Just like Salford most pundits in rugby league didn’t fancy Wakefield’s chances in 2022. After a tricky start to the season and a home thumping against Leeds things were beginning to look a little bleak for Trinity. After two consecutive away wins at Warrington in the League and Challenge Cup the picture has now changed dramatically. Willie Poching is now the head coach of the West Yorkshire side and the softly spoken New Zealander has instilled his philosophy into what looks a very talented side. They’ve got genuine pace in the back line, a tough set of forwards and two very clever half backs in Mason Lino and Jacob Miller. After the league win at Warrington the bookies still gave Wakefield a 12 point start for the cup game. They proved that the first win was no flash in the pan with another very disciplined performance taking there chances and keeping the Wolves at bay.
In the Super League era Salford’s record in this fixture is pretty dismal with just three victories. Belle Vue is a very tough place to go. The Trinity supporters get behind their side and always make it a terrific atmosphere.
Wakefield sit one place behind Salford in the table with two wins from six matches. The games they have lost so far have been pretty close. 12-16 at home to Hull, 24-22 in France against Catalans and 20-4 at Saints. The only defeat that stands out was the loss at home to Leeds where Trinity were put to the sword quite convincingly.
It’s over twenty years now since Wakefield gained promotion back to the top flight of Rugby League. Trinity won a glorious Division one Grand Final victory over Featherstone Rovers back in September 1998 in front of a crowd of 8,224. Since then they’ve managed to survive some mighty dog fights at the bottom of the table as well as some really solid seasons where they have competed in the playoffs. It’s fair to say for a club their size Wakefield have punched above their weight. Many of the elite teams in the Super League have been put to the sword at the famous old Belle Vue Stadium.
Perhaps it’s looking a little tired these days but it remains a traditional ground of the sport. A place that has seen many greats of the game play over the years including the legendary Neil Fox, David Topliss and Derek Turner. Between the three of them they played over 1200 games for the Dreadnoughts. The club were the team to beat in the 1960s. Lifting two Championships in 1967 and 1968. They also triumphed at Wembley three times in 1960, 1962 and 1963.
Rugby League is in the DNA in this part of West Yorkshire. You’ve got three clubs steeped in history with Wakefield, Castleford and Featherstone all within a short distance of each other. The amateur game is also very important in the local district too.
At the moment Salford are struggling for consistency. At times the team have looked really impressive this year but on the flip side they’ve been caught out too and come up short. It’s been difficult for Paul Rowley’s side to string back to back performances together. Whoever wins this match will go into the Easter fixtures in good shape. Wakefield have a huge Challenge Cup Quarter Final fixture to face next weekend against Wigan so could the players have one eye on that?
Super league away record.
1999 Wakefield 36 Salford 10
2000 Wakefield 36 Salford 10
2001 Wakefield 32 Salford 22
2001 Wakefield 23 Salford 20
2002 Wakefield 32 Salford 18
2004 Wakefield 21 Salford 20
2004 Wakefield 46 Salford 18
2005 Wakefield 36 Salford 24
2006 Wakefield 18 Salford 36
2007 Wakefield 34 Salford 26
2009 Wakefield 29 Salford 10
2010 Wakefield 36 Salford 6
2011 Wakefield 6 Salford 32
2012 Wakefield 26 Salford 22
2013 Wakefield 23 Salford 23
2014 Wakefield 42 Salford 6
2015 Wakefield 16 Salford 24
2016 Wakefield 32 Salford 18
2017 Wakefield 24 Salford 22
2018 Wakefield 14 Salford 12
2019 Wakefield 33 Salford 22
2020 Wakefield 20 Salford 28 (behind closed doors at Headingley).
They played for both.
There have been quite a lot of players who have played for both clubs in the Super League era. Here is a selection of them:
Shane Kenward, Warren Jowitt, Bobbie Goulding, kris Tassell, Martin Moana, Phil Hassan, Michael Korkidas, Darrell Griffin, Josh Griffin, George Griffin, Andy Kirk, Tommy Saxton, Paul White, Sean Gleeson, Ashley Gibson, Ben Gledhill, Jeremy Smith, Stuart Howarth, Greg Johnson, Josh Veivers, Tim Smith, Matty Ashurst, kevin Locke, Jason Walton, Mason Caton Brown, Ben Jones Bishop, James Hasson and Josh Wood.
A match to remember Sunday 27th February 2011.
Wakefield Trinity 6 Salford 32
After a poor start to the 2011 season Salford got there first win in this match at Belle Vue. On a very heavy pitch Shaun McRae’s side turned in a very accomplished display to punish there hosts. A big defeat against Celtic Crusaders on the opening day of the season was followed by a 50 point hiding at home to St Helens.
This match was never in doubt after a storming start. Matty Smith linked up with Stefan Ratchford after just 43 seconds to create the first try, Ratchford going over.
Four minutes later Daniel Holdsworth produced a huge 40-20 kick to lay the platform for Stephen Wild to score the second try.
Holdsworth put in a tidy kick for centre Mark Henry to dive onto ahead of winger Kevin Penny for try number three, also goaled by the scrum-half.
Tommy Lee grabbed Wakefield’s only score midway through the first half.
Despite having Ryan Boyle sin binned in the second half Salford’s defence stood firm.
Adam Sidlow and Mark Henry rounded off a fine victory with late tries for the City Reds.
The teams that day were;
Wakefield: Veivers, Penny, Murphy, Dean, George, Smith, Lee, Korkidas, Rinaldi, P Johnson, Mariano, Morrison, Howarth.
Replacements: Gledhill, Davey, Amor, Henderson.
Salford: Patten, Broughton, Henry, Nero, Gibson, Ratchford, Holdsworth, Cashmere, Smith, Boyle, Adamson, Sidlow, Wild.
Replacements: Parker, Paleaaesina, Sneyd, Jewitt.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).
Salford come into this match very light in the second row after losing James Greenwood last week for a significant injury lay-off. Shane Wright is also out with a hamstring problem. One boost though is the availability of Super League’s top try scorer Ken Sio.
The Red Devils rarely threatened Wigan last Friday and never really looked like scoring a try. Brodie Croft definitely impressed me last week but sometimes I think he’s doing a bit to much defensive work covering for other players. Croft is a strike player and Salford need the pack to lay the foundations for the pivots in the side to work their craft. Trinity have a big back with the like of David Fifita and Kelepi Tanginoa. Fifita is a master at offloading the ball. James Batchelor and Jai Whitbread are both young stars with plenty of running in them. Matty Ashurst and Jay Pitts both have terrific engines and would walk into most Super League squads. The half back pairing of Mason Lino and Jacob Miller is also an intriguing one. Miller has been at Wakefield since the start of the 2015 season and is a firm favourite with the supporters. Lino is a real box of tricks too and a talented goal kicker. On his day Tom Johnstone is up there with the best wingers in the league but he’s had terrible luck with injury in recent seasons.
This match is made for a player like Marc Sneyd and Salford will be hoping his influence will steer them to victory this Sunday.
Joe Burgess has impressed recently and whichever two wingers Paul Rowley decides to pick on Sunday if they get the service they can finish. It will be interesting to see who Rowley gives the nod to in the pack. Will Jack Ormondroyd move into the second row? He’s certainly got a decent turn of pace as well as being a big strong lad. Ryan Lannon would be expected to start in the back row having worked hard in recent weeks and Elijah Taylor must be one of the first names on the team sheet with his ever reliable displays at loose forward.
The weather is expected to be a little bit cooler than recent weeks so it’s advisable to take your big coat and scarf.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.