Sibbit, Kevin Tamati, Mike Wainwright and John Wilshere.
A match to remember Friday 13th September 2002
Salford were really struggling at the bottom end of the table along with Wakefield and Warrington. One team would be relegated so this match became a vital one. A really good vocal following packed in to the away end behind the sticks. The noise and anticipation before kick off was electric. Salford had already lost at Warrington earlier in the season 18-9.
Wilderspool was old and tired as a ground but was full of character. In modern day rugby league with new stadiums it’s fair to say I miss these places.
Don’t get me wrong there are some fantastic facilities in the sport in 2018 but there was something magical about a game under the lights at The Willows, Wilderspool, Central Park and Hilton Park to name a few.
It turned out to be one of the most faultless displays I’ve ever seen from any Salford side. It was almost mistake free. The defence was sensational, tackling The wolves to an absolute standstill.
Alan Hunte was the hero as he scored two tries against his former club, the clincher coming when he intercepted a Lee Briers kick and sprinted the full length of the pitch with 10 minutes to go.
Jason Nicol went over in between Hunte’s two scores, and Australian forward Greg Ebrill added a further try with two minutes to go. Salford’s away following were thrilled at full time and celebrated as if they had won the league. It certainly was a special night and a magical atmosphere.
The Reds were unrecognisable from the team which had gone nine games without a win. This victory lifted Salford off the bottom and dropped Wakefield in to the relegation zone.
The season went right done to the last game. Salford had to beat Castleford at home to stay up. Wakefield thrashed Warrington on the final day. Sadly for the reds a poor performance which summed 2002 up saw the Tigers win 10-20 at the Willows to confirm relegation.
2003 would see Karl Harrison’s Salford bounce straight back after an epic season in division one, but that’s another story for another day!
The teams that night;
Warrington Wolves: O’Reilly; Smyth, Alstead, Westwood, Appo; Briers, N Wood; Fozzard, Clarke, Hilton, Guisset, P Wood, Burns. Subs: Penny, Noone, Sturm, Stevens.
Salford City Reds: Gibson; Reardon, Maloney, Nicol, Hunte; Blakeley, Watson; Baynes, Alker, P Highton, Treacy, Wainwright, D Highton. Subs: Broadbent, Shaw, Coley, Ebrill.
Referee: B Connolly (Wigan).
Even the most optimistic Salford supporter would be cautious on the eve of this match. The contrasting form and league positions of both sides make Warrington clear favourites. With Catalan Dragons grabbing a priceless win against Leeds at Headingly last Wednesday night and the renaissance of Huddersfield, The Red Devils are now three points off the top eight with just a hand full of matches in the regular season remaining.
Every game now becomes a cup final. The Wolves themselves are striving for the top four as well as having a challenge cup semi final against Leeds to contend with. Recent Warrington matches have been full of points, particularly the Castleford and Wakefield matches. There attack has been very good but on the flip side the Tigers and Trinity posted plenty of points of there own. The big question again will be can Salford create the opportunities to cause an upset.
Safe journey and enjoy the game, Paul Whiteside.