Salford RLFC Supporters' Trust

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Paul Whiteside,Uncategorized 0 Comments

Leigh v Salford-Match Preview.

Leigh v Salford.

Both sides go into this Easter fixture with three wind from their first seven games.

Leigh proved to be a tough nut to crack for Salford in the opening match of the season a few weeks ago. Since then Leopards have won on the road at both a Hull and Hull Kingston Rovers as well as toppling the Champions St.Helens at the Leigh Sports Village. It’s been a testing start for the top flights new boys but in their other fixtures they’ve shown plenty of fighting spirit too. Hard fought matches away to the top two sides in the division Catalans and Warrington May have ended in defeat but has certainly got Leigh battle hardened for the task in hand.

Salford won a tough contest in round one!

It’s been a tough few weeks for Salford and Paul Rowley’s small squad has been battered and bruised away to Wigan and last weekend against Huddersfield. With key players in the pack missing its making it hard for the forwards in the team as they are being tested to the limit playing big minutes.

Paul Rowley is focused on the task ahead!

Easter is a real feast of rugby league and traditionally Salford have played two matches, good Friday and Easter Monday. If you go back even further they used to play three matches with a Saturday thrown in their for good measure!

This season it’s just the one fixture on Saturday and in a way it’s probably a blessing in disguise for the Red Devils.

Summer era, league away record. 1996 onwards

Leigh 2

Draws 0

Salford 5

2003 Leigh 12 Salford 32 Hilton Park

2005 Leigh 6 Salford 32 Hilton Park.

2005 Leigh 14 Salford 20 Hilton Park.

2008 Leigh 8 Salford 24 Hilton Park.

2017 Leigh 25 Salford 0 Leigh Sports Village.

2021 Leigh 32 Salford 22 Leigh Sports Village.

2023 Leigh 10 Salford 20 Leigh Sports Village.

They played for both.

Luke Adamson, Kevin Ashcroft, Simon Baldwin, Radney Bowker, David Bradbury, John Duffy, Jacob Emmitt, Matt Gardner, Matty Gee, Bobbie Goulding, Danny Halliwell, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Liam Hood, Peter Smethurst, Stuart Littler, Peter Alstead, Andrew Dixon, Nathan McAvoy, Dean McGilvary, Reni Maitua, Chris Morley, Stephen Nash, Rob Parker, Corey Paterson, John Pendlebury, Michael Platt, Gareth Price, Adam Sidlow, Craig Stapleton, Simon Svabic, John Taylor, Iain Thornley, Mike Wainwright, Krisnan Inu, Junior Sau, Ed Chamberlain, Ben Nakubuwai, Gareth O’Brien, Ian Watson, Ryan Brierley and Mal Yates.

David Bradbury played for both Salford and Leigh! Pictured against Salford in 2001 Cup tie.

An match to remember Sunday 22nd June 2003.

Leigh 12 Salford 32.

The race for Super League between the two teams was at fever pitch in June 2003. Salford had hit form after a tough start to the league campaign. A draw at Whitehaven in round one on Good Friday had been followed by a very tight 18-16 defeat at Featherstone. Four straight victories had set this clash up nicely. The two sides had already met in the Arriva Trains Cup at Hilton Park and that match had ended in a 20-20 draw. A fierce rivalry had built up between the two sides and this match was pretty explosive to say the least.

The Centurions came out swinging and some of the tackles were pretty much borderline. Salford half back pairing of Gavin Clinch and Cliff Beverley we’re targeted. Clinch copped a few high shots from the Leigh pack but the Australian was tough and shrugged it off.

Salford were clinical and took their chances whilst Leigh huffed and puffed.

Their was plenty of tension between the two sets of supporters on the terraces and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife as they changed ends at half time brushing past one another behind the main stand.

The weather was hot and sunny. It seemed like that most of the season in 2003, it was a long hot summer to remember for Salford and their supporters.

This match really landed a knockout punch for Karl Harrison and his Salford side. It gave them the mental edge that would keep Leigh at arms length in future matches.

The Centurions scored tries from Shaun Richardson and Damien Munro. Salford’s tries came from Danny Arnold, Cliff Beverley, Gavin Clinch, Jason Flowers and Alan Hunte.

The two sides met again in the Arriva Trains final, the league and playoffs at the Willows and the Grand final at Widnes with Salford victorious in all of them to round off a thrilling season.

Looking back though this match in June was the catalyst for promotion back to the big time.

The teams that day;

Leigh, Alstead, Munro, Hadcroft, Kendrick, Watts, Weisner, Swann, Nickle, Duffy, Norman, Richardson, Henare, Bristow.

Subs, Ball, Sanderson, Holdstock, Bradbury.

Salford, Flowers, Arnold, Littler, Hunte, Berne, Beverley, Clinch, Baynes, Alker, Coley, Baldwin, P. Highton, Charles.

Subs, Blakeley, D.Highton, Kirk, Haggerty.

Referee, Colin Morris.

Attendance, 4,000.

Saturday’s match.

In a strange way Salford seemed to have performed better away from home this season. Two home defeats to Hull Kingston Rovers and Huddersfield have been disappointing and the 14-13 victory over Wakefield Trinity wasn’t as pleasing on the eye as some of the rugby Salford have played on the road. Why is that?? I am not so sure. Perhaps the team don’t feel as under pressure to perform away from home. Speaking of pressure this Saturday does feel like a very big game. The Leopards weren’t far of when they met Salford in round one and since then they seemed to have ironed a few things out. They’ve looked a lot more threatening with the ball in recent weeks and this is something Salford will have to watch out for. This game is going to be dictated in the forwards and which ever pack gets on top and wins the arm wrestle could sway the outcome significantly. Lachlan Lam has looked a real live wire for the Lepards and Edwin Ipape is dangerous at hooker. Josh Charnley and Zak Hardacker between them have a huge wealth of big game experience.

One Salford player who’s impressed me recently is Matty Costello. He’s had to wait patiently for his chance in the team but against Wakefield and Huddersfield he scored excellent tries and looked very solid in defence. With Tim Lafai injured Costello could get a good run in the team and he’s a very capable player.

Matty Costello has impressed recently!

Tyler Dupree has put in some huge shifts in the past few matches and been Salford’s stand out forward. That said he needs some support from the rest of the pack. Marc Sneyd’s leadership and ability to manage the game will be vital this Saturday. I am expecting a very close match and Sneyd could be the difference with his skills as Salford’s talisman number seven.

Marc Sneyd‘s game management could be vital!

It seems a real close one to call and the bookies can’t spilt the two teams in the odds. The away end is set to be packed out again and full credit to Leigh, their attendance’s have been magnificent so far in 2023. Each home match they’ve made into a real event with fantastic pre-match entertainment. This promises to be a super Saturday!

The action gets under way at 2:30pm.

Safe travels and enjoy the match.

Paul Whiteside.

Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.


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