It was a disappointing Easter for Salford and the supporters. Two defeats away at Warrington and home to Catalans and not much really to shout about. After victories in the first two matches of the season Salford have now won just one out of the last seven games. With two consecutive away fixtures coming up against Wigan and St.Helens things aren’t looking any easier.
One thing that we can be positive about on Easter Monday was the return of a Kallum Watkins after a very lengthy injury layoff. Kallum played as a make shift back rower and real impressed. His hardworking display definitely earned him his post match Pizza that seems to be a tradition these days. He looked sharp and you would expect in the coming weeks he will get better with is a real boost for the squad.
Salford supporters and the club in general never seem to mention injuries. We just crack on with the job in hand. At the moment though the players and Paul Rowley are doing it very tough. The small squad we have is getting lighter with players picking up knocks and problems, some of the injuries are quite serious with players missing big chunks of the season. I won’t list them all but you only have to look at the changes that had to be made after Thursday night for the Monday match.
Wigan have made a solid start to the 2022 season progressing to the Challenge Cup Semi Finals and at present they are in second in the Super League table with seven wins from nine matches. Jai Field has caught the eye this season with some tremendous performances and some great tries. His pace of the mark makes him a player to watch. The return of Bevan French from injury is another big boost for the Warriors.
Salford played at Wigan just a few weeks ago in the Challenge cup and were beaten comfortably 20-0.
The Red Devils have scored some thrilling tries this season so far but defence is really letting the team down. That resilience to defend the try line isn’t their. Teams can break Salford down fairly easily. One things for sure that on Sunday Wigan will ask plenty of questions and throw the kitchen sink at Salford when they get chance. The Red Devils will need to dig in and try their best to cut mistakes out.
Super League Away Record.
1997 Wigan 14 Salford 21
1998 Wigan 34 Salford 6
1999 Wigan 64 Salford 2
2000 Wigan 52 Salford 20
2001 Wigan 70 Salford 4
2002 Wigan 32 Salford 0
2004 Wigan 20 Salford 10
2005 Wigan 40 Salford 12
2006 Wigan 20 Salford 12
2007 Wigan 40 Salford 16
2009 Wigan 34 Salford 18
2010 Wigan 60 Salford 10
2011 Wigan 52 Salford 18
2012 Wigan 38 Salford 6
2013 Wigan 46 Salford 6
2014 Wigan 45 Salford 4
2015 Wigan 19 Salford 12
2016 Wigan 20 Salford 16
2017 Wigan 16 Salford 31
2017 Wigan 42 Salford 0 ( Super eights)
2018 Wigan 30 Salford 0
2019 Wigan 28 Salford 12
2019 Wigan 18 Salford 12 (Top Five Playoffs)
2019 Wigan 4 Salford 28
2020 Wigan 58 Salford 12 ( behind closed doors, St.helens)
2021 Wigan 16 Salford 6
Over the years there have been plenty of players who’ve been at both clubs at some point in their career. Here are a few of them
They played for both.
Mal Aspey, Neil Baynes, Wayne Reid, Steve Blakeley, Gavin Clinch, Andy Coley, Michael Dobson, Mark Flanagan, Martin Gleeson, Sean Gleeson, Wayne Godwin, Bobbie Goulding, Andy Gregory, Steve Hampson, Ged Byrne, Paul O Neil, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Nathan Mcavoy, Lee Mossop, Jack Murphy, David Myers, Martin Offiah, Sam Panapa, John Pendlebury, Luke Robinson, Tim Smith, David Stephenson, Trevor Stockey, Ged Stazicker, Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins, Colin Whitfield, Peter Smethurst, Stephen Wild, Phil Ford, Jackson Hastings, Greg Burke, Morgan Escare, Jake Bibby and Gil Dudson.
A match to remember Friday 5th May 2017.
Wigan 16 Salford 31.
2017 was a real rollercoaster season for Salford and their supporters. A fourth place finish after the regular season and an excellent run to The Challenge cup semi final.
At the start of May The Red Devils were bang in form and turned up for this fixture full of confidence. Our last victory away at Wigan had come Twenty years early at Central Park 14-21 in the 1997 season.
Wigan’s new stadium hadn’t been a happy hunting ground for Salford over the last couple of decades with some real heavy defeats and hapless performances. This night in May 2017 was a night to be proud of. Ian Watson’s side had some real young talent that took their opportunity giving the loyal away following a night to remember
A blistering first half performance saw Salford take their chances really well. They were clinical and punished Wigan at crucial times. Tries came from Niall Evalds, Kris Welham and Ben Murdoch Masila.
Michael Dobson orchestrated his side superbly, organising and barking instructions out. His half back partner Robert Lui was also at his best. Unpredictable and very deceptive Lui was a constant attacking threat.
Leading 0-16 at half time The Red Devils had played a near perfect forty minutes.
Salford looked like cruising to victory with two quick-fire second-half tries from Evalds and Greg Johnson as the Champions looked shell shocked. Although Wigan scores from Tom Davies, Ryan Sutton and Lewis Tierney made the score respectable, the night belonged to the visitors.
Gareth O’Brien was taken out as he dropped a goal, the one-pointer counted and the former Warrington man also slotted over the penalty to seal the win.
The month of May turned into a special month with four victories following the Wigan win. Hull Kr were beaten in The Challenge Cup, Leigh we’re put to the sword in the Magic Weekend clash at Newcastle, fifty points were put on Catalans before a bank holiday masterclass away at Warrington!
The teams that night were,
Wigan, Tierney, Davies, Forsyth, Burgess, Marshall, Woods, Powell, Nu’uausala,
Ganson, Sutton, Isa, Farrell, J. Tomkins.
Subs, Tautai, Gregson, Bretherton, Navarrette.
Salford, Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Jones, Bibby, Lui, Dobson, Tasi, L. Tomkins,
Walne, Lannon, Murdoch-Masila, Krasniqi.
Subs, Kopzack, Brining, Murray, O Brien.
Referee, Chris Campbell.
It’s not often Salford get a date with the television but this Sunday the match is live on channel four at lunchtime. It’s been great to see Rugby League on terrestrial Television in 2022 and the coverage from the pundits and presenters has been really enjoyable.
This fixture has been a tough one for Salford over the years with not much to cheer. In our first season in Super League we managed a victory at the old Central Park ground. Our next win came twenty years later with the win in 2017 which I wrote about in the match to remember section. Before the 1997 win our last victory at Wigan came in May 1979. Just wait until next week when we preview St.Helens away! It’s forty two years since we won that fixture!
It will be interesting to see the twenty one man squad this week. Fingers crossed Paul Rowley can welcome a few players back. Tim Lafai looks like he will be out for a while which is a shame. Tim has settled in well and looked comfortable every week. His strength and tackle bursts have made him a big favourite with the supporters already.
Having spent some time working in the Wigan area recently you can’t help but notice how much the sport of Rugby League is talked about here. Their are some many amateur clubs and kids playing the sport in the town. Wigan is steeped in Rugby League heritage. Over the last forty years they’ve had mountains of success winning Championships and Challenge cups galore. They’ve also enjoyed some unforgettable games against some of he best clubs from Australia.
I’d like to think I am quite a positive Salford supporter. I always try and see the best in performances and give the team the benefit of the doubt. Even the most optimistic of supporters will look at Sunday and think it is a pretty daunting task. It is however a new week. We start a fresh and if we can keep things tight and cut out the errors we’ve got players who are a threat. Their isn’t much separating Salford from the teams below us. Now is the the time to fight our way out of trouble and keep the red flag flying.
The action gets under way at 1pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.