It will be interesting to see both 19 man squads on Wednesday. Ian Watson is expected to name an unchanged side after last weeks excellent performance over Castleford. Adrian Lam’s Wigan side we’re humbled by St. Helens and are expected to welcome Dan Sarginson back. The Warriors were exposed on a number of occasions last Friday but let’s not forget how well St. Helens played, most sides would have found that game very difficult. Saints played at a breathe taking intensity and real quick tempo that saw many pundits compare them to an NRL side.
Salford will have learnt lessons from the playoff defeat to Wigan and they certainly put things into practice keeping the Tigers scoreless.
Ian Watson will be studying Wigan’s video footage along with his assistant Paul Rowley. The tactics need to be perfect this Friday in what is expected to be another ferocious contest. Their is also the added spice of Tony Clubb and Jackson Hastings who no doubt will resume hostilities.
This match has all the permutations of an absolute classic.
As a Salford supporter I am shaking with nervous anticipation already!
Super League Away record
1997 Wigan 14 Salford 21
1998 Wigan 34 Salford 6
1999 Wigan 64 Salford 2
2000 Wigan 52 Salford 20
2001 Wigan 70 Salford 4
2002 Wigan 32 Salford 0
2004 Wigan 20 Salford 10
2005 Wigan 40 Salford 12
2006 Wigan 20 Salford 12
2007 Wigan 40 Salford 16
2009 Wigan 34 Salford 18
2010 Wigan 60 Salford 10
2011 Wigan 52 Salford 18
2012 Wigan 38 Salford 6
2013 Wigan 46 Salford 6
2014 Wigan 45 Salford 4
2015 Wigan 19 Salford 12
2016 Wigan 20 Salford 16
2017 Wigan 16 Salford 31
2017 Wigan 42 Salford 0 ( Super eights)
2018 Wigan 30 Salford 0
2019 Wigan 28 Salford 12
2019 Wigan 18 Salford 12 (Top Five Playoffs)
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, Peter Smethurst, Stephen Wild and Phil Ford.
Star Full back Steve Hampson.
A match to remember Friday 19th June 2015.
Wigan 19 Salford 12.
2015 turned in to a real up and down season for Salford. A host of big signings at the start of the year raised expectations. After a tough start with defeats to Warrington and St Helens, Salford hit form with five wins and a draw from the next seven matches. The seventh match in that run was an Easter Monday fixture at home to Wigan. A bumper crowd of over 6,500 turned up to witness a fantastic performance from The Red Devil’s in a 24-18 triumph.
Salford’s success was short lived as Rangi Chase received a seven match ban and forward Weller Hauraki copped four matches. Injuries were a plenty and took the sting out of the team.
Eight defeats on the trot effectively put paid to any hopes of the top eight.
In the Away fixture at Wigan the Warriors started big favourites against the struggling Red Devil’s but the match didn’t quite go to script.
The first half was a real tight battle. Defences were solid and chances few and far between. Cory Paterson touched down to give Salford a precious 0-6 lead going into the break.
Cory Paterson, try scorer in 2015.
The visiting supporters couldn’t believe their luck went Josh Griffin grabbed a try that doubled the lead to 0-12. Salford were searching for their first win in this fixture for eighteen years. The previous one had come at Wigan’s famous old Central Park in 1997.
Wigan started to show greater urgency and clawed themselves back into the game as Joe Burgess plucked a high kick from Matty Smith out of the air to score for the ninth game in succession.
Salford eventually cracked just after the hour as Burgess managed to kick before being dumped into touch, allowing Liam Farrell to score. The Wigan forward looked perilously close to the dead ball line but, with no video replay facility the referee Joe Cobb awarded the try.
Then more controversy followed when Matty Bowen drove close to the line and Michael McIlorum dabbed a kick in-goal. A scramble ensued and Salford thought they had defused the situation but Sarginson claimed a vital touch and, after lengthy consultation with his officials, Cobb agreed.
It was a real hammer blow for Salford and a very bitter pill to swallow. It was a match they definitely deserved something from but sometimes in rugby league effort and endeavour is not rewarded.
Matty Smith made sure of a victory for the home side with a drop.
A thrilling match that some how evaded Salford’s reach.
The teams that night;
Wigan, Bowen, Manfredi, J Tomkins, Sarginson, Burgess, Williams, Smith, Crosby, Mcllorum, Flower, Bateman, Farrell, O’Loughlin.
Subs, Hampshire, Mossop, Tautai, Patrick.
Salford, Chase, Caton-Brown, J Griffin, Sau, Johnson, Fages, Dobson, Morley, L Tomkins, Taylor, Paterson, Hauraki, Hansen.
Subs, Tasi, Evalds, J Walne, G Griffin.
Referee, Joe Cobb
As a supporter matches don’t come much bigger than this one. The Challenge Cup Semi Final in 2017, Million Pound Game In 2016 and the 2003 National League Grand Final were all huge games. A Super League semi final must be on par with those games mentioned and from the progress the club has made over the past eighteen months its a truly heroic, remarkable story.
The two sides met just a fortnight ago in what was an outstanding game. An electric atmosphere in the Away end captured the imagination of the Salford faithful. The Red Devil’s came pretty close that night with performance to be proud of. Victory over Castleford last Thursday has again injected belief back into the team. How could you describe that 22-0 win? Resilient, determined and clinical are three words I’d use. To nil a side in a high intensity game at this point in the season is quite an achievement. In fact Salford have shut three teams out this season. London at home 24-0, Catalans Away 0-46 and Castleford at home 22-0. The Red Devils have played some fantastic attacking Rugby League in 2019 but a lot of the good work has been built on defence.
Wigan come in to this fixture on the back of a hash lesson away at St. Helens last Friday. The Warriors were well beaten after being blown away in the first forty minutes by the League Leaders.
Adrian Lam’s side will be smarting and that makes them a dangerous opponent. Their is plenty of big game experience in this Wigan side with quite a few tasting Grand Final success last year.
Salford will again take a huge following with them. Tickets were selling fast over the weekend and the early stages of the week. This sort of match was nothing but a dream for the Red Devils and their supporters not so long ago. The players now don’t fear anyone now and have proved time and time again this season that the third place finish they have achieved is no fluke.
The whole culture and ethos at the club has changed. I was lucky enough to attend the Player of the year awards on Saturday. The atmosphere and energy in the room was truly inspirational. The place was packed out as supporters, players, sponsors, club officials and staff shared a momentous night together.
Their is a real feel good factor around the club and what ever happens this Friday Salford Red Devils will keep building momentum on their way to the 2020 season.
It’s been a season to remember and one to be proud of. Best of luck to everyone involved on Friday night and hopefully the Grand final dream will become a reality.
The action gets under way at 7:45pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match everyone. You deserve it.