Last Saturday’s result may have been disappointing but the performance on the whole was one to be proud of for Salford and their supporters. The Red Devils didn’t deserve to lose that match and it was a lack of composure in the closing stages that cost the team the victory. Yet again we were told how Warrington had rested players but I don’t buy that and find it disrespectful to Richard Marshall and his players. Salford had an entire pack of forwards missing along with quite a few players patched up. This never seems to get mentioned these days in Rugby League. When a fancied team loses their is usually a ready made excuse. I think it’s better to look at the positives rather than the negatives. All that said last weeks clash with Warrington was a cracking contest. I looked round at the faces on the terrace behind the posts with five minutes remaining and the passion, desperation and hope was amazing. Salford didn’t really have anything to play for but pride, you would never have guest that looking at what it meant to the players and supporters.
Salford don’t have a fantastic record against St.Helens and haven’t won the away fixture since January 1980. We’ve had some memorable victories at home to Saints over the years. Last seasons 12-10 triumph was played behind closed doors at Headingley. After defeat to Catalans in the most dramatic circumstances at the Magic Weekend Saints bounced back with a thumping win over Leeds last time out. Alex Walmersley looked unstoppable as he trampled through the Rhinos defence at will. Coach Kristian Woolf is a perfectionist and he will have his side fine tuned and focused to return to another Grand Final.
Super League Home Record.
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
2020 Salford 12 St.Helens 10 (behind closed doors at Headingley).
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 from Salford. Willie Talu, Tony Puletua, Francis Meli, Mark Edmondson, Matty Ashurst, Andrew Dixon, Danny Arnold, Alan Hunte, Josh Jones, Bobbie Goulding, Lee Gaskell ,Paul Forber, Mark Lee, Jake Emmitt and Anthony Stewart to name a few in recent years to represent both sides.
Eric Prescott, Paul Groves, Paul Brownbill, John Mantle, Ken Gwilliam, George Nicholls and Darren Bloor played for both clubs in the pre super League era. The list could certainly go on as there are many more. Alex Murphy and Shaun McRae have coached both sides.
FRIDAY 21ST APRIL 2006 A MATCH TO REMEMBER
Salford 10 St Helens 12.
Jason Hooper put Saints ahead on six minutes with the help of the video referee although David Hodgson replied for the Reds on 10 minutes.
Ian Hardman collected Sean Long’s kick to make the score 10-4 and Jamie Lyon added two points after the break.
Salford gave everything to try and win the game and Simon Finnigan’s late try gave some hope but Saints just hung on.
In what was a pulsating evening at The Willows Karl Harrison’s Salford side came mighty close to a famous win against a Saints side who were by far the best team in the country at the time.
Salford went into the game with seven wins from their opening 10 league games but two first-half tries effectively sealed their fate.
Hooper scored the first after Leon Pryce found him with a neat offload although Hodgson replied soon after when he jinked his way through the sleepy Saints defence.
John Wilshere failed to convert and Saints increased their lead on 19 minutes when scrum-half Long’s deft cross-field kick was caught by Hardman, who raced in untouched to score.
Jamie Lyon’s penalty increased the lead to 12-4 but Salford responded superbly, pouring forward at every opportunity.
Their pressure finally told when Malcolm Alker teed up Finnigan 14 minutes from time and although Saints had a few scares, they were able to preserve their slim lead.
The world class Jamie Lyon in breath taking form was probably the difference between the two sides that night. But the 2006 Salford side was certainly one to be proud.
Finishing the regular season in 5th place, our highest league finish since 1979/80 season when we led the table for quite a chunk of the season before finishing 4th.
The team line ups that day were;
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Wilshere, Dunemann, Robinson, Baldwin, Alker, Highton, Coley, Brocklehurst, Finnigan.
Replacements: Haggerty, Charles, Clayton, Myler.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Hardman, Pryce, Long, P Anderson, Cunningham, Fozzard, Sculthorpe, Gilmour, Hooper.
Replacements: Cayless, Roby, V Anderson, Graham.
Finishing second bottom in the League Table is very disappointing. It’s been a tough season for Salford with a few bright sparks along the way. Every team suffers from injuries but I think it’s been slightly more difficult with the squad size. Coach Richard Marshall is now finding his feet and the big test is going to come at the start of next season. The Red Devils have some promising players in the current squad and a fair amount of talent. It looks likely that we will lose players at the end of the year but I am hopeful the players coming in will give us that extra bit of consistency we need in 2022.
St.Helens looked fantastic last week as they steamrollered Leeds to put the Rhinos playoff hopes into jeopardy. Their is no doubt that the top six playoff will be an exciting watch.
Salford have done a lot of hard work with the local community and in particular the schools in the surrounding areas and on Friday night many school children will be attending the game. Let’s hope we can put on a good performance and get them hooked so they want to come back again and again. Rugby League is a sport you can fall in love with. Many of us have had that romance with Salford from a young age. Their is a fair amount of uncertainty around where our club will play in the future but if we can all stick together I am sure we will be supporting this great club for years to come.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these previews this year as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Take care in the close season, have a great Christmas when it comes around and we can do it all again in 2022.
The action gets underway at 7:45pm.
Keep safe and enjoy the match.