This match now looks a huge game for both clubs. Salford are low on confidence after three straight defeats and Leeds have one win from five matches. The Rhinos spent big in the off season bringing in two high profile half backs with Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin linking up in West Yorkshire but up to know it’s been very disappointing.
Salford’s record against Leeds in all competitions is one of the worst in rugby league. Wins at Headingley are very rare and since Super League started in 1996 the Red Devils have beaten Leeds on three occasions in a home fixture out of twenty five attempts.
Last Friday saw Salford go eighteen points behind in a miserable first half at home to Hull Kingston Rovers. Their was an improvement in the second half with the Red Devils clawing back to trail 16-18. Rovers were the better side though and took the points back to Humberside. Leeds played a day earlier at home to Hull Fc and were brushed aside by the well organised visitors. Hull built up a tremendous 0-31 with eight minutes remaining. Leeds scores two late tries but this was a real humbling experience especially at their own ground.
Salford supporters with long memories will be bracing themselves for a vintage Leeds display this Friday as they tend to play like the 1982 Australian Test team when Salford are the opposition! The Red Devils will be looking for a solid week in training and Paul Rowley will no doubt be looking to tighten up his sides leaky defence.
Super League home record.
1997 Salford 20 Leeds 33
1998 Salford 6 Leeds 40
1999 Salford 30 Leeds 38
2000 Salford 26 Leeds 34
2001 Salford 14 Leeds 19
2002 Salford 16 Leeds 48
2004 Salford 0 Leeds 44
2005 Salford 12 Leeds 30
2006 Salford 18 Leeds 24
2006 Salford 18 Leeds 19
2007 Salford 26 Leeds 30
2009 Salford 24 Leeds 30
2010 Salford 22 Leeds 31
2011 Salford 22 Leeds 30
2012 Salford 16 Leeds 56
2013 Salford 16 Leeds 42
2014 Salford 18 Leeds 22
2015 Salford 18 Leeds 28
2016 Salford 14 Leeds 10
2017 Salford 24 Leeds 50
2018 Salford 38 Leeds 22
2019 Salford 14 Leeds 46
2019 Salford 28 Leeds 16
2020 Salford 8 Leeds 22
2021 Salford 12 Leeds 38
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, David Stephenson, Phil Hassan, Weller Hauraki, Ben Jones Bishop, Andy Kirk, Francis Maloney, Robert Lui, Richie Myler and David Young.
A MATCH TO REMEMBER
Salford 18 Leeds 19 Friday 16th June 2006.
This was to be the third meeting of the two sides in 2006. Leeds had edged a tight game earlier in the season 20-12 at Headingley as well as beating Salford 18-24 at the Willows. The Reds perhaps a shade unlucky in both previous matches.
The Rhinos were really starting to Challenge for trophies having won the Championship in 2004 and were World Champions in 2005 with some real quality in there side. This match in June was another pulsating affair. Salford were enjoying there best season since 1997. So many matches in 2006 had been decided by just one score and in fact quite a few by one point cliff hangers.
Salford managed to weather an early Leeds storm, with Tony Smith’s Rhinos playing there usual swashbuckling style of rugby.
Andy Coley gave us a well deserved lead charging under the posts off a slick Luke Robinson pass. David Hodgson converted 6-0.
Leeds fought back to level the scores before Hodgson had a try disallowed for crossing. The lighting quick winger restored Salford’s advantage with two penalty goals. The Willows faithful were delighted with a 10-6 half time lead in what certainly was an electric atmosphere.
The Rhinos upped the intensity as the second half got in to full swing. Willie Poching crashing over for a try that Kevin Sinfield converted. This nudged Leeds back in front at 10-12.
It was end to end excitement, Hodgson levelled the scores one again with a penalty before scoring a super try in the corner to almost lift the roof off the old Stadium. Holding his nerve once again to boot the conversion off the touch line, 18-12.
The Rhinos kept powering forward with there ferocious pack. Simon Finnigan worked over time in defence for Salford tackling everything that moved. It was like The Alamo at times.
Danny McGuire came to the rescue for the visitors with a piece of individual brilliance. The stand off darting through a gap to sprint to the line. Sinfield levelled the scores 18-18.
As the full time hooter edged ever closer both sides looked to land the knockout blow. Leeds had a huge let off when Andrew Dunemann knocked on close to there line. The Salford half back was having a marvellous season and cut a distinct figure in his black scrum hat.
It was that man McGuire who broke Salford hearts though in the 79th minute landing a drop goal.
It was a bitter pill for Karl Harrison’s Salford side to swallow and there loyal supporters.
As The Reds proved so many times in 2006 they could certainly compete with anyone in The Super League.
The teams that night were;
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Langi, Dunemann, Robinson, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Brocklehurst, Sibbut, Finnigan.
Subs, Myler, Charles, Highton, Haggerty.
Leeds: Smith, Donald, Walker, Senior, Williams, McGuire, Burrow, Jones-Buchanan, Diskin, Feather, Peacock, Ellis, Sinfield.
Subs, Millard, Lauiti’iti, Bailey, Poching.
One thing that’s looking good for Friday night is the weather. Salford have played their first two home games in wet conditions with the Toulouse game being quite a downpour.
Leeds coach Richard Agar has plenty of quality in his squad to pick from but complained of a lack of desire from his side defensively in last weeks home thumping to Hull. With Aidan Sezer and Blake Austin at half back their should be no lack of creativity and chances. Brad Dwyer and Kruise Leeming always seem to cause plenty of damage running from dummy half and the pack looks pretty substantial too. Mikolaj Oledzki, Rhyse Martin and Zane Tetevano carry plenty of power. One player who will be missing is Matt Prior. The Australian work horse picked up a one match ban from last weeks match.
Salford will also have to defend well on the edges with the pace the Rhinos posses. Ash Handley and Tom Briscoe always have tries in them.
Salford had Sam Luckley, Chris Atkin, Matt Costello and Rhys Williams in their twenty one man squad last week and all four haven’t seen much action this season. Could Paul Rowley make some changes?
Both sides have good players but both sides are low on confidence. Leeds are probably under a little bit more pressure than Salford at this stage in the season as they’ve only won once. A win for Salford would be a huge result especially with another tough game up next against Wakefield in the Super League.
The Red Devils can’t afford to give away set restarts and penalties like they did last week. This allowed Hull Kingston Rovers to march forward with plenty of momentum as well as giving Salford so much more tackling to do. Rowley’s men conceded eight set restarts and nine penalties last Friday and that isn’t good enough at this level. Think back to round one against Castleford, everything was controlled and measured. The side looked composed and well structured. If we are to beat Leeds on Friday we must do the little one percent things right.
The action gets underway at 8pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos