This time last month Salford’s season was floating aimlessly down stream like driftwood approaching a waterfall. Rugby league can change so quickly, form can go from one extreme to another. After three wins from our last four matches Richard Marshall and his side are now aiming up the table and aren’t to far off the teams directly above them. Two wins on the trot against Castleford and Wakefield has boosted confidence.
Don’t let certain sections of the press fool you to much. Yes Castleford were under strength but just look at what Salford have been dealing with. The list of players we’ve had missing is as long as your arm and not to mention the struggles with the virus, players isolating and not able to train along with new players coming in on loan. St.Helens and Kristian Woolf deserve a pat on the back for working with us on the loan front and so do Warrington.
With players returning from suspension now this will also help our cause. Dan Sarginson, Jack Wells and captain Lee Mossop all recently received bans and it will be great to see them back out there. New signing Ata Hingano arrived last week with supporters excited to see him get a taste of the action in the coming weeks. Krisnan Inu returned to action against Castleford and his performances in the last two matches have been outstanding. He has such a calming influence on the side and never stops talking on the pitch which helps guide the more inexperienced players. Inu has that touch of class and their is no doubt his goal kicking lifts the team. It’s a huge plus going up in sixes.
Krisnan Inu has been in top form since his return to the team.
Salford need to be smarter his week against Leeds. Their was an awful lot of niggle in the fixture just a few weeks ago and this time the Red Devils can’t afford to get sucked in. We’ve shown in recent weeks if we dig in and stay in the arm wrestle we can really put pressure on teams. Defence seems to be tighter and the improving performance of a number of players has been terrific to see. Take Chris Atkin for example, he’s getting better every week. He’s creating chances and his kicking game is putting the opposition on the back foot. Morgan Escare has looked as sharp as ever at fullback and with the return of Dan Sarginson on the horizon Marshall will have a nice selection headache in store.
Marshall told me last week that Elijah Taylor had been quite poorly and lost a fair bit of weight. He’s hoping to build him back up in the coming weeks. Taylor’s contribution so far this season has been immense and we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Super League away record.
1997 Leeds 34 Salford 18
1998 Leeds 31 Salford 12
1999 Leeds 50 Salford 16
2000 Leeds 42 Salford 16
2001 Leeds 56 Salford 6
2002 Leeds 39 Salford 38
2004 Leeds 34 Salford 6
2005 Leeds 54 Salford 14
2006 Leeds 20 Salford 12
2007 Leeds 52 Salford 14
2009 Leeds 20 Salford 30
2010 Leeds 22 Salford 10
2011 Leeds 46 Salford 12
2012 Leeds 46 Salford 12
2013 Leeds 42 Salford 14
2014 Leeds 32 Salford 4
2015 Leeds 70 Salford 6
2016 Leeds 8 Salford 0
2017 Leeds 20 Salford 14
2017 Leeds 44 Salford 2 (super 8s)
2018 Leeds 20 Salford 0
2018 Leeds 18 Salford 16 (the qualifiers)
2019 Leeds 12 Salford 20
2020 Leeds 50 Salford 12 (behind closed doors at Warrington)
They played for both.
Here are a few players to wear the red of Salford and the blue and amber of Leeds.
Luke Burgess, Joel Moon, Mark Brooke-Cowden, Andrew Duneman, Ensene Famailo, Phil Ford, Ashley Gibson, Phil Hassan, Weller Hauraki, Ben Jones Bishop, Andy Kirk, Francis Maloney, Richie Myler, David Young and Robert Lui.
Welshman David Young played for both clubs in the 90s.
A match to remember 5th February 1977 Leeds 13 Salford 28.
After the Championship glory of the 1975/76 season Salford were unable to replicate it the following year. They did however manage there first win at Headingley since 1959.
A cold damp Saturday afternoon and a good away following on the West Terrace were treated to a thrilling Salford performance. Colin Dixon and Mike Coulman were at there tenacious best. Bone crunching in defence and unstoppable going forward. Ken Gill and Steve Nash dictated proceedings at half back, while super fast winger Maurice Richards and Keith Fielding were amongst the points.
Try scorer Maurice Richards.
Richards with a try and Fielding with five goals. Captain courageous Chris Hesketh was as reliable as ever scoring a crucial try. The second half of this match was screened on BBC Grandstand. Hopefully one day to be resurrected from the archives as it would make fascinating viewing. Salford would now have to wait 32 years until Easter Monday 2009 for there next win at Leeds.
Salford’s try scorers that day were, Coulman, Hesketh, Gill, Dixon, Nash and Richards.
Star performer, Salford Captain Chris Hesketh.
The team line ups were,
Leeds, Fletcher, A Smith, D Smith, Dyl, Atkinson, Hague, Dick, Dickinson,
Ward (captain), Pitchford, Eccles, Cookson and Fearnley.
Salford, Graham, Fielding, Butler, Hesketh (captain), Richards, Gill, Nash, Coulman, Raistrick, Mantle, Turnbull, Dixon, Prescott. Subs, Knighton, Grice.
Leeds have made the headlines this week with the signing of Aidan Sezer from Huddersfield for the 2022 season. Their will no doubt be plenty of player movement across Super League in the near future with clubs announcing who they’ve captured for next season. It always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. I know the players have to look after their futures but while your contracted to a club in the middle of a season it leaves a bad taste for the supporters who are currently paying your wages.
Salford now have four league wins this season. The Rhinos are two places above Salford with six wins and this underlines the importance of this match. Both clubs are at a crossroads in their respective seasons. A win for Salford closes the gap on Leeds and Castleford the team who are directly above us. The Red Devils have a run of matches coming up against the teams around them in the table and we all know sometimes momentum can be very very powerful. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, Friday nights fixture will be a very tough game. Salford’s record at Headingley doesn’t make good reading with just two wins in the Super League era.
Richard Marshall’s squad received a boost this week with young Warrington duo Ellis Robson and Nathan Roebuck joining on loan until the end of the season. Ata Hingano is in Friday’s squad and the return of Jack Wells and captain Lee Mossop will add some fire power in the pack. Dan Sarginson is also back from his three game suspension.
Salford need to get off to a good start but looking at the squad we have players there to cause Leeds problems. It looks like it’s going to be another warm evening so the energy battle will be vital on Friday night. Victory for Salford would really turn the season round. It promises to be a fantastic match in front of a big crowd now restrictions have been lifted.
Salford have won this fixture on three occasions since 1959 so it’s always worth the journey to West Yorkshire just in case because you could see a little slice of history.
The action gets underway at 7:45pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.