With the announcement being made early this season that Castleford coach Daryl Powell will be moving on to Warrington some people expected a slump in the Tigers performances. This has not been the case at all with the Yorkshire side registering three straight league wins and last weeks defeat at Wigan was a real close one. Castleford also progressed to the last eight of the Challenge cup with a golden point extra time win at Hull Kingston Rovers.
The 2021 Tigers squad contains a whole host of ex Salford players. Derrell Olpherts and a George Griffin are in their second seasons respectively at Wheldon Road. Gareth O’Brien and Niall Evalds are also key members of the Castleford squad. Jordan Turner joined from Huddersfield in the close season, Turner was at Salford as a young player between 2007 and 2009.
Under coach Powell the club has made tremendous progress winning the League Leaders shield as well as appearing in the Grand Final and Challenge cup final. Consistency has been a key factor for the club and over the past decade or so they have finished well up the league table nearly every season.
Powell took over as coach with the Tigers in 2013 after previous spells in charge at Keighley Cougars, Leeds Rhinos and Featherstone Rovers. Whilst with the Cougars he was player coach and Salford enjoyed some great success and some real blood and thunder tussles with Keighley during the mid 1990s. The Castleford hierarchy will have big boots to fill in search of a replacement coach for 2022.
Powell on the burst during his Cougar days.
Salford enjoyed a confidence boosting victory last Friday over a valiant Leigh side. The Red Devils were far from polished and in particular the first half was very disappointing. Coach Richard Marshall knows only to well that his side need to be much improved over the next two matches. Salford will face the Tigers again next weekend in the Challenge Cup at Headingley.
Marshall will be hoping to welcome back a few of his players from injury and the return of Andy Ackers from suspension will give the team a lift. Ackers has impressed during his time at Salford, he’s quick and direct around the ruck as well as being a solid defender and good support player.
During the Super League era Castleford have had the upper hand in this fixture but since the move to the AJ Bell Stadium Salford have won their fair share and some memorable ones too. The 13-12 victory in 2017 is one that will be fondly remembered, Gareth O’Brien dropped the crucial goal that day after two tries from the barnstorming Ben Murdoch Masila. One of my favourites was the playoff fixture in 2019, Salford won that one 22-0, Niall Evalds with that wonder tackle on Jordan Rankin was one to savour.
Gareth O’Brien drops a goal in 2017 to clinch victory 13-12.
Super League home record.
1997 Salford 4 Castleford 0
1998 Salford 8 Castleford 18
1999 Salford 17 Castleford 29
2000 Salford 16 Castleford 22
2001 Salford 18 Castleford 26
2002 Salford 16 Castleford 74
2002 Salford 10 Castleford 20
2004 Salford 30 Castleford 14
2006 Salford 26 Castleford 16
2009 Salford 12 Castleford 18
2010 Salford 22 Castleford 28
2011 Salford 8 Castleford 15
2012 Salford 10 Castleford 24
2013 Salford 34 Castleford 30
2014 Salford 23 Castleford 16
2015 Salford 20 Castleford 22
2016 Salford 22 Castleford 18
2017 Salford 13 Castleford 12
2017 Salford 4 Castleford 23 ( super eights)
2018 Salford 6 Castleford 24
2019 Salford 26 Castleford 16
2019 Salford 22 Castleford 0 (playoffs)
2020 Salford 30 Castleford 37 (played behind closed doors at Headingley)
They played for both.
Throughout the Super League era there have been plenty of players who have played for both clubs and quite a few through the 1970s and 80s.
Here is a selection of them ;
Paul Orr, Bill Kirkbride, Jonny Ward, Barry Kear, Ron Hill, Ian Bragger, Justin Carney, Chris Charles, Jason Critchley, Luke Dorn, Greg Eden, Jake Emmit, Jason Flowers, Matt Gardner, Ashley Gibson, Wayne Godwin, Weller Hauraki, Lee Jewitt, Michael Korkidas, Francis Maloney, Mike Platt, Darren Rogers, Jordan Turner, Darren Shaw, Mark Sneyd, Gray Viane, Derrell Olpherts, George Griffin, Niall Evalds and Gareth O’Brien.
Darren Rogers scored plenty of tries for both clubs.
A match to remember Friday 8th September 2006.
Salford 26 Castleford 16.
An amazing start to the 2006 season saw Salford riding high in the League table playing some of their best rugby for years. As the year progressed after Easter form dipped but this victory at the Willows secured a 5th place finish in the penultimate round of matches and a crack at the Super League playoffs.
The Tigers looked to be in control as they took a 14-4 lead with tries from Luke Dyer and Danny Sculthorpe and three goals from Danny Brough.
Malcolm Alker and Daley Williams grabbed first half tries for Salford who trailed 8-14 at half time.
After a good old fashioned Karl Harrison team talk The City Reds came out firing in the second half in what was a tense night of action under the lights.
Salford had a real hunger and desire about them. With Warrington, Harlequins and Wigan just behind us in the table their was no room for error.
Barn storming forward Andy Coley, crafty scrum half Luke Robinson and the ever reliable David Hodgson all touched down for tries to condemn Castleford to a 26-16 defeat.
The Tigers went on to play Wakefield in the final round of the regular season a week later in a match where the losing side would be relegated.
Wakefield completed their own great escape as they condemned Castleford to relegation from Super League with a tension-filled victory 29-17 in front of a packed crowd at Belle Vue.
The teams that night were;
Salford, Hodgson, Williams, McGuinness, Moule, Wilshere, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Littler, Brocklehurst, Finnigan.
Subs, Charles, Highton, Adamson, Haggerty.
Castleford, Platt, A Fletcher, Shenton, McGoldrick, Dyer, Lupton, Brough, Sculthorpe, Henderson, Nutley, Ward, Manu, R Fletcher.
Subs, Davis, Viane, Bird, Fa’aoso.
Referee, Karl Kirkpatrick.
This looks a real tough fixture and Salford can’t afford to start the match like last Friday. If you gift a team like Castleford penalties, possession and field position they will punish you. It’s vital the Red Devils start the game on the front foot. I mentioned earlier the ex Salford contingent in the Tigers ranks and theirs plenty of other players to look out for. Current Man of Steel Paul McShane makes this side tick and young half back Jake Trueman is a real top prospect. The Cas pack is always difficult to stop with the blockbusting aggression of Liam Watts and Grant Millington. Oliver Holmes and Adam Milner are two players who consistently put big shifts in. Their is plenty of quality right through their squad.
Salford have their fair share of talent too. New signing Elijah Taylor has looked a real clever and solid performer so far, in Ken Sio and Rhys Williams we have two accomplished wingers.
Krisnan Inu as we saw last week can do some magical things and his goal kicking is always very good. You get the impression that the pack are still finding their feet in the early stages of the season but if Salford can complete their sets at a high rate and put Castleford under pressure than the opportunities will come. The big question will be can those opportunities and chances be taken. Salford need to be organised, the game plan needs to be cohesive and the discipline must be better than of recent weeks.
This game will be a big test for Richard Marshall and his team. A win on Friday would be a real tonic and work wonders for the teams confidence.
The action gets underway at 7:45pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.