Over the years I’ve always thought Warrington are a bit like Salford being a real enigma. You never quite know what your going to get. This season the Wolves seem an even bigger one than Salford. Since moving to their new Stadium Warrington have enjoyed good success in the Challenge Cup with trips to Wembley. Pair that with plenty of top four finishes and a few Grand Final appearances to lift the club alongside some of the sports big hitters.
Warrington last won Rugby League’s top flight Championship in 1955 and their supporters are craving a League Title. At the start of 2022 with plenty of investment in the playing squad as well as a very experienced coach joining the club in Daryl Powell expectation was probably higher than its ever been in this part of Cheshire. For one reason or another the players have struggled for form crashing out of the Challenge Cup at home to Wakefield Trinity and already they’ve lost four matches in the League out of seven.
As a Salford supporter this is a game I always look out for. It’s always a cracking atmosphere at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and the Red Devils always bring a good vocal following. Easter is always a festival of Rugby League. Let’s hope Thursday night is a bit drier than our Easter Thursday fixture at Leigh in 2008!
This fixture last season was a terrific encounter with Warrington edging it after plenty of drop goals in the closing stages. A match that ebbed and flowed from one end to the other with the Wolves finally nailing it 20-19.
Super league away record.
1997 Warrington 23 Salford 8
1998 Warrington 4 Salford 37
1999 Warrington 28 Salford 14
2000 Warrington 32 Salford 18
2000 Warrington 38 Salford 10
2001 Warrington 14 Salford 39
2002 Warrington 18 Salford 9
2002 Warrington 2 Salford 22
2004 Warrington 46 Salford 20
2005 Warrington 48 Salford 14
2005 Warrington 32 Salford 22
2006 Warrington 6 Salford 24
2006 Warrington 6 Salford 22
2007 Warrington 42 Salford 6
2009 Warrington 62 Salford 20
2010 Warrington 32 Salford 2
2011 Warrington 16 Salford 18
2012 Warrington 24 Salford 20
2013 Warrington 68 Salford 10
2014 Warrington 36 Salford 20
2015 Warrington 22 Salford 8
2016 Warrington 40 Salford 14
2017 Warrington 12 Salford 38
2018 Warrington 30 Salford 14
2019 Warrington 12 Salford 36
2019 Warrington 12 Salford 22
2020 Warrington 24 Salford 0 (match forfeited, Warrington awarded win)
2021 Warrington 20 Salford 19
They played for both.
Here are a few players to wear the red of Salford and the primrose and blue of Warrington.
Vinny Anderson, Richie Barnett, Steve Blakeley, Martin Crompton, John Duffy, Phil Ford, Martin Gleeson, Andy Gregory, Danny Halliwell, Neil Harmon, Alan Hunte, David Highton, Danny Lima, Lama Tasi, Tyrone McCarthy, Francis Maloney, Adrian Morley, Chris Morley, Ben Murdoch Masila, Richie Myler, Adam Neal, Gareth O Brien, Rob Parker, Stefan Ratchford, Stuart Reardon, Ian Sibbit, Kevin Tamati, Mike Wainwright and John Wilshere.
A match to remember Friday 12th July 2019.
Warrington 12 Salford 22 .
Looking back 2019 is only three years ago but so much has happened on and off the field at Salford Red Devils. Players have come and gone, along with coaches and staff. That season though was a special time to be a Salford supporter. It wasn’t all beer and skittles though and far from plain sailing at times. A very disappointing defeat at home to Hull Kingston Rovers in the Challenge cup and a poor display at the Magic Weekend in Liverpool against the Robins left the season hanging in the balance.
Robert Lui left to join Leeds Rhinos and Tui Lolohea made his Salford debut in a defeat at Wigan. Huddersfield then came to the AJ Bell Stadium and thumped Salford 18-36 so the following weeks trip to Warrington looked a real daunting fixture.
This fixture turned out to be the catalyst in Salford’s season. The spark that lit the fuse. Everything seemed to click. Confidence, togetherness, team spirit and a belief that welded the side together. Jackson Hastings called the shots and bossed the game. Lolohea had all the tricks in the book with full back Niall Evalds at his most lethal sniffing out chances from nothing. The pack worked their socks off. Gil Dudson and Lee Mossop we’re unstoppable at times. Kris Welham and his shuddering hand off had the supporters on their feet. Kris was playing the best rugby of his career. All the players were. Krisnan Inu provided a real calming influence to the team. He was so vocal and his two tries and three goals in this match set the tone. Ryan Lannon and Kris Welham got the other tries as Salford made it two away wins over Warrington after a fantastic victory over the Wolves in the Good Friday fixture. This match proved to be more significant as Salford went on to win eight games on the bounce to give the club a third placed league finish. The roller coaster continued in the playoffs and on to the Grand Final. For me though this was the match where it all came together.
The teams that night:
Warrington Wolves: Mamo, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Tasi, Clark, Akauola, Currie, Hughes, Davis.
Subs, Clark, Philbin, Walker, Moran
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Inu, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby, Lolohea, Hastings, Walker, Tomkins, Dudson, Lannon, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Subs, Burke, Johnson, Lussick, Lawton
Referee: Chris Kendall
What can we expect on Thursday?? If I was to give you an honest answer I am not really sure. Both sides didn’t play last weekend due to being knocked out of the Cup in the previous round. Warrington are the side under the most pressure I would say. The Wolves are the home team and after five straight defeats questions are being asked. On paper Warrington’s squad looks one of the best in Super League. Losing and playing poorly can become a habit though. As the weeks go by every game gets more important as the pressure cranks up a notch.
I think for Salford a good start is vital. Last time out at Wakefield the Red Devils were always playing catch up. Defence needs to be solid particularly the goal line defence and when monitoring Warrington on their last tackle plays. Salford have conceded an alarming amount of tries from kicks this year. It gets mentioned every week about discipline and conceding penalties. If Salford can keep things tight they have the players who can create chances and finish them off. Give Ken Sio half a chance and he usually takes it. Ken is top the try scoring chart in 2022.
It’s certainly a tough Easter for The Red Devils with another fixture coming up on Monday at home to Catalans.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
The action gets under way Thursday evening at 8pm.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.