Their is no doubt that as Salford supporters we have seen some barren seasons particularly over the last forty years or so. It’s been a long time since our last major trophy, although it was a pretty glorious one in 1976 lifting the Championship. Our supporters have kept the faith but the same can be said of Thursday opponents Wakefield Trinity. This proud Club were a team to be feared in the 1960s winning Championships and Challenge Cups. They produced some fabulous players along the way too. Trinity’s last visit to Wembley was back in 1979 when they were beaten 12-3 by Widnes. Their very own David Topliss was awarded the Lance Todd Trophy. Trinity have won the Championship twice tasting glory two years running in 1967 and 1968. Wakefield’s last major trophy wasn’t quite as far back as Salford’s, it came in 1992 when the club lifted the Yorkshire Cup at Elland Road with a 29-16 victory over Sheffield Eagles.
Neil Fox at Wembley in the Challenge Cup Final.
It’s been a long time between drinks for both these proud clubs who have a rich history in the sport of Rugby League. During the 1960s and 1970s both clubs had plenty of their players representing Great Britain in World Cups and Test Matches.
Chris Chester is now one of the longest serving coaches in Super League. The Trinity boss is as honest as they come and has worked hard to maintain the club’s position amongst the sports elite clubs.
Like Salford, Wakefield are not awash with pots of money or huge crowds but what you will find at Belle Vue and the AJ Bell Stadium amongst the spectators are people who follow the club like a religion. You certainly need plenty of patience to follow one of these two clubs. Rugby League in that particular part of West Yorkshire plays a huge part in people’s lives. It’s just a stones throw to Castleford and Featherstone. There is also lots of amateur clubs in the area with really vibrant youth systems.
Wakefield celebrate their Yorkshire Cup Triumph.
On the pitch in 2021 Wakefield have started to find a bit of form and came up with an excellent result last weekend to turn Wigan over. They have quite a settled spine and two good half backs in Jacob Miller and Mason Lino. Trinity so far have won four matches from twelve.
Super League home record.
1999 Salford 28 Wakefield 14
2000 Salford 14 Wakefield 22
2001 Salford 26 Wakefield 16
2001 Salford 24 Wakefield 32
2002 Salford 42 Wakefield 18
2002 Salford 22 Wakefield 22
2004 Salford 20 Wakefield 27
2005 Salford 16 Wakefield 14
2005 Salford 37 Wakefield 0
2006 Salford 48 Wakefield 10
2006 Salford 26 Wakefield 12
2007 Salford 18 Wakefield 35
2009 Salford 24 Wakefield 30
2010 Salford 16 Wakefield 12
2011 Salford 34 Wakefield 12
2012 Salford 34 Wakefield 42 (played at Leigh)
2013 Salford 10 Wakefield 46
2014 Salford 18 Wakefield 14
2015 Salford 24 Wakefield 18
2015 Salford 34 Wakefield 26 (middle eights)
2016 Salford 38 Wakefield 8
2017 Salford 24 Wakefield 34
2017 Salford 18 Wakefield 43 (Super 8s)
2018 Salford 38 Wakefield 4
2019 Salford 44 Wakefield 20
2020 Salford 12 Wakefield 22
They played for both.
Here are a few players who represented both clubs:
Ben Jones Bishop, Mason Caton Brown, Tim Smith, Kevin Locke, Matty Ashurst, Ged Byrne, Garen Casey, Shane Kenward, Jason Critchley, Ashley Gibson, Sean Gleeson, Bobbie Goulding, Josh Griffin, George Griffin, Darrell Griffin, Phil Hassan, James Hasson, Stuart Howarth, Alan Hunte, Greg Johnson, Warren Jowitt, Andy Kirk, Tommy Lee, Francis Maloney, Martin Moana, Kris Tassell, Jason Walton, Josh Wood, Jeremy Smith and Craig Kopzack.
A very young Alan Hunte.
A match to remember Saturday 11th March 2006.
Salford 48 Wakefield 10.
Wakefield were helpless to stop Salford’s first half masterclass. Their passing was slick, the support play was superb and their defence was tenacious at times.
Incredibly, Salford, who led 36-0 at the break, missed only one tackle in the first 40 minutes. With inspirational skipper Malc Alker failing to appear for the second half, the Reds let their standards slip but that was immaterial as their fourth win in five games was already in the bag.
Besides, with their feet firmly off the gas Salford still looked the better team.
The half back pairing of Andrew Dunemann and Luke Robinson worked wonders.
They carved open Wakefield’s defence time after time.
Loose forward Simon Finnigan was the main beneficiary, becoming only the second Salford forward ever to score a Super League hat-trick.
Simon Finnigan, game star back in 2006.
Finnigan’s finishing was different class but it was his all round game that was a joy to watch.
With Finnigan keeping Chris Charles out of the team, Salford were missing a regular goal kicker. David Hodgson was proving a good stand in though with a fine kick display.
He set a Salford Super League goal kicking record I think match converting all eight of the Reds’ tries.
It had been a fantastic start to the 2006 season for Salford with early wins against Warrington, Catalan and Wigan.
This certainly was a memorable night at The Willows. One of those games where almost everything came off and went right.
The team line ups that night were ;
SALFORD REDS: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, Moule, Littler, Wilshere; Dunemann, Robinson; Baldwin, Alker, Highton, Coley, Brocklehurst, Finnigan. Subs used: Clough, Haggerty, Clayton, Langi. Tries: Highton (2), Finnigan (3), Fitzpatrick, Brocklehurst, Robinson. Goals: Hodgson (8).
WAKEFIELD: Halpenny; White, Demetriou, Henderson, Tadulala; Obst, Jeffries; MacGillivray, Betham, Elima, Solomona, Field, Applegarth. Subs used: Griffin, Korkidas, March, Saxton. Tries: Field, Demetriou. Goal: March.
Referee, Phil Bentham.
Frustrating and disappointing seem to be two words that are summing up most Salford’s performances this season. Last weekends defeat at home to Leeds seemed a real anticlimax after all the good work done in the 8-9 victory at Huddersfield the previous week. Richard Marshall will once again be forced to make changes. Lee Mossop and Jack Wells picked up a two match ban each and Joe Burgess was handed a one game ban. Dan Sarginson still has two more matches to serve on his suspension as well. Add to that the short turnaround with a trip to Hull on Monday this week is going to be a very challenging one.
Wakefield have won four out of their last six matches and the two games they’ve lost in that run were both very competitive contests. Second rower Matty Ashurst has been in terrific form recently and he will no doubt want to play well against his former club. Ashurst is a strong runner out wide and a very accomplished defender who gets through lots of the unsung work. Winger Tom Johnstone is definitely one to watch and if you give him a sniff of a chance he will take it. Tom is blessed with tremendous pace and is one of the best finishers in the League. Mason Lino and Jacob Miller are a very settled half back pairing and seem to have a good understanding of each other.
It will be interesting to see who starts at fullback for Salford. Tui Lolohea, Morgan Escare and even a Ken Sio could be in contention to start at the back. Greg Burke will be available after suspension and I’d like to see Jack Ormondroyd get a bit more game time. Chris Atkin has worked his socks off recently and has been Mr Consistent for Salford. His leadership skills will be needed on Thursday night.
This has the ingredients to be a cracking match and Salford will be desperate to get the two points in front of their home supporters for the first time this season.
The action gets underway at 7:30pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.