After a heavy defeat on Friday night Salford face another difficult task on Monday tea time backing up against the juggernaut of St.Helens. The current Super League Champions have been in blistering league form recently winning all ten matches since the season restarted in August. Their last Super League defeat came in March at Castleford.
Ian Watson is an honest coach and never makes excuses. His side however were without eleven first choice players for the Wigan game and that’s hard going on a squad that’s not the biggest. With games coming thick and fast the next week or two are going to be extremely tough.
Salford have had moderate success in this fixture throughout the summer era with six memorable wins over the Saints. The 1997 fixture will go down as one of the most enjoyable. A game packed with incident and drama. Fast forward to 2016 and Salford thumped Saints at the AJ Bell Stadium 44-10 in one of those magical performances where everything seems to go perfectly.
With Mark Flanagan picking up a bad knock on Friday night and failing his concussion assessment the Red Devils will be without one of their most influential players.
Loan signing Tom Gilmore returns to the squad and Ed Chamberlain will be looking to start after a frustrating time with injuries.
Super league home record.
St. Helens 16
1997 Salford 39 St. Helens 26
1998 Salford 14 St. Helens 18
1999 Salford 10 St. Helens 23
2000 Salford 4 St. Helens 58
2001 Salford 16 St. Helens 56
2002 Salford 24 St. Helens 28
2004 Salford 30 St. Helens 20
2005 Salford 22 St. Helens 33
2006 Salford 10 St. Helens 12
2007 Salford 20 St. Helens 32
2009 Salford 20 St. Helens 10
2010 Salford 42 St. Helens 34
2011 Salford 22 St. Helens 56
2012 Salford 10 St. Helens 32
2013 Salford 10 St. Helens 52
2014 Salford 0 St. Helens 38
2015 Salford 6 St. Helens 52
2016 Salford 44 St. Helens 10
2017 Salford 22 St. Helens 14
2017 Salford 4 St. Helens 30 (Super 8s)
2018 Salford 10 St. Helens 60
2019 Salford 4 St. Helens 26
They played for both.
Over the years there has been so much player movement between the two clubs. The town of St Helens is a real hot bed of the game with some fantastic amateur set ups including Thatto Heath, Blackbrook and Clock Face. In the Super League era Matty Smith, Jordan Turner, Lama Tasi, Tommy Lee and Theo Fages have all moved to Saints. Tasi returned after just one season at Langtree Park. Willie Talu, Tony Puletua, Francis Meli, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Danny Arnold, Josh Jones and Anthony Stewart to name a few.
Paul Groves, George Nicholls, Frank Wilson, Peter Glynn, Steve Rule, Ken Gwilliam Eric Prescott, John Mantle, Bob Blackwood, Paul Brownbill and Darren Bloor played for both clubs in the pre super League era. Alex Murphy and Shaun McRae have coached both sides.
Ken Gwilliam played at Wembley for Salford in 1969 and St.Helens in 1978.
A MATCH TO REMEMBER Friday 3rd July 2009.
Salford 20 St.Helens 10.
This was a night where young star Stefan Ratchford really came of age. Then just twenty one years old Salford’s rising prospect claimed two tries in the opening ten minutes to send the City Reds roaring in front. Both scores were converted by John Wilshire to put the home side 12-0 up.
Two tries in 2009, Stefan Ratchford.
Remarkably, a third score arrived in the 16th minute when Ratchford orchestrated a fine flowing move which culminated in centre Darrell Goulding crossing in the left corner.
Salford deservedly led 16-0 at the break and, though Saints responded in the second half with a try through young replacement Andrew Dixon, there was no comeback.
Salford lost Jeremy Smith to the sin bin in the fifty third minute but their defence was outstanding. St. Helens were flying high and bang on form coming into this match, in fact they had won their previous sixteen away matches.
Australia three quarter Mark Henry scored just before the hour mark to put Salford firmly in the driving seat much to the delight of the home supporters.
Francis Meli scores a consolation try in the final minute for Saints but this match was all about Salford and a very memorable victory.
This victory ended a run of four defeats for Shaun McRae’s City Reds. The joy was sadly short lived, eight days later Salford were well beaten in South Wales by Celtic Crusaders 25-12 and only managed one victory out of their remaining nine games.
The teams that night:
Salford, Wilshere, Henry, Littler, Goulding, McGilvary, J Smith, Ratchford, Cashmere, Alker, Stapleton, Adamson, Sidlow, Swain.
Subs, Leuluai, Jewitt, Walton, Hunter-Paul.
St.Helens, Wellens, Gardener, Flannery, Dean, Meli, Eastmond, Long, Graham, Roby, Hargreaves, Ashurst, Puletua, Gilmour.
Subs, Fa’asavalu, Ellis, Dixon, Clough.
Referee, James Child.
St.Helens carried on their good form with another routine victory on Friday night. They played straight after the Wigan v Salford fixture and thumped Leeds 40-8.
Looking at the Saints squad who can we pick out as players to look out for?
Coach Kristian Woolf is blessed with quality in every position. One man who as impressed me so much again this season is winger Tommy Mackinson. Arguably the best winger in the competition, his explosive pace, power and ability to finish acrobatically make him a hot favourite to play in next year’s World Cup. Jonny Lomax and Theo Fages form a very exciting half back partnership and fullback Lachlan Coote is a real talisman.
Tommy Mackinson, Saints star winger.
One player who is probably not quite well known is young centre Josh Simm. He played Friday night against Leeds and scored a hat trick to hammer home Saints excellent strength in depth. We could wax lyrical about the back line all day but the St. Helens forward pack is just as good. Athletic and very mobile, Matty Lees and Morgan Knowles are the young guns making waves. The experienced Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook provide the grunt along with the giant Alex Walmersley.
Ian Watson will be hoping to welcome back forward Sebastine Ikahihifo to his squad. Seb missed Friday’s match with a tight hamstring. Pauli Pauli and Gil Dudson will be hoping to feature. Dudson was absent on Friday due to illness. One man who was again excellent despite defeat last time was Lee Mossop. The Salford captain ran his blood to water in some brutal collisions against his former club Wigan. Luke Yates has been mr reliable this season with his workaholic displays and if Salford are to have any chance against Saints their defence must be water tight.
The action gets under way on Monday tea time at 5:30pm behind closed doors at Headingley Stadium.
Stay safe and enjoy the match.