The Easter weekend is always a special time for Rugby League supporters. After Salford’s victory over Warrington on Good Friday the players must be bouncing with confidence ahead of Wigan’s visit to The AJ Bell Stadium on Monday.
I am struggling for a word to describe Friday’s win. Yes we played some great rugby but also the grit and doggedness in defence set the platform for victory.
The attitude of the players was first class, the willingness to fight and chase every cause from minute one to eighty. It just shows in the sport of Rugby League if you enter a match half cooked or complacent your playing a dangerous game. That said the credit must go to Ian Watson, his staff and the players. They didn’t allow Warrington to play, giving the supporters a day to remember.
Wigan suffered their third consecutive defeat on Friday at home to bitter rivals St. Helens. Picking up injuries to Jake Shorrocks and Tom Davies who both had to be stretched off is another blow to the Warriors who are finding it tough to build any sort of momentum in 2019.
Despite the latest injury setbacks Wigan still have a side littered with world class international players. As we found out just less than a month ago in the last meeting between the two sides the pace and power The Warriors have at their disposal can cause any team problems.
Monday promises to be a fascinating encounter, victory for Salford could really build some momentum at a crucial point in the season. The month of May sees The Red Devil’s in some mouth watering league matches including the Magic Weekend clash and Challenge Cup tie with Hull Kingston Rovers.
Ian Watson continues to build his hard working down to earth ethos at Salford.
Ian and his staff have worked wonders on a tight budget over the past few years. The ability to spot players who have perhaps fell out of favour at their respective clubs and bring them to Salford get them in the best shape they can and really improve them is something Watson and his back room team have become experts at.
The home defeat to Wigan on the 24th March was a real disappointment to Ian and the team with Monday giving them a second chance to put things right.
50 years ago on Easter Monday 1969 Salford beat Wigan 37-5 at the Willows.
That was after victories on Good Friday and Easter Saturday. Tries that day came from Billy Burgess 2, Bob Burdell 2, Chris Hesketh, Colin Dixon and Charlie Bott. Hopefully their is a lucky omen in that for us somewhere.
Billy Burgess a star for Salford in the Easter matches of 1969.
Easter Memories From Yesteryear.
Blackpool Borough 7 Salford 49 Good Friday 1969
Swinton 3 Salford 19 Easter Saturday 1969
Salford 37 Wigan 5 Easter Monday 1969
Barrow 16 Salford 20 Good Friday 1971
Swinton 20 Salford 23 Easter Saturday 1971
Salford 16 Wigan 7 Easter Monday 1971
Salford 30 Swinton 22 Good Friday 1976
Wigan 15 Salford 24 Easter Monday 1976
Salford 13 Leigh 12 Good Friday 1981
Oldham 18 Salford 18 Easter Monday 1981
Blackpool Borough 4 Salford 30 Good Friday 1985
Salford 5 Swinton 9 Easter Monday 1985
Salford 18 Leigh 11 Good Friday 1991
Swinton 10 Salford 10 Easter Monday 1991
Salford 35 Oldham 26 Good Friday 1997
Salford 27 Paris 26 Easter Monday 1997
Salford 18 Warrington 16 Good Friday 2009
Leeds 20 Salford 30 Easter Monday 2009
Huddersfield 12 Salford 18 Good Friday 2015
Salford 24 Wigan 18 Easter Monday 2015
They played for both.
Over the years there have been plenty of players who’ve been at both clubs at some point in their career. Here are a few of them,
Mal Aspey, Neil Baynes, Steve Blakeley, Gavin Clinch, Andy Coley, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Martin Gleeson, Sean Gleeson, Wayne Godwin, Bobbie Goulding, Andy Gregory, Steve Hampson, Ged Byrne, Paul O Neil,
Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Nathan Mcavoy, Lee Mossop, Jack Murphy, David Myers, Martin Offiah, Sam Panapa, John Pendlebury, Luke Robinson,
Tim Smith, David Stephenson, Trevor Stockey, Ged Stazicker, Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins, Colin Whitfield, Stephen Wild and Phil Ford.
Andy Gregory, a Rugby League Hero for both Salford and Wigan.
The big test now for Salford is to be consistent. With such a short turn around from a bruising fixture for both clubs it’s a real tough ask with rest and recovery vital leading up to the match.
The pressure continues to mount on Wigan with eight defeats already from their eleven matches. Add to that the on going saga of next season’s head coach the supporters are becoming frustrated at the uncertainty surrounding their famous club. With international players like Sean O Loughlin, Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Liam Farrell and Zak Hardacker it would be some what naive to write Wigan off just yet.
Joe Burgess, a prolific Try Scorer.
The clock is certainly ticking on The Warriors 2019 playoff hopes. If a top five position is to be achieved their slip ups need to be at a minimum.
I firmly believe a victory for Salford on Monday could propel us to the next level in Super League. Consistency is the key for a side that has proved they can match any team in the league on there day.
An intriguing encounter is definitely on the cards and a game not to be missed.
Safe travels and enjoy the game everyone.