Salford v Warrington.
The curtain will come down on Salford’s home season this Saturday with a clash with Warrington.
The Red Devils made the playoffs in sensational style on Monday with a 10-50 battering of Castleford Tigers at Wheldon Road. Roaring into a 0-20 lead in the first fifteen minutes of the match stunned the home side. Their was a brief fight back but Salford we’re untouchable in the second half scoring thirty unanswered points and not conceding any.
Salford are the form team of Super League and their devastating attack has got a fair few teams a little bit concerned as the season reaches the business end!
While Salford won both their matches over the bank holiday weekend Warrington lost their two. Beaten at home to Castleford last Thursday after once again surrendering a decent lead. On Monday they travelled to Huddersfield and at one stage trailed 32-10. New Australian signing Matt Dufty impressed scoring four tries as the Wolves fought back to just fall short 38-36 in a very exciting second half.
Warrington can’t finish any higher or lower than eleventh place in the league table and it’s been a very disappointing season for the club. Daryl Powell came in at the start of the season and the squad on paper looked as good as any in the Super League. For one reason or another it’s been a season to forget and Powell will be under a significant amount of pressure to get results at the start of 2023!
Over the years their has been an exciting rivalry between Salford and Warrington. In the Super League era the two clubs have faced each of at Easter on regular occasions and we’ve seen some thrilling matches over the last few decades. Both sides have contrasting resources but I think in a way they do respect each other.
Since leaving Wilderspool almost twenty years ago Warrington have had great success in the Challenge Cup and built up a healthy supporter base.
Salford had a tricky start to 2022 but since Easter the team have consistently beat some of the top sides in the division and not only beat them they’ve demolished quite a few of them. Salford have now won 9 from their last 11 games which for a team with limited resources and a fairly thin squad is remarkable.
Super League Home record.
1997 Salford 26 Warrington 14
1998 Salford 14 Warrington 25
1999 Salford 22 Warrington 26
1999 Salford 42 Warrington 26
2000 Salford 31 Warrington 12
2001 Salford 26 Warrington 18
2002 Salford 31 Warrington 18
2004 Salford 18 Warrington 37
2004 Salford 6 Warrington 32
2005 Salford 42 Warrington 10
2006 Salford 35 Warrington 34
2007 Salford 32 Warrington 34
2007 Salford 26 Warrington 32
2009 Salford 18 Warrington 16
2010 Salford 10 Warrington 27
2011 Salford 0 Warrington 60
2012 Salford 48 Warrington 24
2013 Salford 4 Warrington 46
2014 Salford 12 Warrington 28
2015 Salford 16 Warrington 34
2016 Salford 30 Warrington 31
2017 Salford 24 Warrington 14
2018 Salford 6 Warrington 22
2019 Salford 22 Warrington 6
2020 Salford 20 Warrington 18
2021 Salford 18 Warrington 62
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, 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, Lama Tasi and John Wilshere.
A match to remember Thursday 3rd March 2016
Salford 30 Warrington 31.
Warrington had started the 2016 campaign in fine form with three excellent victories. They arrived for this clash with Salford with a mean defence after conceding just thirty four points in the seasons opening rounds. Junior Sau opened the scoring with a try in the third minute to put the Red Devils into a 6-0 lead.
The Wolves responded with tries from Jack Hughes and Ben Currie to power in to the lead.
Salford had won their first two home fixtures of the season blasting St. Helens 44-10 in a fantastic performance and also beating Widnes 28-20.
The hosts showed their attacking flamboyance scoring 22 unanswered points before half time.
Josh Jones followed up Michael Dobson’s delicate grubber kick to pouch a try before speedster Greg Johnson capitalised off Jones’s break.
Junior Sau then grabbed his second try on the back of a booming 40/20 kick from O’Brien. The half was then rounded off by man of the moment O’Brien who couldn’t put a foot wrong, mesmerising The Wolves putting Josh Griffin over to open up a 28-12 half time lead. The home supporters were on their feet as the teams trotted off.
As the second half got under way the rain got heavier and both sides were locked in a forward pack arm wrestle. Ben Currie and Justin Carney we’re sin binned for fighting. This seem to unsettle Salford and knock them off their game plan.
A whirlwind 9 minute spell from Warrington saw three tries scored. Ryan Atkins grabbed a brace before Ashton Sims charged over. Salford were clinging on like a boxer on the ropes desperately trying to soak up the punches.
The scores were now level at 30-30.
Salford had chances to win it with Dobson and Robert Lui both failing with drop-goal attempts before Warrington had the final say.
Chris Sandow was off target with a long-range penalty a minute from the end but he just had enough time to slot over a drop goal from similar range to land the crucial blow. A cruel end for Salford and their supporters but the Red Devils were playing some fine rugby competing with the best teams in the league.
The teams that night;
Salford, O’Brien, Carney, Sau, J Griffin, Johnson, Lui, Dobson, Kopzack, Lee, G Griffin, Murdoch Masila, Jones, Flanagan.
Subs, Evalds, A Walne, Tomkins J Walne.
Warrington, Russell, Penny, Evans, Atkins, Lineham, Ratchford, Sandow, Hill, Dwyer, Sims, Currie, Hughes, Westerman.
Subs, Dodds, King, Jullien, Wheeler.
Referee, Robert Hicks
On Monday their were one or two surprising score lines in Super League with St.Helens losing at home to Wakefield and Wigan going down at Hull Kingston Rovers. Those two sides had the luxury of resting a large number of players in their respective squads and some may say it effects the integrity of the competition. Luckily the teams involved in those matches didn’t really have much to play for and it’s not really effected the table. Paul Rowley hasn’t got the squad to be able to make wholesale changes but when he spoke to BBC Radio Manchester after Monday’s win at Castleford he mentioned Ryan Brierley would need a rest after playing with pain killing injections. Brierley has been in terrific form and let’s hope the rest gets him ready for a tilt at the playoffs the week after.
The Red Devils will travel to either Catalans or Huddersfield in the first round of the playoffs with both games looking pretty tough.
Saturday’s opponents Warrington have had a season to forget. Their form is pretty shocking for a team with the resources and players they have to work with. The Wolves have won two of their last ten matches.
Despite the poor form Warrington have plenty of players to look out for. Youngsters Josh Thewlis and Danny Walker are making their mark in the side after becoming regulars in 2022. George Williams and Daryl Clark have both played international rugby league. Forward James Harrison is the son of former Salford coach Karl Harrison. Stefan Ratchford will miss the match due to injury.
Joe Burgess has missed the last two matches for Salford and it would be great to see him back in the team. Ken Sio is the Red Devils top try scorer this year so far with 26 and he’s scored in the last five consecutive matches.
Salford’s great form has come on some hot sunny days recently but this Saturday they might have a bit of a wet day to negotiate with the forecast looking a little grim.
Once again this is a match not to be missed. Salford have been the Super League’s entertainers this season and on their home pitch they’ve scored points for fun. It’s five home wins on the spin now at the AJ Bell Stadium and they’ve scored 211 points along the way. They’ve scored a sack full of points on the road too but that’s another story!
The action gets under way at 3pm.
Safe travels and enjoy the match.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.